Arita x Nobu 01.04.16

Arita Nobu

The birthplace of Japanese porcelain and the famed restaurant join forces for dinnerware that serves up a different aesthetic with each course

To mark its 400th anniversary, the porcelain industry in the Japanese town of Arita has embarked on an effort to secure its future, working with international designers and brands to create products that appeal to contemporary buyers. Scholten & Baijings, Tomás Alonso and Studio Wieki Somers are among 16 practices presenting new items made in Arita at Salone in Milan, but the latest collection from the region was devised not by a designer, but by a chef: Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, founder of global restaurant chain Nobu.

The range aspires to capture the essence of ‘wa’ – Japanese for harmony – but, rather than striving for a consistent aesthetic, each item is designed to suit its function within a Japanese meal. ‘We wanted to make a dish for each course,’ Matsuhisa says. The cobalt-blue sake set mimics the shape of traditional bamboo carafes, which are difficult to export, while the sushi dish is bright red, as is typical when serving sushi – again, Matsuhisa had to settle for white ones when first opening restaurants outside Japan.

The sushi-roll holder allows hand-rolled sushi rolls to be displayed like a bouquet of flowers, while the matcha bowl is coloured using a traditional mix of glazes. The hot-pot vessel is made from a mixture of heat-resistant soils, allowing it to be placed on an open flame. Several items – plates, bowls and the sushi-roll holder – feature a distinctive red dot, referencing the rising sun on the Japanese flag. Matsuhisa says of his work with the potters of Arita: ‘My wish is that this is just the beginning.’

 

Words

Debika Ray

 

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