YMD - Stainless

Metal working in Tsubame, in Niigata Prefecture, employs a world- famous technique with a tradition of more than 350 years. This refined technique requires processes of more than 30 steps--even for a spoon.

History / Challenge

"Every industry has its own common sense, and that has to be mutually understood. Anybody can turn a drawing into a product, but what's most important is discovering how far you can take the designer's concept, how accurately you can translate it into quality. Maintaining that quality through to the final product was a struggle; we lost 300 pieces in a run of 1,000."

--Takanori Oyanagi, president, flatware manufacturer Tsubame Shinko Kogyo

Process

Unlike conventional flatware, which consists mainly of curved surfaces, the Y.M.D. stainless is all planes. This means that if the piece is even slightly scratched in polishing or is polished unevenly, the damage is immediately apparent. The rounded edge of the unconventional Y.M.D. knife demands special attention in production.

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Awards

These products have received the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization's (JIDPO) Special Good Design Award, and are in Munich, germany's staatliches Museum fur angewandte Kunst and the Israel Museum's permanent collections, and are sold at MoMA as well.