The art of glassblowing dates back thousands of years. There are innumerable ways of forming the glass, using tools made of many materials ranging from wet paper to metal. The aim of designer Yuki Tango and artist Jonas Larsen was to create unique glass vessels with a character that can be specifically linked to Skåne. Accordingly, they wove baskets to blow the glass into – baskets made of willow branches from Jonas’s home village of Hammenhög. Willow branches are relatively thin and flexible and are reasonably easy to bend and weave with. While working – they are now on their fourth joint collection – they discovered that fresh willow branches are better to work with than older ones.

Yuki had no previous experience of glassblowing. She is an industrial and furniture designer who trained in Tokyo and London. She worked for ten years with the well-known Ron Arad in London before she moved to Malmö, where she now works, collaborating with her colleague Yuko Tsurumaru as Studio Trojka. Yuki is based in Sweden and Yuko in Tokyo; their clients are in a number of countries world wide. So the designers stay in touch daily via Skype and email.

Jonas, in contrast, has worked a lot with glass both as an artist and designer. After studying in Copenhagen and Amsterdam he had his own glassworks in Hammenhög for a long time. He has created glass for both artistic and utility contexts. His expertise was a prerequisite for the Willow Glass project in a process that is otherwise complex. Jonas and Yuki jointly produce the conceptual work and the crafting – that is, weaving the baskets. The glassblowing itself is done by Lennart Nissmark in his glassworks in Åhus.

In glassworks, timing is everything. The environment is hot and crowded and the work must be done with the greatest imaginable precision. Several furnaces are constantly lit, heated to the 1,200 degrees Celsius required to melt the glass raw material. At the precisely correct second the worked glass mass must be blown into the moulds – in this case the woven baskets – pressed against its walls and then quickly removed. The process is dramatic and sometimes a basket can break. Then the designers must quickly mend it. The result is that the forms change. Every object in Willow Glass is therefore at once both series produced and unique.

Text: Ingrid Sommar

Yuki Tango and Jonas Larsen. Yuki is a Malmö-based designer who works globally as part of Studio Trojka. Jonas is an artist and designer based in Hammenhög, previously with his own glassworks.

Yuki Tango and Jonas Larsen, who weave the baskets used to form the glass. And Lennart Nissmark of Studio Glashyttan in Åhus, who blows the glass in the baskets.

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A portrait series that showcases four collaborations between designers and producers with a focus on process. The four collaborations originated in a project called Den Nya Kartan (the new map), in which curator Jenny Nordberg paired up designers and producers, all based in Skåne, in order to demonstrate the strength of collaboration as well as the creativity and sometimes magic that emerge from this encounter.