What happens to all the tableware that gets chipped and cracked during production? Most people would throw those imperfect pieces away, but not Yusuke Seki. The Tokyo-based designer transformed 25,000 defective bowls, plates, and cups into an elevated showroom floor for the Maruhiro ceramics flagship store in Hasami, Japan. The site-specific installation, which is sturdy enough to walk on, was created to honor the region’s long history in ceramic tableware production that dates back to the early 17th century.
Hasami ceramics are characterized by their simple and minimalist geometry and their modular and stackable design. Seki’s installation pays homage to Hasami’s heritage by giving the discarded pieces a new life. “Collected here,” writes the designer, “the stage is not only a representation of “Monohara”, the name given to the kiln-side specific areas where dispose its broken pieces on firing process, existing solely in Nagasaki, which have accrued these imperfect pieces for approximately 400 years—an archaeological mille-feuille of the long industrial history of this region—but also creates a sense of reverence for this history, conveying the fragility of the each individual item, engineered together to inspire and cultivate respect for the legacy on the whole.”
Seki created the installation by filling the imperfect tableware to the brim with concrete and then carefully stacking them like bricks to form a sturdy and walkable surface, accessible via a small brick staircase. All 25,000 pieces of flawed tableware—called “Shinikiji” in Japanese—were sourced from local producers, who discovered the defects after the initial firing process. Minimalist wood tables and displays set atop Seki’s installation showcase the shop’s glazed Hasami wares.
Via Spoon & Tamago
Images via Yusuke Seki