Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio
Back to the Future: Rediscovering Zuanchō
Instructor: Douglas Akagi
SF / UDIST–300 / 15 sessions
Prerequisite: Jr standing
August 5-23, Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. –4 p.m.
The power of the old, the shock of the new is the theme of this course. A rare and exquisite collection of Japanese kimono pattern books are used to as the vehicle to transport the past to the present.
Zuanchō are design-idea-books. Zuan refers to a prototype design to be used in decorating various kinds of objects and chō means book or notebook. At the turn of the twentieth century in Kyoto, the cultural center of Japan to this day, these masterfully printed compilations of design concepts (paintings, patterns, styles, and palettes) facilitated conversations between kimono makers and clients. Art from a rare collection of these Zuanchō books are the focus and impetus of this course.
In twenty-first century San Francisco, one of their pages might be the starting point for a housewares product line, a short story, or a typeface design. Now as then, the elements contained and impulses conveyed by these books are available for application, combination, and interpretation. In this studio, students are introduced to zuanchō and guided through a process of imaginative appropriation that draws on their skills in a medium of their choice to recast the treasures of this collection for contemporary use. Cultural, historical, and critical awareness are approached in practical terms to guide hands-on creative engagement. After a series of exercises designed to expand conceptions of the re-use to which these artifacts may be put, students focus on the development of a single project whose final expression is inspired by the craft embodied in the zuanchō themselves.
Misako Mitsui, whose family were Kyoto kimono merchants for generations, is generously sharing her family’s Zuanchō collection with the college. She initiates the course with a very informative lecture about Zuanchō and its fascinating history. Additional lectures about traditional Japanese aesthetic values and product ideation set the stage for inspired creativity.
This course satisfies an Upper Division Interdisciplinary studio requirement or a studio elective. For Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Illustration, and Interaction Design students, this course may satisfy an investigative studio or major studio elective.
The following summer study abroad and off-campus courses satisfy an Upper Division Interdisciplinary studio:
Oakland campus, Ralls 201
Office Hours: Monday–Friday
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
See Contact Info to reach a specific program.