Mononofu is an old term for a samurai warrior. It is also a brand name created by a man who loves history. The Mononofu brand expresses the uninhibited and innovative spirit of the Sengoku period or the Warring State period.
Hideki Tanaka, the creator of the brand, boldly joins two seemingly contrary elements: the promotion of modern art and the reproduction of traditional craftwork. Mr. Tanaka, who first saw a collection of unusual kabuto helmets for warriors at the National Museum, was struck by their appearance and this sparked the idea of incorporating their design into a new indie T-shirt business.
Since each of Monofuku’s T-shirts is an expression of the unique creativity and aesthetic sense of its artist, Mr. Tanaka sees parallels in the creation process of both his T-shirts and the kabuto helmets. He believes that, if the samurai warriors were alive today, they would embrace modern designs and materials in their expressions of beauty.
Takefu Knife Village is a brand created in 1982 by local curter artisans in Takefu, the biggest cutlery producing district that proudly maintains over seven hundred years of history.
In 1983 with the collaboration of Kazuo Kawasaki, a design director who was born and raised locally, Takefu launched its new series of kitchen knives, ARTUS.
While using the traditional method to create the blade part and by utilizing a unique design to unify from the tip of the blade to the handle, it achieved a simple yet innovative, hygienic and highly aesthetic product.
ATRUS is made by “fire casting”, a traditional craftsman’s striking technique, which uses a three-layer structure with steel forged by hand that is inserted between stainless steel. It is this technique that enables the knife to be sharp and resistant to rust.
ATRUS was born from a great trinity: the seven policies based on the Takefu’s commitment to create wonderful hand-made products; its traditional cutlery making method; and outstanding design by Kazuo Kawasaki. Its excellence is evident as even more than 20 years after its initial introduction it is still sold without any modifications.
Kakiemon is a preeminent Japanese porcelain brand and is well-known worldwide. The most remarkable feature of Kakiemon is called “nigoshide”.
Nigoshide is the fine milky white base color developed to emphasize the beauty of paintings by Kakiemon. “Nigoshi” is a dialect of Saga, where Kakiemon wares are produced, and means “water after washing rice”, which is not pure white but a warm milky white color. It is this background color that enables the viewer to realize the beauty around the drawings that Kakiemon style is famous for. This technique was established at the beginning of Edo period by the fifth generation of Kakiemon when many wares were produced. However, mainly due to the high shipping costs, the production was discontinued temporarily. Later when there was an overwhelming demand by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and enthusiasts in general, production was revived around 1952 by Kakiemon XII and Kakiemon XIII.
In 1971, Nigoshide technique was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset. Kakiemon X IV, a Living National Treasure, continues making new products blending traditional techniques passed on through generations with new modern techniques.
Born 1965 in Nagasaki pref. President of t.c.k.w inc.
Yudai Tachikawa is a design director who supports the overall design
strategy for many companies as an outside creative consultant. With a base
of product planning and development relating to the field of interiors such
as furniture, lighting and household electrics, he handles the overall
process necessary for design to find its way to the consumer, including
designer selection, marketing research, promotion and publicity.
Through his own company he started a ground-breaking project called
“ubushina” which fuses Japanese traditional handicrafts such as lacquer
ware and bamboo craft with the flair of modern design, producing novel and
original products. He also runs “MD salon”, a member’s trade fair site,
in which buyers can view products primarily submitted by its own designers.
Born 1959 in Yamagata City, Yamagata Pref., Japan. Mr Okuyama worked for auto manufacturers in various strategic roles including as chief designers for GM (USA) and Porsche (Germany), then as creative director at Pininfarina S.p.A.(Italia), later he became independent. He is well known worldwide as a designer for Maserati Quatrroporte, Enzo Ferrari and Ferrari Scaglietti. He also worked on industrial design projects in a wide range of fields including public transportation with trains and planes, furniture, product design, interior design, spatial design and urban planning. He created and marketed the “KEN OKUYAMA” brand for eyewear. In 2006, he established the “Yamagata Koubou” furniture brand. He is currently an honorary professor for the Industrial Design program at the Art Center College of Design (USA) and at the Kanazawa College of Art (Japan). He is also vice chair of the jury for the Good Design Award and runs the Yamagata Carrozzeria Project. He lives in Italy.
Even though a dining table is an item from a western interior, this table invokes nostalgia in people, the feeling you get when you experience something familiar. It is completely made of cedar(from 75mm thick planks), which comes from Miyazaki Prefecture. For the joint between the table surface board and leg, it uses the ‘Shikuchi’ method of joinery, which is commonly seen in Japanese architecture. ‘Shikuchi’ is a technique that links pillar and girder. The perfect interrelation of angle, surface and pillar makes the interior modern. The table reminds us of a pillar in a house that is present just beside us.
■ BEPPU Dining Table ・ Pure cedar (Oil Varnished) ・ W×D×H 1800mm×825mm×700mm ・ Designed by Makoto Koizumi
This geometric table with lacquer-coated carving was originally created as a display piece for the Milano Salone. Craftsmen were not used to working on the unusual patterns and size of a table such as this. In general, pictures were on the lacquer coated cravings, not geometrical designs. Some voices even exclaimed, “This project might be better done by machines!”. On the other hand, with a machine, there would be risks of pigments spreading into the grooves of the carving, during the lacquer coating.However, the craftsmen’s pride motivated them to create this table. When the table was completed, it gave a rich impression that could not have been machine-made. ‘It was difficult, though I had this chance to encounter a completely different set of values. This gave me a new idea in spatial craft making”, one craftsman commented with pleasure after completing the table. As a result, this table is a unique fusion of design and craft.A new state appears in which the environment is arranged to make design and craft combine and function together.
Table “Tenhan”・Lacquer-coated carving・ SizeW×D×H (mm) 800×800×25 (not including the leg)・ Designed byIntenionallies
The chair on the left shows a carpentry technique of shaving bark, while the chair on the right shows a technique in which leather is attached to a chair.
A wooden chair with a single-leg is unique. The leg is made using a technique in which bark is shaved by turning a piece of wood on a potter’s wheel. Its shape is generated by a rotary motion that looks as if the chair has started rolling,
As for the other chair, its candy-colored leather is modern and elegant. It was designed for an apparel retail store. Thick leather is wrapped around steel bars. The leather wrapping and sewing requires great skill.
■ Single-leg chair（left）
*Mahogany with oil finish
*Ｗ×Ｄ×Ｈ×ＳＨ （ｍｍ） ５４０×４４０×７１０×４５０
*steel flat bar/leather
*Ｗ×Ｄ×Ｈ×ＳＨ （ｍｍ） ６２２×６７０×７５０×４２０
*Both items are designed by Intentionallies
■produced by Ubushina, Yudai Tachikawa