Note — Feb 09, 2020

Going Back to the Roots With Production in Rural Japan

Seen in → No.112

Source → popupcity.net/observations/going-back-to-the-ro...

Over the last decade plus, Fab Labs have had some years of great growth and visibility. Recently, some have had a harder go of it and a growing number of people, including most of media, seem to have dismissed them. Fab Lab Aso Minami-Oguni is one kind of project that can “keep the dream alive” and shows how local fabrication workshops can serve a number of functions and help different groups within a community.

[B]uilt with the intention of developing new products with Oguni Cedar, a locally prized resource. Oguni Cedar is a fine-grained, high-quality wood, known for its lustre, texture and beautiful pink colour. …All the products are made from Oguni Cedar, and their hallmark is the way in which the grain of the wood is incorporated into their design. Suzutani explains that the products symbolise the way the industry has changed over time. […]

Fab Lab Aso Minami-Oguni attracts all kinds of people, from housewives who want to engage in craftwork, to newcomers to the village working on ambitious projects. But according to Suzutani, they expend their biggest efforts on primary school and junior high school students, aged 6 - 15. “Rural towns like this do not have many places for children to safely go and play on their own. Because of that, many of them go home after school just to play games on their phone for hours. You could even say that smartphones are their only connection to the outside world.”