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Reviving Traditional Japanese Straw Mats for the Modern Age

All images via Noiz Architects/<a href="">Vimeo</a> unless otherwise noted
All images via Noiz Architects/Vimeo unless otherwise noted

For centuries, the Japanese walked, slept, ate, and relaxed on tatami, the traditional straw mat flooring that's easy on the body and great at regulating moisture. Originating in the homes of aristocrats during the 10th century, tatami finally spread to ordinary households by the 19th century. Though they've become increasingly rare in modern Japanese homes, one architecture firm, Tokyo's Noiz Architects is trying to breathe new life into this time-honored craft. As featured in Wallpaper recently, the firm has been working with tatami manufacturer Soshinsha on an online platform for ordering custom-shaped tatami mats.

The firm, who has a history of working with Voronoi geometries, continues to explore partitioned planes in this project. Whereas traditional tatami are rectangular, with a length to width ratio of 2:1, the bespoke mats generated by Noiz's tool would be composed of unique polygonal shapes. To begin, customers would input relevant info like the shape and size of a room and the number of mats desired. Then, the generator would output a series of Voronoi patterns for people to choose from. Plus, as demoed in the video below, one can further toggle the angle of the straw weave for each shape in the pattern. According to Wallpaper, Noiz's tatami generator is expected to start taking orders by the end of this year.

· Noiz Architects take on tatami, weaving a new path for the Japanese craft [Wallpaper]
· George Nakashima Lives on in These Forgotten Rug Designs [Curbed]
· The Bridges of Hiroshima Prefecture [Meridian]