When I was at school I received the ‘Golden Spanner Award’ for metalwork. Then when I was 19 years old I worked in an ironworks in Padua, Italy as an apprentice, before going to College to study Industrial Design Engineering. Since then I have visited many Ironworks across the globe: America, Europe, Myanmar, South Africa, Afghanistan, India and China. Never though have I visited one as inspiring as Sugiyama, where the raw black iron goes in one end, and beautiful, stylish products come out the other. It takes a huge amount of skill, thoughtful design and meticulous effort to make ironworks as beautiful as Sugiyama do – they create true works of art.
We have a simple workshop in London which enabled us to mock-up many of the prototypes for our collaborative designs, before sending our drawings and photos to Sugiyama for sampling. When we went to Gifu to see the results, we were thrilled; they were better than we could have hoped for! That’s an amazing thing about working in Japan – in my experience people tend to be very thoughtful and meticulous so they often get it right first time. Everyone in our studio is excited about ordering these pieces for their own homes. I for one will definitely be getting the coat stand and the shoe bench!
Located in Seki, a city famous for its long history of craftsmanship and metalwork, Sugiyama Seisakusho has been in metal fabrication since 1962. Originally producing parts for automobiles and railroad vehicles, today they use their skills to design and manufacture iron furniture.
The entirety of the production process, from design through planning and fabrication, is carried out in house by craftsmen who carefully make each item by hand. Sugiyama believes that their process allows the purity of the material to take centre stage.
The ‘Kanji collection is a celebration of the beautiful graphic nature of formed iron rod. Each piece was designed to serve a useful function in the home, while bringing the elegance and purity of Japanese aesthetics to any interior setting. The experienced craftsmen at Sugiyama Seisakusho begin with simple rods and plates of iron, and slowly coax them by hand into the unique pieces of the collection. Their attention to detail brings the material to life in these useful and elegant objects.