oke cup / oke carafe

sketch / image
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  • 2013.10
for Nakagawa Mokkougei by | n meister

Nakagawa Mokkougei is a traditional Japanese cooper whose pails, buckets and other wooden items have long been beloved of exclusive Kyoto inns and restaurants. We designed a collection of drinking items – a tumbler, guinomi drinking cup, shot glass, sake cup and sake pitcher – that utilize the same barrel-making skills and techniques. Somewhat unconventionally, we decided to bind the wooden slats with one hoop, rather than the usual two. We made the walls thicker than usual and created nearly imperceptible spaces between the slats, a new construction that disperses the stress around the structure. Using only one hoop makes for a clean look, and the thicker wood has a strong, comforting feel against the lips when lifted to the mouth. We also played with the cups’ silhouette. The walls of Japanese wooden buckets ordinarily lie straight. We added a slight curve at the base to create a soft feel both visually and in the hand. To soften the hoop’s metallic gleam, we sandblasted it to a matte texture then coloured it with a powdered paint , developing another new technique. The pieces are made from a combination of Japanese cypress (hinoki), the traditional material for buckets, and Jindai Cedar, a rare, darker wood uncovered from having been buried in the earth for more than 2000 years. We treated both woods with urethane to keep warping from ultraviolet rays, dirt and moisture to a minimum. A collection that combines old and new techniques to bring out the best in its materials.

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Photographer : Akihiro Yoshida