“Our work embraces irregularity through craft, focusing on intuitive construction methods to create artful domestic objects.” — Ayako Aratani and Evan Fay
Cranbrook Academy of Art’s graduates Ayako Aratani and Evan Fay started a collaborative studio called Aratani Fay in 2016. They are independent designers who share their studios and workshop space for working. From collaborating on projects and exhibitions to crafting their creations on the hands-on play, their result is always creating an original masterpiece through their design process.
The official meet
“We met during our first year of grad school. We were both in the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s 3D design department, focusing on furniture,” states the duo.
They started their journey as they shared similar interests and decided to visit the Netherlands in-between their first and second year of grad school, which really changed their way of thinking about design. Ayako adds: “I was an industrial designer for seven years in Tokyo before going to Cranbrook. I wanted to vary my style from formal industrial designer to more hand-craft oriented in an expressive way, which is closer to artist design activity.”
Evan exclaims how her traditional background had made her push boundaries in aspects of designing through Cranbrook. They worked together at Kiki and Joost in the Netherlands, where they started to understand each other’s ideas even though they were studying. Naturally, their similarity led to exhibiting their works together.
Their workplace in Detroit has given them the freedom to create everything they want. Their designs are pure reflections of the post-industrial society that surrounds us. They chose the poetic way to translate it.
Now, let’s look at the 10 prominent products by Aratani Fay:
1. Lawless stool
Lawless stool is a collection created by Ayako Aratani and Evan Fay. The series is a poetic statement imposed on the industrial world, where both art and craftsmanship are interlinked, as one. The lawless series is a celebration of irregularity through its intuitive design and craft. It aims to balance out the metaphor and utility. The making process is rhythmically connected rather than influenced by conventional methods.
2. Lawless Bench
This pretty creation of Aratani Fay has been exhibited, at the Milan show, for its unconventional shape and material. As a result of their experimentation of materials for home use, Lawless bench and chair collections seats are composed of steel, brass, foam and neoprene. Their irregular and intertwined shapes are created, in the structural support, as their reflection of society.
The disorderliness achieved is perceived as a unique beautification of their collection. They are comfortable to use though their appearance is deceptive.
Click Clock is a clock collection made with porcelain by Aratani Fay, a unique timepiece with softly sculpted lines that hint at the time of the day. Shadows of the surface change with the path of sunlight reflecting upon the silent movement in the clamour of life. They are available in small and large sizes with colour variations of white, grey and Bermuda green to add in the aesthetic touch.
4. Ghost Garden
Ghost garden is an art piece made of steel and brass representing nature’s form. The strong growth from each branch is supportive and extends beyond the function. We live along with nature, enjoying her peaceful offerings. The ghost garden is a symbol of hope for coexistence and healing among the landscapes in the absence of one, nature will retrieve itself back. It is available in varied designs.
5. Roommate Stand Lamp
Roommate stand lamp is made of steel, brass and electrical components, personifying interior objects as personalities in a home. The lamp’s strings are connected rhythmically, where each piece is made by hand bent loops, allowing imperfection and irregularity in design. It brightens the space with warmth and adds organic beauty to the interiors.
6. Roommate Pendant Lamp
The roommate pendant lamp is made using steel, brass and electrical components and including the personal touch. It is a replica of the stand lamp collection.
7. Roommate Desk Lamp
The roommate desk lamp is made using steel, brass and electrical components and is a replica of the previous lamp series. It adds vibrancy and chaos to space.
8. Button up Chair
Ayako Aratani portrays the Button up Chair, as a big lovable monster chair in the room, wherein one can hide and protect from the outside world. The outer shell is made up of thick felt to shut off external sounds and distractions. The inner surface adds a soft touch for comfort.
9. Terracotta table
Terracotta tables add in the complementing pair to go with the Button Up Chair. These innovative creations are making us ponder on getting them for ourselves.
10. Mochi Stool
Fay’s Mochi stool is a play with the usage of conventional upholstery techniques. The stool is made using cotton and silicon with varied colour upholsteries. The creative stool is the perfect furniture to fit in a living room or bedroom.
Aratani Fay proudly states that, “They push one another to be better designers and hold together in maintaining their standards.” Ayako affirms: “The research started in Milan years ago, ever since then the market has grown global.” They have found their favourite set of audience resonating from China and India, where people enjoy their furniture due to their textile quality. In certain circumstances, people tend to question the comfort level of using their furniture, but they are doing their level best to strike a balance between the two.
DesignWanted. (2019). Intuitive design – Interviewing Ayako Aratani and Evan Fay. [online] Available at: https://designwanted.com/design/aratani-fay/ [Accessed 4 Sep. 2021].
Cities of Design Network. (2020). ARANTANI . FAY. [online] Available at: https://www.designcities.net/showroom/arantani-fay-an-interview-by-nina-prehofer/ [Accessed 4 Sep. 2021].
Azure Magazine. (2018). Detroit’s Aratani Fay is Colouring Outside of Furniture’s Lines. [online] Available at: https://www.azuremagazine.com/article/detroit-aratani-fay/ [Accessed 4 Sep. 2021].
Anon, (2019). Lawless stool by Aratani Fay – Through Objects | Design Stories. [online] Available at: https://through-objects.com/blog/lawless-stool-by-aratani-fay/ [Accessed 4 Sep. 2021].