words Anna Bates
Plastic koi carp and models decorated with koi patterns form a collection created by Berlin-based Japanese designer Yoske Nishiumi.
Every month a new object is added to the collection and exhibited at Koiklub, a free club- night that Nishiumi set up in Berlin five years ago.
Designs include Koi Ride, a man commuting to work on a carp, and Koi Grace, a model of Grace Jones being pulled along on a monoski. “Grace is iconic,” says Nishiumi. “And I like big contrasts.”
Koi Lounge includes a man lying in a fish bed, a bikinied DJ and lotus-shaped speakers. “It’s about how I want to live my life,” says Nishiumi. “Koi Lounge represents my dream home.”
The models displayed at Koiklub are co-designed by Zen Yoshimoto, who started collaborating with Nishiumi in 2005. “There were so many interesting people but not many places where people could present their work,” says Nishiumi. “Koiklub brings together many different kinds of people. You have DJs with their tight shirts and slim metallic glasses next to hippy crowds next to graffiti artists with their caps at 45º next to chefs.”
Nishiumi sees this diversity reflected in the name koi, which in Japanese means “carp”, “falling in love”, “come here”, “intensive”, “with purpose” and “ancient way”.
After each monthly event Nishiumi puts together Koimag, a 30-page fanzine featuring his own designs along with those of his friends. Shoe manufacturer Onitsuka Tiger is bringing out a range of trainers with Nishiumi’s koi motifs in February.