⟨ Craft ⟩

A Place to Go Back.

KiKiKi

Words / Elva Pang
Translation / Ian Tsang

森林充滿了原始能量,在德國流行的森林教學,以森林為課室,孩子在大自然裡探索,枯葉、石頭、樹木和草地都成為了教材,訓練孩子的感官,感受大自然的能量。對現代人來說,雖然生活中有許多木製品,但是森林仍是如此的遙遠。設計師込山宏美偶然在一個新的建築工地工作時,忽然傳來一陣香氣,後來發現是工匠在砍伐樹木,樹木發出濃烈的香氣。她想,這獨特的香氣也許就是樹木最原始的魅力。因此,她找來松葉製作所合作,以不同的木材製作出鉛筆及削筆器,把木材的魅力重新展現出來,更因此而獲得DFA亞洲最具影響力設計獎的金獎。

把鉛筆放進削筆器裡,輕輕地轉動,這動作看似簡單平常,但在込山眼中,卻是在雕刻木材。薄薄的鉛筆碎片像一朵花,經過細心地調較闊度和厚度,由刀片雕刻出蓬鬆、美麗,並擁有不規則木紋的花瓣。花瓣留在削筆器上,發出幽幽的木香。合上眼睛,靠著氣味,想像置身於森林之中,感受大自然的原始能量。

Forests are full of original energy. Forest education, which is popular in Germany, turns forests into classrooms where children explore in nature. Dead leaves, stones, trees and grasslands all become teaching materials, training children’s senses and letting them feel nature’s energy. To modern-day people, even though a good many wooden products can be found in life, forests still seem so far away. When Hiromi Komiyama, a designer, was working at a new construction site, she was suddenly greeted by a fragrance. Later on, she found out that the strong aroma originated from the trees being cut by craftsmen. She thought to herself that perhaps such a unique fragrance is the most original charm of trees. Therefore, she collaborated with Matsuba Factory in using various kinds of wood to manufacture pencils and pencil sharpeners in order to display afresh the charm of wooden materials. The design has also won DFA Design for Asia Awards 2019 – Gold Award.

Putting a pencil inside a sharpener and turning it slowly — such an act looks simple and ordinary, but in the eyes of Hiromi Komiyama, it is an act of sculpting wood. Each thin pencil shaving resembles a flower. After width and depth are carefully adjusted, the blade shaves off fluffy, beautiful flower petals in irregular patterns. Petals rest inside the sharpener, emitting a waft of faint wood fragrance. Closing your eyes, you follow the smell, imagining that you were in the forest, feeling nature’s original energy.

OB: Obscura
K: KiKiKi

OB:可以分享名字「KiKiKi」背後的意思嗎?標誌上的圖案很有趣,有什麼意思嗎?

K:KiKiKi的日文寫法是「木聞器」,讀上去就是「KiKiKi」。木是指樹或木材、聞是氣味或是聲音,而器則是器皿。也就是說,KiKiKi是盛載木香的器皿或是杯子。加上,在日文裡,「森」是指森林,是由三棵樹木所組成的。因此,木聞器是一份森林給予的禮物,也傳遞了森林的祝福。

OB: Can you tell us the meaning behind the name “KiKiKi” ? The  logo is quite interesting, what does it mean?

K:KiKiKi is written in Japanese as “木聞器” and is read and pronounced as KiKiKi. “木” means tree or wood, “聞” means savour taste and sound, and “器” means container or cup. In other words, KiKiKi is a coined-name that means a container for savouring (scent, sounds, etc.) trees. In addition, the Japanese word “森”, which means forest, is made up of three trees (= 木). This product is a gift from the forest and has the meaning of receiving the blessings of the forest.

OB:可以說說鉛筆和削筆器的設計嗎?

K:我們希望透過產品讓人知道樹木的吸引力,不只是外表,而是從本質上的特徵來了解樹木的魅力,而且不同種類的樹木都擁有獨特的香氣。樹木發出最濃烈香氣的時候,是對樹木纖維施加外力時,例如伐木工人在森林中砍伐樹木的時候。我們以一種詩意和懷舊的方式重新設計,把削鉛筆的一刻,轉化成削樹木一樣。

當用家在削鉛筆時,削出來的美麗鉛筆碎屑伴隨著香氣,設計便完成了。我們把這動作成為設計的其中一個過程,削筆器把香氣帶到鼻子,好像使用小茶杯來喝茶一樣,放在桌子上,並看著它一會兒。

OB:Can you talk more about the design of the pencil and the sharpener? 

K:This product aims to let people know the charm of trees, not by the physical aspect but by more essential features. A characteristic of tree among natural materials is that it has a unique fragrance. Moreover, it depends on the tree species. The moment when a tree emits the strongest scent is when an external force is applied to the fibre of the tree, like the moment when a lumberjack cuts down a tree in the forest. We have redesigned (or converted) that moment in a poetic and nostalgic way, shaving a tree is like shaving a pencil. 

The design is completed when the user shaves a wood and beautiful shavings are created along with the fragrance. Our design includes a process of actions that the sharpener can be carried to the nose as if drinking tea in a small tea cup, and be placed on a desk and look at it for a while.

