furumai HITOHA

Artwork with water-repellent effect exhibited at Cooper-Hewitt, 2010

A sheet of paper is folded like a traditional Japanese bamboo leaf-boat. Its surface is treated to repel water. Water dripped on to this dish-like sheet of paper rolls lightly with breathtaking beauty. The beauty and preciousness inculcated in a single drop of water is enlivened by the paper’s materiality and its primitive form. This piece has been named furumai HITOHA (furumai: behavior, HITOHA: single leaf) after its resemblance to a rain droplet rolling on a lotus leaf. furumai HITOHA was exhibited at the National Design Triennial: Why Design Now? held at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in Manhattan, New York from 2010 to 2011

THEME: Water

furumai HITOHA takes its original form as furumai: art installation which was exhibited at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Tokyo from 2007 to 2008, themed under water. Both furumai HITOHA and furumai share the same concept and technology but differ in presentation materials.

APPROACH: Iterative Prototyping with Materials

When we thought about how to convey the playful characteristics of water, water repellent dish came to our mind. Water is ubiquitous yet is truly precious and irreplaceable substance in our lives. What can we do to maximize the charm that’s inherent in water? We first used dishes and porcelains to coat their surface to repel water, however, soon realized the high cost associated with prototyping. Then, we tried using such familiar items as paper plates. We have applied an extraordinarily strong version of water-proof coating to draw forth characteristics of water that are often hidden in nature, namely viscosity and surface tension. To our surprise, combination of paper plates and water droplets produced the best possible presentation of water. This, with twelve paper plates repelling water droplets in various ways, became the orinal furumai. furumai was later altered as furumai HITOHA that is comprised of a folded sheet of paper better suited for mass production.

MESSAGE: Behaviour and Dance from Sea to Tears

furumai is a polysemic word that simultaneously means behaviour and dance, embodying the serious connotation of one’s conduct in a society and the playful, light-hearted character. With furumai HITOHA, Takram hopes to address this duality by conveying the rarity and purity of water while introducing the joy of its existence. A drop of water bestows life as one encounters unimaginable movements and behaviour of water dancing freely on the plate or paper. We hope that playing with furumai gives people a chance to have another look at water that appears virtually anywhere in our lives, in forms of sea, rain, tears and so on – or a chance to discover the new dimension and meaning of water.


Project Management & Design Engineering: Kotaro Watanabe (Takram)
Support: Sanae Hirai (ex-Takram)
Photograph: Takashi Mochizuki
Exhibition: Why Design Now? Design Triennial 2010-2011 at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in NYC, USA

© 2010 Takram design engineering

© 2010 Takram design engineering


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