Ryosuke Harashima, product designer from Kanazawa in Japan first came to work with us in 2010. With the brief to design a gift collection Ryosuke re-imagined Alexander Lamont’s signature materials on a completely different scale. Peking Glass with its thick spirals of colour became an exquisitely delicate set of drop bottles to grace a dressing table. The rich, weighty bronze of our gilded hammered bowls became a shapely and tiny incense burner inspired by the Shinto symbol of a twisting rope or Shimenawa.
Peking Drop Bottles designed by Ryosuke Harashima for Alexander Lamont
Launched in 2012 and comprising designs by Ryosuke Harashima and Alexander Lamont, the Scholars Gift Collection was inspired by the rarefied life of the Ming Dynasty Chinese scholar and the contemplative objects that surrounded him in his studio. Each exquisite gift was meticulously crafted from precious materials within Alexander Lamont’s repertoire such as bronze, rock crystal, Peking Glass and gold leaf.
“I aspire to evoke a pure impression of beauty in design: like nature’s gifts, it gives us curiosity, happiness, comfort and creativity” – Rysosuke Harashima
Midori Incense Burner designed by Ryosuke Harashima for Alexander Lamont
Ryosuke was born in Tokyo and completed his studies in Ishigawa at the Kanazawa International Design Institute. He went on to study furniture and product design at Parsons New School for Design in New York City in 2003 before returning to Kanazawa in 2004 to set up his own design studio under the name of Root Design. Since then he has worked on product design, graphic design and art direction for projects and clients with a focus on collaborating with Japanese artisans and manufacturers to create an innovative aesthetic that is both Japanese and international. He has worked with wood turning, laquerware and Japanese paper and, although it is not a traditional Japanese material, he is interested in working with glass in the future.
Some of the products designed by Ryosuke Harashima
In July 2015 Ryosuke visited us again to work on new collections of gift and accessory for Alexander Lamont. When asked what he liked about collaborating with others in design he said that having a design brief is helpful as it provides limits. For Ryosuke design is about communicating the inner creative ideas of the designer to the outside world so that they become something that is useful for people and not simply an inner expression of something personal. To achieve this, limits need to be set. He said:
“Working with Alex gives me a lot of inspiration from the materials and from the ideas”.
Talking about the Scholars Gift Collection Ryosuke pointed to the Rangoon Candleholders as his favourite group of objects in the collection. He was inspired by the architecture of Thailand taking the shape and detailing of a Thai stupa and casting this form in bronze. He designed a simple container in clear glass to hold the inverted bronze structure to make a group of candleholders.
Rangoon Candleholders designed by Ryosuke Harashima for Alexander Lamont
Another favourite group from the Scholars Gift Collection are the Crystal Virtue Boxes that combine rock crystal shapes inspired by the tea containers or “Natsume” of the Japanese Tea Ceremony with the woven texture of Yan Li Pao from Southern Thailand. The delicate roundedness of the rock crystal and the meticulous work of the Yan Li Pao lids create a group of objets de vertu for modern times.
Crystal Virtue Boxes designed by Ryosuke Harashima for Alexander Lamont
Visit Ryosuke’s website to see some more examples of his work and watch this space for updates on his next collection for Alexander Lamont.