These beautifully designed geta has been able to connect us back to nature, which we distance ourselves from further and further away in modern cities.
Journalist Charles Moore writes that one of the basic human needs is to connect, and we are comforted with the sense of belonging, and we find these in our connection with nature (In praise of shadows). Despite this, we remove ourselves away as cities grow and we urbanize ourselves.
Thomas Harper writes his experience on this matter in ‘In Praise of Shadows’ where he attempts to build traditional Japanese architecture within an urban environment. Japan puts an emphasis on tradition and culture, and traditional japanese homes were built with wood for structure and paper for divides, and this put much consideration into the environment. Harper writes how difficult it was to replicate this with the modern way of life as norms of comfort such as heaters, electricity and sanitary facilities clashed with tradition and nature (In Praise of Shadows).
Do we have to sacrifice our connection to nature with modern life? Not necessarily, and Geta was a design as a response to this.
Shuhei Hasado is a Japanese craftsman who has an appreciation for nature, which stems from him growing up in a valley surrounded by mountains away from urban cities. His work is a reflection of his want to improve our quality of life by returning to our origins, and his inspiration from nature allows him to work with natural materials (Syuhei).
One of his designs is Geta, which is a pair of traditional Japanese footwear where the base is made of natural materials such as moss, wood, clay and many other textures. When you put them on, you can feel these materials with the soles of your feet and identify the natural environment when it is so difficult to do in the present age as described in ‘In Praise of Shadows’ (Toildrop).
Some other examples of bringing in nature into urban cities would be the use of furnitures. Greenworks in Sweden provides what they call ‘Living Wall’, which is an installation that acts as a divide that you can water and take care of (Greenworks). Or designer Charlie Baker brings in trees or furniture made of natural materials into our homes. Some of his works include lights, sculptures and furniture that are made of dried wood.
These furnitures are for aesthetic purposes and are there for you to see, but Hasado’s Geta are so powerful because nature isn’t just a seeing thing, but something that you feel.
A simple example of feeling nature would be the Moss Carpet by Nguyen La Chanh, which is a carpet that dries your underfoot but also thrives in a moist environment.
Shuhei notes that water runs everywhere in the earth, and within nature we experience both scenery and life, but as we progress, we forget more and more about our roots. Objects such as Geta or the Moss Carpet are especially important at this present age as they can be used in any background, and they allow us to feel nature away from nature.