full header image © ronald smits 

‘skin tote’ and ‘inflatable leather’ by satomi minoshima

japanese designer satomi minoshima’s latest works explore unconventional terrains. her first collection, ‘skin tote’, features a series of bags that assert the beauty and diversity of skin color. she regards this human material as an interface with the environment and imbues it with tactile information that would escape the gaze alone. meanwhile, her ‘inflatable leather’ furniture series serves up an imaginative medley of both natural and synthetic materials – pushing the boundaries of 

satomi minoshima's latest works explore skin color and inflatable leather
‘skin tote’ | image © satomi minoshima

human skin as an interface with the outside world

satomi minoshima’s first collection, ‘skin totes’ is composed of a series of bags that elaborate on the beauty and diversity of skin color. ‘our skin is the largest interface we share with the world around us. it forms a protective layer around our bodies’,  says the designer. ‘the color of our skin is biologically associated with protection from sunlight. however, the physical color of our skin extends far into cultural and social contexts of society. skin could play a role in how individuals are treated in society’. with a post-racial area shaping itself, this collection uses bags as a metaphor to highlight how human skin is merely the outer cover that protects the essence of who each individual truly is. reciprocally, just like with race, the property of the bag is not defined by its color. 

satomi minoshima's latest works explore skin color and inflatable leather
image © satomi minoshima

giving new value to ‘mundane’ furniture 

aside from skin color and human history – minoshima is also inspired by materials and production processes. she loves nothing more than playing around with contrasts and challenging the inherent properties of any material – as exhibited in her ‘inflatable leather’ project. this furniture series explores the capabilities of inflatable products which tend to be considered quick fixes and for temporary use. in this collection, the designer covered the chairs in real leather – a natural material that increases in value as it ages over time. by association, minoshima’s inflatable furniture will ultimately become more valuable with the passing of years – offering it a longer lifespan for interior use. the first prototype was sponsored by van oosterum leder

satomi minoshima's latest works explore skin color and inflatable leather
image © satomi minoshima

satomi minoshima's latest works explore skin color and inflatable leather
‘inflatable leather’ | image courtesy of satomi minoshima

satomi minoshima's latest works explore skin color and inflatable leather
image courtesy of satomi minoshima

the young japanese creator will be honored during the next maison&objet paris show, from january 20 to 24, 2022, within the framework of the ‘rising talent awards’.

selected by a prestigious jury led by the architect kengo kuma and experts noriko kawakami, associate director of 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, lecturer at musashino art university and tokyo metropolitan university, board member of THE MIYAKE ISSEY FOUNDATION; ryuko kida, branding director at ELLE DECOR japan; jo nagasaka of schemata architects; kinya tagawa, engineer and designer; masaki yokokawa, founder of WELCOME Co, Ltd. professor at musashino art university; ikko yokoyama, senior curator of design and architecture at M+museum in hong kong.

project info:

project titles: ‘skin tote’ / ‘inflatable leather’

designer: satomi minoshima

year: 2019

photography: ronald smits, satomi minoshima