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From Japan to Europe, Sweden has become her home. Akane Moriyama knew her path since her childhood and she is now travelling around the world exhibiting her magical and ethereal pieces. Her work is a combination of very delicate coloured textures, architecture and spatial design. She says that inspiration comes from the simplest things in life, but after seeing her artworks, we’re sure her inner world is somewhere far away.
You are Japanese but you decided to move to Sweden to study textile design. How did you arrive to choose a European capital? And how has the change been so far?
When I was a student in Japan I had a three-month internship and I decided to go to Amsterdam first, in an office called Inside Outside, and I was doing landscape and textiles for architectures. After that I had to return to Kyoto. I knew I wanted to come back to Europe and I was searching for a good place where to live, finish my studies and combine textiles and architecture. I found Sweden and actually I didn’t really choose it, it had to happen. It’s been nine years now since I am living here. The culture and the environment maybe are different and they definitely affect me, relax me; but in terms of what I do I don’t notice much differences. Obviously here in Stockholm I can manage my time much better as everything is much slower than Tokyo lifestyle, but I do prefer it, definitely.
How has Sweden influenced your creativity and your design? Do you think your personal style has stronger roots in your Japanese background or in your new environment?
I think it’s a mix. I don’t define my style being Japanese or Swedish. Obviously I grew up in Japan so I have many influences from there, but my works are just the mirror of what I like and a mix of stuff. It’s interesting though how I can see my creativity developing in a different way and spot those differences. When I am in Sweden things seem to be more Japanese and vice versa. Also I think that when you live outside your country you can really be yourself and understand what you truly like. That affects your creativity as well, and this is good because you are conscious of what you are doing.

What inspires you on a daily basis?
Every time it’s different, actually, it is somehow unconscious. Sometimes I have been thinking about an idea for five years and I don’t know what to do, but when the opportunity comes up I just proceed to do it; I don’t have a specific moment when the inspiration explodes. I usually go for a walk or while looking around, travelling, talking with somebody, nature, daily life or doing nothing special. Talking about Stockholm I can see all this nature: the sky, the water, and the environment inspire me a lot. I also respect many artists and people who are doing different things.
Where does your passion for architecture and textile come from?
Originally I was interested in space. When I was a kid I liked to see houses. I was always thinking how I could do things differently in that room, or when having a look at house advertisings I imagined how I would have done them differently if I were living there. I was very into interiors, and that’s why I studied architecture. From there I started to develop my own design and I found that space experience is what I want to do with textiles.
You are well known for the interesting combination of textile, installation and architecture. What do they mean to you?
It is a process of my thoughts and mind. I just work with inputs. When I look at spaces and textiles and I think they fit together, I just start to work on until I find the perfect combination. Obviously it’s something that I have always been interested in, so it’s a kind of easier for me, like a spontaneous process.

How did you start experimenting and finding this hybrid personal style between disciplines?
I am interested in materials in general, but I just find textures very interesting to work with. It just had to happen. I didn’t force anything, it was a natural choice.
How did you start working on overlapping colours and designs in space? Can you explain us more about your creative and creation process?
For example, I worked in a cubic prism. I started to think about colours and pieces. Then I began to work on a small scale of overlapping pieces, all in different colours, to make it 3-D. After I tested it and I realised it worked visually, I experimented in up and down scales until I found the one that worked for me. Also I just experiment with colours by combining them – like putting pieces of textures on windows or somewhere else. I like experimenting and I think it is the base of my process.
One of your most recent projects has been displayed in Walk & Talk Azores. You said you weren’t totally satisfied, and that you would’ve liked the installation to be even longer, “Something to connect it to the street”. Can you tell me what was your intention and what was missing?
The installation exhibited at Arquipélago Centro des Arts Contemporânea is a three-dimensional structure (approx. 70m x 0,5m x 0,5m) made of semi-transparent fabric hanged from a wall of the museum to the entrance. My intention was to create a bridge between local people and the museum by placing the installation as close as possible to the street around the entrance so that passersby notice the work and triggers their curiosity to enter the building. However, the installation had to be placed within a certain area set back from street because of security reasons. The whole process of this project gave me a good opportunity to question what an artist can do in public space to exert some influence on people’s consciousness.

Where do you see yourself in a short-term future?
Currently I am based in Stockholm and working for different commissions in different countries such as Sweden, Japan and the United States. So, I will be travelling here and there.

Words
Vincenza Nobile
Photos
Akane Moriyama, Yasushi Ichikawa, Hideyuki Nakayama Architecture, Takumi Ota, Eizo Kioku, Erik Wahlström

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