NORIYUKI MOMOTA - PRESIDENT MOMOTA TOUEN CORPORATION
Delegations of Saga Prefecture and the Arita area, Japan, frequently stay at Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy as they further their object to promote the international awareness of 400 years of excellent Arita pottery & culture in the project 2016/.
Recently, Momota-san was in Amsterdam to meet with Dutch designers Scholten & Baijings. As CEO of a centuries old manufacturing and trading company of Arita pottery, Momota instigated the brand 1616/ Arita Japan together with designer Yanagihara Teruhiro and Dutch design studio Scholten&Baijings. This brand precedented the 2016/ project, which will launch at the Milan Salone di Mobile next year.
As he relaxes between a busy meeting schedule, we have an opportunity to talk with him.
What is it like for the Arita craftsmen and the designers for the 1616/ brand like?
"At first I thought it would be difficult, because the craftsmen have a fixed idea of what Aritaware should be like. But the designers try to build on the tradition of Arita pottery and use the great skills of the crafsmen. Before, without their perception, working in just the traditional way, it had become difficult to promote Aritaware abroad. I think in this project there has been a building up of trust and communication and it seems to work.”
In what stage is the project right now?
“What started out as an individual project, 1616/ Arita Japan, has grown into a much wider one, involving the entire town and 14 international designers, including 4 Dutch designers. The designs have been proposed to the two creative directors, and each manufacturer has been working on prototypes.”
What is your visit about?
“To have a design meeting with Scholten & Baijings, for I am responsible for producing their work. The other purpose is to discuss an Arita House, which will be authorized by Saga Prefecture. This is an initiative of Scholten &Baijings, and it will be located in Amsterdam. It is to promote the 2016/Arita project and to promote Saga industries and culture."
Is this the first time you do a project like this: bringing together international designers to work with local craftsmen to stimulate the whole area?
“I never would have a chance to do a project with such a group. It is through sponsoring of Saga prefecture and the government that this is possible. My company would produce pottery with individual designers, but this project is like a fate of Arita that so many people can work towards one goal, celebrating 400 years of Arita pottery”.
What is the history of your firm?
“I am third generation after the WOII to be director of the trading company. Before that, it was a manufacturing business. My brother is the artist, I am more of a business man. In our family, it is usual for the oldest son to become the president of the company. It is my genes to know what the pottery manufacturing is about. The craftsmen get nervous sometimes, because I know what they are thinking”.
What can we expect from the Arita 2016 pottery line?
“It will consist of two series; a standard line (teapots, plate sets, mass produced), and special editions pieces for which I work with international designers like Scholten & Baijings. We will produce 27 items, expressing the history and technical development of Arita pottery. Each piece reflects an aspect of this 400 year tradition in a contemporary way”.
The 2016/ Aritaware will be launched at Milan Salone and then become available worldwide.