Selected Article

Car and craftsmanship

Unfold the history of cars—a report of craftsmanship active in different fields Witten by motor lighter -Jun NISHIKAWA

Tough silk

Written by Jun NISHIKAWA Photo by Hidehiro TANAKA

Motor journalist
Born in 1965, Nara Kyoto. Graduated from Engineering Department of Kyoto University. He has been the Deputy Editor of Recruit Car Sensor Company and made an independent editorial production in 1999. Writes for magazines, news expresses and net-media as a freelancer. Writes articles about luxury car, vintage car and super sport. During 2018 to 2019, serving as the selection committee for Car of The Year Japan. And he is member of Japan journalist association. He writes and spreads the history and culture of automobiles and keep criticizing the industry and civilization. Now living in Kyoto.

Traditional crafts, for us who are living in modern time, may know them as only things and affairs of ancient good times, but we can never forget those ancient fine things used to be standing for the newest technologies of that time. For instance, the famous ancient shrines and temples in Kyoto are visited by millions of visitors from everywhere of the world, used to be the “newest” once upon a time.

And now, we want to make the “newest” ancient technologies known by the world. Whenever in the history of traditional crafts, craftsmen, otherwise recognized as artisans, were playing a very important role. And in this series of articles, we will introduce you the excellent achievements of craftsmen with the back ground of the cars through ago to nowadays.

Section 1: fabric of sheets.
What if you imagined when talk about the sheets of luxury cars? You may think about the leather sheets with elegant fragrance which are used by Rolls-Royce or Bentley. For there are kinds of leathers for customers to choose, people may think luxury cars are set with leather sheets, the leather sheets those are soft and well stained. But in the past, the leather sheets were not as popular as now. Certainly, as a heavy-duty product, leather sheets are important in the driver’s seat, but due to the common sense of the limousine, the front seats are always made by leathers though, the back seats must be made by textile. And as one famous fact, the back seats of the official cars of the Mikado are all made by the NISHIJIN ORI (西陣織, Nishijin fabric is a traditional textile produced in the Nishijin (西陣) district of Kamigyō-ku in Kyoto, Japan.)

Leathers are good, and fabrics are extraordinaire. Maserati and Zegna’s collaboration made the point to change the image of fabric-made sheets again. And the most outstanding model was the silk sheets of Ermenegildo Zegna Interior.
Certainly, silk may have a colorful and soft image, and easy to be damaged, but same as the spider silk, due to the different way of weaving, silk can be tough enough for being used by the belts of parachutes.

The 100% natural mulberry silk developed by Zegna for Maserati, 10 times thinner twisted than normal shirts. And the seats are made into herringbone print to improve the durability. The combination of extra fine grain silk of Poltrona Frau, make a special feeling with only one glance, and you will never get tired of it.
We deducted and developed a new purpose of silk for using in a high performance of car seats, not only in design, but also in durability, light resistance and non-flammable etc. different from the material of clothes, but a new technology which above tradition. And you can find the remarkable spirit of artisans.


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