[ Wrought Iron ]
When I first started working in Hokkaido, I began to make a lot of fireplaces and stoves, which help make the long winter more pleasant. People gather around a fire, of course, and so old Japanese houses were centered in a sunken fire pit. In the Ainu language, fire is Ape. A sunken fire pit is "Apeso." In Apeso, people can gather around the fire to read, sip wine, and roast marshmallows.
In order to better match each hearth to its space, and bring out its individuality, we made wrought iron hearth covers. We put together design sketches and decided the iron's forging style, texture and color to match the wrought iron to each space's concept. The wrought iron work we do is often quite large and dynamic, but the pieces feel oddly warm and familiar up close. I believe this is because of the sense of hand work behind each one.
Our long-time partner for wrought iron work is Bloom Iron Factory. Since these are all so large and heavy, it can be difficult to install them on site, but we carry out each installation after detailed negotiation of each site. That tension is also another one of the pleasures of making things.
Installing the hearth at Onuma Tsuruga Auberge EPUY.
Onuma Tsuruga Auberge Epuy
Epuy means "flowers and seeds of the trees.” The wrought iron branches reach out toward the heavens like hands holding up the ceiling. Ainu patterned flowers and lamps hang like seeds from the branches.
Jozankei Tsuruga Resort Spa MORI NO UTA
This hearth is in the lounge of a resort hotel built on the theme of "Wonders of the Woods." The small branches are adorned with tiny parts like seeds, and the whole is put together like a lace tree. We designed it to evoke the image of sunlight spilling through the branches as you look up from the forest floor.
Hokkaido Lake Shikotsu
Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa MIZU NO UTA
This hearth stands like a pillar in the vault-like lounge. The lounge is called Apeso, meaning sunken fire pit. This was the first hearth where we used a huge wrought iron objet d'art. The design was based on the image of a fire twisting up from the kindling like a whirlpool in the water.
HOKUTEN NO OKA Lake Abashiri Tsuruga Resort
The Okhotsk people were a shy, elusive tribe. However, in the faint traces they left we find images of Steller's Sea Eagles gazing down on the land and whales parting the seas. We applied Okhotsk patterns in making these wrought iron partitions. The strength of the Okhotsk tribe is evoked through the rough hammer marks in the iron.
Tokyo Higashi Ginza
Door handle.With a shape based on clouds in the eastern sky, the inside is enameled red. The entry was done in sacred colors with red accents.
Hokkaido Lake Akan
Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings
Looking toward Lake Akan, this was made like a Kamuy-nomi space, to offer up prayers. This wrought iron objet d'art is designed like a fire, and includes Ainu patterns.