Raw but Beautiful

How often do we find ourselves throwing away products because of its obsolescence or because of its out of date style. How often do we find ourselves dismissing the beauty of raw and quality materials?

Over time consumers have adopted this trend of environmental protection, advocating products and goods that can now be recycled or reused. This is highly due to the worlds decreasing resources and natural disasters which are claimed to be caused by global warming. This trend has forced consumers to be more focused on resource consumption and environmental protection.

Japanese designer Yuki Iida, is one designer that has consistently created products that has revolved around this trend, creating products that advocate energy use and remind consumers of the importance of environmental protection. Iida’s ‘Straw Straw’ is a typical example of design that explore the importance of nature. Describing her product being “Straws of wheat are forms created by nature; they are materials that return to the soil. There’s no waste in either the shape itself, or in its actual existence.”

Straw/ MUJI Competition, 2008

Straw/ MUJI Competition, 2008

‘Straw Straw’ placed 1st at the MUJI International Design Competition back in 2008. MUJI is a Japanese retail company that embody this trend of minimalism and recyclability. Enlightening their consumers with simple and concise products and packaging, creating the “No Brand, No logo” policy that MUJI vigorously uphold. Creating products that reduce cost and express an idea of no waste.

‘Straw Straw’ follows this concept of no waste, as it is literally the bare minimum. Where the entire straw is built out of straw wheat. The design follows a clever historical path that many have forgotten. Because in time past, ‘straw’ was just straw. Wheat straw was soon replaced with synthetic materials, with an accordion section that allowed it to be bent at will, while the tip was fashioned into a small spoon and so with this excess function, the central meaning has diverged and so it was that we came to completely forget the “originality” of the straw. By stripping the straw back, it removes the trademarks, removes all unnecessary processing and colour. Leaving just the function, in doing so reminding people of the beauty of raw materials, colours and texture, and enabling them to approach the product at its natural state.

Straw / MUJI Competition, 2008

Yuki Iida was born in Shizuoka in 1982, studying Industrial design at Musashino Art. After working for an electronics manufacturer, Yuki founded Lala Lab design studio in 2010 and is on of the lead designers. As seen in straw straw he focuses on products that enlighten and embody this sense of nature.

This is depicted in ‘Fire’. Yuki sets out to meld the ancient and modern with a series of log-shaped torches that can be used alone o piled on top of each another, bonfire-style. These fire and torch lights run on batteries that emit a subtle glow. “The electric lamp was invented 130 years ago, but people have been using fire for more than 500,000 years,” he said. “People still love fire as lighting, which is why I wanted to combine them.” In doing so he creates a contemporary and beautiful product that enlightens consumers to contemplate on the importance of nature, even if his ‘fire’ product runs on batteries for energy.

Fire / Prototype, 2011
Fire / Prototype, 2011