MJ AIR gathering with INAMATT & Samira Boon

Gathering for examining the prototypes made by the 3 Dutch designers of MJ AIR 2019 with Samira Boon & INAMATT

On January 7th 2020 in Amsterdam, MONO JAPAN organized a gathering for the participants of MJ AIR. The intention was to examine the prototypes made by the three Dutch designers who participated in the MJ AIR project last year. Inviting two professional Dutch designers, Samira Boon and Matthijs van Cruijsen from INAMATT, who also contributed as the juries for selected the participating designers of the program, the AIR designers received advice regarding their prototypes which would help them further develop their products to become commercially successful. Samira offered her studio as the location of the gathering. Five members of the MONO JAPAN team participated in the gathering as well.

Maryam Kordbacheh collaborated with Yoshida Shingi Shozoku in Kyoto for her residency. She had not yet received her prototypes from Japan so instead, she presented photographs and a video of her prototypes while explaining the concepts behind her products as well as her experiences during her residency. She developed a variety of fashion items, all very unique and beautiful. Matthijs thought that the pictures and video had a strong impact as well, and advised that Maryam should consider including them in the presentation of her brand.


Jonas Althaus collaborated with Sekishu Washi in Shimane; he brought the physical prototype for all the participants to examine. The product is a touch-sensitive illumination using conductive paper which he himself developed during his residency. The washi paper glows and dims down when touched. Samira and Matthijs provided Jonas with many useful comments, helping him clarify the next steps of the product’s development.

Pao Hui Kao worked with Aizu Shikki in Fukushima in developing lacquerware prototypes. She presented many types of plates and mirrors; all the participants could touch these prototypes and understand how high-quality they are. The Japanese team members of MONO JAPAN especially could understand how unusual and unique the designs are, which gave them a sense of happiness in being part in allowing for this sort of exciting collaboration to take place. The prototypes also clearly show that lacquerware products can easily become very expensive due to the time-consuming process. Samira and Matthijs provided some advice on further developing these products through finding a good balance between cost and quality by reducing some of the production steps and cost.

It was a successful gathering where everyone felt a sense of excitement in the next steps. The three designers brought back many new ideas to their studios to develop their respective products further. Many thanks to Samira for making this gathering possible!

The prototypes will be developed into commercialized products for sale, and will be showcased during MONO JAPAN 2020 held at the end of August. We hope you’ll visit us to see the results!