It’s very rare to find vases that complement flowers in such a distinctive and imaginative fashion.
Japanese craftsmanship is often hailed as among the most thoughtful, committed and meticulous in the world. But this approach to design does not only apply to modern products and technology – there is a deep and rich history of artistry in areas ranging from sword-forging to textile making, lacquer painting, and much more. But one company is synonymous with the art of metalwork – NOUSAKU. For over a century, this company’s brass, bronze, and later, tin, products have been among the most revered on the market.
Established in 1916, NOUSAKU began as a manufacturer of Buddhist altar fittings, tea sets and flower vases, and quickly became reputed for its casting ability. What distinguishes NOUSAKU is its focus on ‘Nou’ (skill) and ‘Saku’ (creating), and applying unmatched attention to detail while balancing both hand and machine work for steps ranging from melting to casting and finishing.
The bendable tin can even become a wine bottle holder – create depending on your need.
Today, just as it is celebrating its centennial, the company is still family-run. Its current President and CEO, Katsuji Nousaku, was pivotal in shaping the trajectory of the company, and leading it into the domestic market; NOUSAKU now makes everything from incense stands to flower vases and wind chimes. He is also responsible for NOUSAKU’s commitment to using pure tin. While the metal work market at large often uses an amalgam of materials to provide better sturdiness, NOUSAKU prefers products to be simple and organic – pure to its roots. By using special silicon molds, NOUSAKU offers a line of tin products that are incredibly graceful and unique in its industry.
Why keep tin pure? First, it is an antibacterial metal and doesn’t easily rust. It’s the perfect vessel for liquids such as water and sake, whose flavors are softened due to tin’s ability to remove bitterness. Second, it is incredibly flexible, allowing for NOUSAKU to create a wide variety of shapes and designs that can be bent at will. So, for example, one can purchase a pure tin tray and subsequently bend it into the shape of a basket.
Artisans at NOUSAKU painstakingly performing their craft. This includes melting pure tin.
According to Ms. Yuka Nagasawa of NOUSAKU, they have drawn interest from the European market, especially from high-end hotels and Michelin starred restaurants. In the United States, the brass products by NOUSAKU have been much more popular –including the best selling Wind Chimes and Flower Vases that one can find at the WAZA store on the lower level of Manhattan’s Kinokuniya.
Every item from NOUSAKU appears flawlessly designed – brass vases balance a robustness that comes from the metal with an elegant shape that makes them much more ethereal. Tin items are equally expressive and beautiful – from accessories to sake cups, and beautiful bowls, each presents a quality of delicateness that elevates each piece to a work of art. The sake cups in particular, smooth on the inside and shaped like the animals of the Chinese Zodiac on the outside, are truly whimsical products that are both functional and decorative.
The WAZA shop displays a robust selection. Seeing and touching items in person is a must.
The next time you are looking for the perfect addition to your personal menagerie or a special gift for the design conscious person, NOUSAKU will add a new dimension to anyone’s collection.