Whether creating ukiyo-e woodblock prints, embroidering a silk obi sash, or even designing the cabin of a new car, Japanese handcraft is subject to two unique approaches to design: “mitate” (pronounced “mee-ta-teh”) and “shitate” (“shee-ta-teh”). These techniques complement one another, encouraging and enabling craftspeople to imbue their work with an elevated sense of artistry. These philosophies served as the inspiration for Infiniti’s design approach of the QX50’s interior. The materials chosen for the production car are the result of a design process that started as early as 2015, when the brand’s designers produced the first sketches of what would become the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration concept car.
“Mitate” relates to the practice of curating and bringing together the best possible selection of materials. This is the process by which artists and artisans carefully consider a range of different materials to work with, selecting those which elevate the character of other materials in use by contrasting or complementing them. In turn, “shitate” is the execution, the well-made, the desire to bring out the very best qualities of the chosen combination of materials. By tailoring, shaping and composing them in certain ways, craftspeople can create something greater than the sum of their parts.