Harigane logo
Weaving metal into fabric
Woven metal fabric made from stainless steel threads with patterns that look like cracks
Harigane creates one of a kind woven fabric using metal threads using the traditional Nishijin technique of weaving.

Design Tochi practices a form of post-modern alchemy with metal and the weaving loom. Harigane, the studio’s metal cloth named for the Japanese word for wire—that combines the characters for needle針 (hari) and gold金 (kane)—is an extraordinary design material. The mesh of micro threads diffuses a rainbow of light, shimmering and emitting different effects as the sun or electrical light source shifts. It treats the eye to a multidimensional visual experience.

In interiors, the intersection of wires offers privacy in the form of partitions, sheer enough to allow for the passage of light, yet sturdy and fire-resistant. As a textile, Harigane is also wearable fashion; hanging art with the expressive capacity of 3D forms; and metallic tapestries or curtains revealing patterns or visual imagery woven into them. On exteriors, particularly as façades gracing doorways or broad walls, Harigane provides enhancements that are lightweight, affordable, weatherproofed, and original. For taller structures, Harigane may be hung for additional security—with an aesthetically appealing look.

Metal fabric with calligraphy as the design used to clothe a mannequin and also used as a tapestry.
Owner and craftsperson, Mikiya Toyoshima working the Jacquard loom to weave metal fabric

In contrast to traditional workshops that adopt innovation, Design Tochi represents a different mobilization of tradition and technique. Design Tochi’s creator Mikiya Toyoshima豊島美喜works as a design architect in Yosano, the heart of silk weaving on the Tango Peninsula beyond Kyoto. Toyoshima’s interest in exploring the possibilities of nature and creating things stretches back to his childhood in a mountain village on the island of Kyushu. He enjoyed making what he didn’t have. But when he settled in Tango’s weaving district, he became interested in the industry that had produced fabric for centuries, most famously chirimen crêpe for kimono. While  preserving the precise traditional weaving techniques, he adapted the standard Jacquard loom and transformed the use of copper, stainless steel and other metals.

Toyoshima recollects some ten years ago when he spotted the stainless-steel skeleton of a kitchen sponge in the trash awaiting pick up at a neighborhood gate. Its sparkle in the morning sunlight caught his eye as he moved toward it to admire the quality of light it emitted and the colors emanating through the rays. He reveled in the beauty of his accidental find, invoking the Japanese expression for salvaging life’s resources, “Mottainai”—it can’t be wasted. Not long after, he went to work on developing Harigane.

Metal fabric woven using copper and stainless steel

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