Kimono New York is dedicated to promoting the use of kimono and obi fabrics for fine furnishings and décor. It is located in the heart of New York City’s garment district and offers designers and manufacturers access to over 50 of Japan’s top-rate kimono and obi producers. Kimono New York also promotes the use of natural fibers for fabric production and environmentally sustainable design.
The tradition of the kimono and its intricate hand-woven silk fabrics date back over a millennium and are a fundamental part of Japan’s cultural heritage. It is our mission to help sustain and support this tradition by encouraging the Japanese to wear the kimono and by introducing Americans to the timeless beauty of kimono and obi fabrics.
We partner with American designers and manufacturers to create fine décor using these fabrics and provide unparalleled access to Japan’s top fabric producers. As part of our mission, we endorse environmentally sustainable design by working only with fabric manufacturers that use natural fibers.
The Kicho Screen
Imagine combining the silk textiles of the legendary Nishijin weavers of Japan with a sleek contemporary design to reinvent the time-honored Japanese screen. This is what Kimono New York has done with its latest piece. It has teamed up with designer Anthony S. Morris and his company Walter P. Sauer, a fine furniture manufacturer based in Brooklyn, NY, to produce the Kicho Screen, an elegant modern screen using kimono textiles.
The byobu, literally “wind wall” in Japanese, is a screen that has been part of Japanese interior decor since the eighth century when it was first introduced from China. Over the ensuing centuries, the Japanese transformed the design of the Chinese original. They employed bamboo lattice frames and paper for the panels and hinges, giving rise to a lighter and more flexible structure.
In his design of this five-paneled screen, Morris has innovated further. Each panel incorporates the ultra-lightweight silk fabric traditionally used for the kimono’s wide sash or obi. Morris chose two obis for the Kicho Screen, each of which features a traditional Japanese motif. The obi used for the three inner panels depicts snow-capped Mt. Fuji surrounded by pine trees, a scene that symbolizes stability and shelter in Japanese culture. The obi employed in creating the two outer panels features Fujin, the god of wind in Shintoism. Fujin was often the subject of the legendary seventeenth-century byobu painter Sotatsu Tawaraya, and Tawaraya’s byobus depicting Fujiin are particularly prized.
“From the moment I saw the obi fabrics, I knew that the perfect way to display them was the screen,” said Morris, “because of the size of the roles and the intensity of the craftsmanship and their presence. I chose these two, because they look traditionally Japanese, but also have a modern sensibility.”
The name for Morris’s screen, kicho, is derived from another type of traditional room divider popular in the eighth century.
Screen. A screen consisting of 5 panels in Macassar ebony with bronze
details, displaying traditional Japanese obi fabrics. Each panel is 70”
(height) x 18” (width). When fully extended the screen is approximately
72” x 80”. Manufactured by Walter
P. Sauer. Designed by Anthony
Photo © Todd Weinstein. Click here to enlarge photo.
Please download our ICFF 2010 Media Kit Brochure as PDF
Kimono Chaise and Hakama Chair and Ottoman
For its first project Kimono New York has commissioned the design and manufacture of two chairs: the Kimono Chaise and the Hakama Chair and Ottoman. Created by the American designer William Gordon and produced by the Brooklyn-based custom-furniture manufacturer Walter P. Sauer, these two chairs unite the thousand-year-old tradition of Japanese textile weaving with the sleek lines of contemporary Western furniture for the first time in the history of design.
The Kimono Chaise and the Hakama Chair with Ottoman were on display for the first time at the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City from May 16-19, 2009.
Press feedback after the ICFF Show in 2009 in New York City:
The Kimono Chaise and the Hakama Chair with Ottoman were also on display at CA Boom Design Show in Beverly Hills, CA, June 26-28, 2009.
The kimono is traditional Japanese wear. It consists of an ankle-length robe that is wrapped around the body and is held together with a wide sash known as an obi. Women’s kimonos and obis come in a broad range of colors and detailed designs that reflect the formality of the occasion, the seasons and the wearer’s age and marital status. Kimonos worn by men sport muted colors and simpler patterns on the exterior. Samurai warriors wore their kimonos with a seven-pleated pair of pants called a hakama.
The obi is the broad sash that ties together the kimono. Since the earliest days of the kimono, the finest obi weavers have been located in the Nishijin district of Kyoto, Japan. The Nishijin weavers are renowned for their unique artisanship and their elaborate designs, originally created for the nobility that patronized them over the centuries when Kyoto was the capital of Japan. Unlike Chinese silk fabrics, Nishijin obis are not embroidered and they are only seldom dyed. Instead the weavers of Nishijin usually dye the fine silk yarn first and then use complex weaving techniques handed down over generations to create their beautiful fabrics. Nishijin obi designs often depict scenes from nature and other traditional Japanese motifs.