OB:不同的木材有什麼作用?怎樣選擇適合自己的?

天然的樹香有許多保護樹木的功效,也能為人類帶來很多好的影響,例如有提神、放鬆身體和療癒心靈的效用。有些樹木散發出甜美柔和的香氣,有些樹木嗅起來濃郁芬芳,讓人感到耳目一新,甚至以為不是天然樹木發出的香氣。我認為隨心地挑選自己喜歡的氣味就好,也可以隨著心情去享受它,不用想太多。另一方面,用家也可以根據場合去使用它,例如早上使用有提神作用的日本柏樹(Hinoki)、在工作中感到疲倦時,可使用日本樟樹(Kusunoki),而日本杉樹(Sugi)則帶來放鬆的效果,適合在小休或是睡前使用。因此,我們可根據心情、場合和時間來選擇適合的香氣。

OB:What are the functions of different types of wood? How to find the suitable wood for myself?

K:The component of natural tree fragrance has many functions to protect the tree itself, but it is well known to give also humans good effects such as refreshment, relaxation and healing. Some trees have a sweet and soft fragrance, while others have a strong and refreshing fragrance that you can’t think of as a natural tree. I think that it is also good to find your favourite scent casually and enjoy it according to your mood without thinking too much. But if you want to use it more according to the situation properly, here are some examples: “HINOKI”, a Japanese cypress, is suitable in the morning for awakening; “KUSUNOKI”, a Japanese camphor tree, is suitable when you are tired at work or when you want to get an inspiration; “SUGI”, a Japanese cedar, is suitable for relaxing at break or before sleep, etc. There is a suitable scent depending on your mood, condition, and time of day.

OB:你想從作品中表達些什麼?當中有什麼重要的元素?

K:我們一直尋找一種方式來表現主題和物品的優點,並視此為挑戰 。從不同角度作考慮,如材料、功能、科技和背景等,並著眼於它本來的吸引力、精髓和可能性。我們嘗試用最簡單的想法來創作,展示它有著讓人愉悅的一面,還有新的發現,並帶著一點玩味。

OB:What do you want to express through your works? What is the most important element(s) in your work?

K:We are always challenging to find a way to draw out the goodness of subject and object that we design. To consider from various angles, such as material, function, technology, background etc. and focus on fundamental attraction, essence, and possibilities of it. We are trying to create things with simple idea as much as possible, and present them to people which have something with pleasure, new discoveries, and a little playfulness.

OB:你和鉛筆之間,有沒有一些有趣或難忘的故事?

K: 當我還是一名小學生時,學校規定我們使用鉛筆。 或許只有我是這樣吧,我削鉛筆之後,會把鼻子靠近筆尖,可是我只能嗅到鉛的味道。使用顏色筆時,我也會嗅嗅它的筆芯,但也只是不同的筆芯氣味。進入初中後,我開始使用自動鉛芯筆,。這就像是成長的印證,初次使用自動鉛芯筆時,我感到很奇妙,好像代表著向成人的道路又踏進了一步。可是,在此以後,我不自覺地不再嘗試去嗅那筆尖。隨著成長,許多人都追求生產力和高效率,可是,我們都知道人類的情感成長和創新不是來自生產力和效率的。

削鉛筆的時候要轉動鉛筆,削走碎屑,相比按動自動鉛芯筆花時間和力氣。雖然看似浪費時間,但同時在滋養著我孩童時的單純好奇心。我認為現在忙碌的成年人需要時間來感受自己是大自然的一部分。

OB:Do you have any interesting or memorable stories with pencils?

K:When I was a primary school student, my school rule was to use pencils. It may be just me, but after I sharpened the pencil, I smelled the tip of the pencil. I could feel only a scent of lead though. I smelled the coloured pencils as well, but there were different scents. After entering junior high school, I started using mechanical pencils. It’s like a kind of passing ritual, and the use of mechanical pencils at that time made me feel a special feeling as if I was a step closer to an adult. However, I no longer tried to smell the scent unconsciously. As we grow up, many people have to put themselves in an environment that demands productivity and efficiency. However, it is also famous that human emotional growth and innovation are not born from productivity and efficiency.

Sharpening a pencil generates shavings and takes more time and effort than one push of a mechanical pencil. However, the seemingly wasted time was the aspect that nurtured my pure curiosity as a child. I think that today’s adults who are busy every day need time to feel that we are a part of nature.

OB:「家」和「自然」對你來說代表著些什麼?

K:一個讓人回去的地方。

OB:What do “Home” and “Nature” mean to you?

K:A place to go back.

OB:工作上有沒有下一個計劃?會否設計更多香氣木製品?

K:是的,我們對未來已經有了一些想法,但它不是著眼於木材的氣味。我們從木聞器這項目中得到了新發現和一些新的想法,為我們於不久將來推出的新產品帶來設計靈感。

OB:Do you already have a next project in mind? Are you planning on designing more scented wood products?

K:Yes, we do. It’s not focused on the scent of wood. However, there were discoveries through the KiKiKi project for us too. There are also new ideas gained through this process, and inspired the new products we will design in the near future.