Paper has been known for many uses including being written on, sneezed in and even for aviation (paper airplanes DO count), but what SIWA has done is quite extraordinary. First off, a little history lesson.
Japan has long been known for their expertise in papermaking as they’ve mastered the art of producing and using shoingami paper for everyday articles such as akari-shouji sliding doors. Onao Co. has been around for over three decades and has been known for producing the highest grade of shoingami paper and washi papers in Japan.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourselves what can be so intriguing about paper. Well for Onao, they’ve developed a new type of paper that doesn’t tear easily. The SIWA line, whose name originates from the reversal of the order of the word washi, re-introduces a new durable type of paper called Naoron to create practical everyday products. Onao is currently collaborating with famed industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa who is known for his minimal unadorned designs. You might have seen some of his popular works walking through a Muji store, or as an Issey Miyaki timepiece.
According to Mr. Fukasawa, “Washi (paper) often seems to conjure up an image of craft-related products, but I hope to create designs for the everyday that take advantage of its pleasant texture and gentleness of character.” I would say SIWA accomplishes just that. As you would expect from paper products, the texture is soft, flexible and lightweight, but is also extremely strong and highly water-resistant, allowing it to be used in the creation of bags, glasses cases, boxes and even slippers. The designs are fun and simple but most importantly functional for the daily grind.
The beauty of this concept is that it allows the products to develop an individual identity as it gets used. The creases formed on the paper surface tell stories of their use and daily modern living. It would definitely be remarkable to see the evolution of a SIWA bag as it gets used. You can view SIWA’s full lineup of products through their website.