The collaboration between CBA and Mutty continues, and Mutty recently celebrated its first 10 anni of cultural, artistic, and culinary activities. Congratulations to Mutty!

For the fourth edition of 12×6 with Serena Gianoli, titled ‘Japonisme,’ we asked Mutty to select some titles about Japanese culture, always exploring the realms of design, art, and cuisine.

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I libri di Katsumi Komagata

Lazy Dog Press

The collection begins with Katsumi Komagata, an artist who has developed a strong bond with Mutty over the years. His books, conceived as works of art for children, represent a perfect example of Japanese artistic sensibility.


Inspired by his experience with his daughter Aï, Komagata has simplified shapes and colors to offer a unique perspective of the world from a child’s point of view, combining pedagogy and anthropology. His books are considered design objects due to the use of techniques like pop-up, origami, and tangram, making them appealing to both children and adults. This new edition contains over 100 illustrations of Komagata’s works and is a must-have for enthusiasts of his contributions to global publishing, design, and graphic arts.

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Japanese Interiors

Mihoko Iida
Lazy Dog Press

Author Mihoko Iida explores the art of Japanese residential interiors, presenting an analysis of the diverse design of spaces in private homes.

The book showcases twenty-eight exemplary residences scattered throughout Japan, from urban dwellings to mountain apartments and seaside houses. Iida highlights the enduring philosophy of integrating the natural landscape into the homes and illustrates the influences and ongoing evolution of Japanese interior design. The book also features homes designed by some of the leading Japanese architects, including Kengo Kuma, Nendo, Koji Fujii, Arata Endo, and Takamitsu Azuma.

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L’essenza del colore nel design giapponese

Rossella Menegazzo

This volume delves into the roots of traditional Japanese colors, which trace their origins to ancient traditions and nature. Initially adopted to signify rank, these colors have seen their meanings expand over time to encompass a wide range of design objects today.
The book presents 200 colors, each illustrated by objects spanning from the 16th century to the present day. They highlight both well-known designers such as Naoto Fukasawa and Issey Miyake, as well as lesser-known talents rooted in Japanese tradition.
Each color is described with information about its origins and cultural influences, including the pigments used and the historical figures associated with these shades.

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Tokyo Stories

Tim Anderson

“Tokyo Stories” is a culinary journey through the vibrant city of Tokyo. The book explores the eclectic culinary world of this city, from the delights of corn cream vending machines to ramen and gyoza shops, presenting over eighty authentic recipes. The author, Tim Anderson, also shares anecdotes and photos from his travels. This book is a tribute to Japanese cuisine and is perfect for Japan enthusiasts and lovers of its delicious flavors.

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For the fourth edition of 12X6, we immersed ourselves in the world of Serena Gianoli. Her deep fascination in Japanese culture, inspired by her readings, has given life to 12 artworks representing characters, customs, and legends from Japanese popular culture.

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The Japonisme exhibition, which we inaugurated on October 19th in the company of friends, colleagues, and design enthusiasts, takes its name from a term coined at the end of the 19th century by the critic Philippe Burty.

“Japonisme,” prevalent mainly in the 19th century, represents the influence of Japanese art, culture, and aesthetics on Western culture. This artistic movement originated in Europe, especially in France, and influenced numerous artists and designers of the time. Japanese artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige became famous in the West through prints and artworks imported from Japan, depicting cherry blossoms, everyday life scenes, costumes, and more.

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"A couple of years ago, during research for a mythology-related project, I came across the legend of Namazu, a massive catfish capable of causing earthquakes and kept in check by the god Kashima, the thunder deity. Captivated by paintings depicting this legend, I wanted to interpret, in my own way, some of these mythological images and the fluidity, as well as the strength, of Japanese artistic representations.”

Among the highlights of the exhibition, you will find depictions of herons and cherry blossoms, timeless symbols in Japanese art and culture. Herons symbolize grace and longevity. There is also Kintsugi, an ancient Japanese art known as the ‘golden repair,’ which uses lacquer and gold powder to mend broken objects. You will also discover artworks inspired by samurai, the tea ceremony, dragons and tigers, Namazu, and Taiko, the traditional drums that embody power and rhythm in Japanese culture.

12X6 is a project born to provide space, both metaphorically and literally, for young professionals in the world of visual arts. Every six months, a comprehensive journey of twelve artworks is hosted in our offices, which become a permanent gallery for creative talents.

During the opening night, Serena performed live painting, creating the Pet-Daruma, charming Japanese-style representations of our four-legged friends.
Instagram: @pet_daruma

Daruma dolls, also known as Dharma dolls, are Japanese votive figurines without legs or arms, representing Bodhidharma, the founder and first patriarch of Zen.

In thanking all the people who participated in the opening night, we would like to remind everyone that for the next six months, ‘Japonisme’ can be ‘visited’ at the CBA headquarters, located at Via San Francesco d’Assisi 15, Milan. We would also like to extend our thanks to Alessandro Doro, Raffaele Sabella, and Claudia Alexandrino, who were the protagonists of previous editions.

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Serena Gianoli is an Illustrator and Visual Designer who lives and works in Milan, amidst black and white lines, colorful palettes, and a backpack full of markers, along with her ever-present sketchbook.

To delve deeper into her work and discover how her style will evolve, you can visit her Instagram profile @serenagianoli or her website