For over 20 years, the designers at Ku Ambiance have been illuminating the intersections between Japan, America, and Europe. And since 2000, with the start of a new millennium it has been of growing interest to see how the most traditional Japanese arts and crafts—many with traditions of hundreds of years behind them—will fare in the new century.
These traditional arts all value the "hand-made" as a primary and naturally good value. At a time when most people experience only machine-made goods often composed of plastic or other artificial materials, to encounter a hand-made object made of natural materials and lovingly shaped by a master artist can be a sublime and humbling experience.
In Japan, the work of master craftspeople is the pinnacle of aesthetic achievement, and the work ethic of countless hours spent on achieving the "mastery" of craft can be daunting to outsiders. Many of the artists we feature in this book spent decades learning and developing their craft. Some had apprenticeships that lasted twenty years or more. Some practice arts or skills virtually unknown outside Japan, and not fully appreciated except by collectors in-the-know. And some of these artists now find themselves re-inventing while still venerating family traditions of art-manufacture that go back over 400 years.
As of December, 2007 we are proud to announce the opening our first U.S.A.-based concept store in West Hollywood, California. In this first location, and in others to come in premium international destinations, Ku Ambiance showcases a unique design fusion style aimed at the fine-art / luxury goods market. Our intent is to present modern interpretations of classic, thousand-year-old traditions in Japanese design. Our goal is to offer these new extraordinary art objects for sophisticated customers who want the ultimate in high-culture decor, fashion, art, and design.
The Ku Ambiance concept store is an expansion of the hugely successful KU-USA brand which has been a fashion leader in Japan since 1992. The concept store expands the ideas of the Ku design team beyond apparel into a complete sophisticated living experience of home furnishings and architectural aesthetics. Ku Ambiance values the traditional and the modern, the new and the old, hand-made works and artworks. We love products that are simultaneously sensually pleasing and also made of eco-friendly, "green" renewable materials. This reflects, in part, the Japanese history of living closely and effectively with nature, and making beauty out of limited resources.
In 2008, we will be expanding our product line in the U.S.A. to include a larger array of Ku Ambiance items including: Arita porcelain, traditional kakemono and other types of wall hangings, Japanese room screens, textile products, fine incense, silver jewelry, furniture, lamps, art objects, tile, Japanese fans, denim products, handbags, and more, all designed with unique Ku qualities.
THE NEW JAPAN STYLE
New Japan Style—the aesthetic you see in our products—is an exploration of the redevelopment of these very traditional Japanese art forms and crafts into 21st century designs. Nowhere on the planet is the dichotomy between traditions and modernity—hand-made vs. machine—more powerfully expressed than in Japan. It's a culture that venerates the best of hand-made while at the same time loving the idea of computerized robots and ultra-modern factories. New Japan Style showcases unique individual craftspeople, practicing arts that some would scarcely believe still exist, while also investigating the process of these artists launching new ideas and refining the traditional methods onto dynamic new products to meet the sophisticated tastes of a global design market