At Housekeeping we were immediately drawn to Kinto tableware as we share the same values. Through their products they capture the essence of slow living, their ethos is to imagine the scenes that enrich your life to develop and bring you products with genuine creativity and thoughtfulness.
As makers they value the balance between usability and aesthetics, aspiring to create products that stand by you in your everyday life. They continue to seek inspiration from moments and stories held precious by the users, working to create products which will inspire and give fulfillment with every touch and use.
Product Designer Shin Azumi
What do you keep in mind while designing?
The first thing is that it is comfortable to use. The next thing is that it lets people who see and touch the product imagine daily scenes that are exciting. I believe that the sense of fulfillment people gain from objects which are comfortable to use is universal. And by staying true to this, an object can become something truly valuable in someone's life. When designing housewares, I like to leave a sense of openness so that the design is completed by the users using it and incorporating it into their lifestyles. When I work, I always imagine the daily life scenes where people feel comfortable and at ease.
What did you pay attention to when designing TOPO?
Some of the tasks were to achieve a form that is functional yet soft and an overall design that feels relaxed because of its irregularity. Particularly, the teapot fulfills functional elements but I also gave it a unique character. The design evolved as I was thinking about how it would sit on the table−eventually a rodent-like form came to my mind. The form is not just cute but has a good balance of strictness and charm, and it has a unique deformed look. There may be some influence from Haniwa (Japanese historical clay figurines) which I personally like.
How did you realize the design from your images?
I made sure that the unique form is not just a display of playfulness, and that functional elements are integrated into the design. For example, for the tea pot I paid attention to things such as the flow of tea, the relationship between the hand and the pouring movement, the details of the lid and air vent holes. Other items also inherit the characteristic form of the teapot and was developed according to their particular functions. Also, we adopted a specific method of molding that is not commonly used to produce porcelain pieces. As a result they are seamless and the character of this series was strengthened.
How did you achieve the asymmetrical design and functionality?
The center for the form is slightly shifted to give a relaxed look and at the same time elements were added to make the items functional. The area of the mug where the handle connects to the cup is large enough so that the fingers fit comfortably. The cup is not perfectly circular and is slightly deformed to give balance to the overall form. I personally like how my thumb sits on top of the handle when I hold the mug. Also, the center of the plates are slightly shifted to the side and the shapes are deformed ovals. For example on the tea cup saucer, this lets you place your spoon, sugar, or small treats beside the cup. As it is also true for the cake plate, the slightly elevated rim creates a soft expression and makes lifting the plate easy.
- Shin Azumi -
Shin Azumi established the London based design company 'a studio'. Working with a variety of clients on consumer products, furnitures, lightings, electronics and audio equipments, his works have gained worldwide recognition and has been added to the permanent collection of many museums such as the Victoria & Albert Museum (UK), the Stedelijk Museum (Holland) and the Die Neue Sammlung (Germany). Awards include Good Design Awards, Classic. Innovation Award, and Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2009.