Hanataba: Round chopsticks are slippery to use, but overly square-cornered ones aren’t as comfortable to hold. We explored ways of increasing the surface area of chopsticks in the hand, as a way of improving holding comfort, and discovered the natural form of the pleated cross-section. When viewed as a cross-section, the chopsticks look like flowers, so a bunch of chopsticks kept together into a cup turns into a ‘bouquet’.
Udukuri: The traditional technique, in which materials clamshells, eggshells and gold leaf are applied with the lacquer then polished away to reveal a pattern is known as ‘togidashi’ (literally ‘to polish and show’), and is particular to Wakasa-nuri. Unlike patterns drawn by hand, this combination of processes allows patterns from nature to appear organically.
Sukima: The two chopsticks are carved into different shapes for all patterns but the diamonds, but it’s possible to use one of the diamond chopsticks as the top chopstick with a spade, or the bottom chopstick with a heart, for a total of four different patterns from the four different chopstick pairs. The carving made the chopsticks so thin that they weren’t strong enough with wood alone, so we embedded a carved aluminium core in the wood to solve the problem.
Rassen: Chopsticks ordinarily come in pairs, but the rassen chopsticks are a single unit. They’re separated into two for eating, then rejoined into one form when not in use. We used the artisans’ hand skills and a multi-axis CNC miller to create these unusual chopsticks.
Jikaoki: The firm’s expert artisans carefully carved away the chopsticks’ tips to fine points, so that they float above the tabletop when the chopsticks are laid down for cleanliness, even without chopstick rests.
Kimiai: We put a gap on one of the four sides of the square shaped chopstick, and embedded a magnet, so that the two would snap together in one piece when they are flipped and fitted to each other. We placed the magnets towards the outside of each chopstick, so that the chopsticks don’t come together accidentally while someone is using them to eat.
We at Epistrophy love Nendo’s continual dedication to reinventing everyday objects! Previously featured here for their new look at cutlery, this time around the Japanese studio has taken up on a even more challenging task – rethink the ancient old tradition of crafting traditional chopsticks. With true passion and attention to the subtlest of detail, the process behind the conception of the new utensils is just as interesting as the final exquisite products. We can’t wait for these to come out in stores! The project was done in partnership with the Japanese manufacturing company Hashikura Matsukan.
Via Nendo’s website.