Nakagawa Mokkougei is a traditional Japanese cooper whose pails, barrels and other wooden items have long been beloved of exclusive Kyoto inns and restaurants.
We applied their techniques to create a champagne cooler. We decided to keep some of the slats longer than the others to give users a sense of how buckets are made. While seemingly slight, this decision meant a complex production process: each cooler must be assembled once, then taken apart, its surfaces finished then reassembled. 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.