Umaji, sensory immersion

Umaji, Japan.

This project aims to enhance the identity of Umaji (A small Japanese village located on Shikoku island) aimed to use design as a way of creating closer connections between the local resources/industries of the village (at the time mostly used for export) and activities in the village such as tourism (the village, located along a river is well-known for the therapeutic quality of its water, but at the time most products/resources for the hotel were imported). A range of locally-made sensory products capturing the unique characteristics of Umaji were proposed to promote the identify of the village and a sense of place. Beyond the products, the project explored scenarios related to circular economy principles that has great potential of benefiting the village.

This range of products uses and combines steam molded Yanase cedar wood, and a citrus fruit called Yuzu. These resources, characterizing the village by reflecting its identity, culture and economy are harvested, transformed and assembled locally. Both cedar wood an Yuzu have a very pleasant smell and are used in aromatherapy.

The olfactive objects were designed for the local hotel to be combined to the existing interior, enhancing the space and user experience by using sensory immersion.

Products include:

  • A tray designed to hold a yukata (robe) and towel for the onsen (baths), an important ritual in Japanese culture.
  • A container diffuser designed to be folded with the Yukata which can also be used for the onsen.
  • An aromatherapy diffuser containing cedar wood bark and yuzu peels.
  • A pillow made of small cedar balls combined to Yuzu essential oil.
  • A coat hanger made of molded cedar wood subtly perfuming garments.

This project was developed in collaboration with the Japanese designer Takumi Shimamura and was developed over 3 months (including 10 days on site).

© 2017-2020 Charlotte Kessler Design