Archetype of rice bowls


日本品牌「THE」,由「Good Design Company」創辦人水野學,以及「中川政七商店」社長中川淳共同創立,以「We study the past, Think about the present, and Create the future」為理念。「THE」相信產品設計是一個循環,即使是被時代淘汰的產品,稍後又會以改良的面貌呈現於人前,而始終會有一種作為模範的樣式存在。在這裡,品牌的目標是藉由與廠商和工匠的合作開發,主動投入生產者角色,一邊勾勒出物品的原型風格,一邊進行改造增減,以創造出各樣新的模範、新的經典。

「THE 飯茶碗」發想自品牌與陶瓷職人的對談,說到飯碗在歷史上本來有固定的雛形設計與比例,卻於當代環境中漸漸失落。「THE」於是以人體工學為起點,重新考察人的手型、大小,以及端起飯碗時的姿勢,訂立出最佳的弧線造型,以及闊12公分、高6公分的標準尺寸後,分別交給了日本的五大陶瓷產地來燒製,他們分別是佐賀縣的有田燒、京都府的清水燒、滋賀縣的信楽燒愛知縣的瀬戸燒及栃木縣的益子燒;而由於材質、技術及釉薬各不相同,儘管同是以白色的外觀為基準,卻仍然煥發著迥然不同的形相和手感。



The concept of “archetype”, when used in design, generally refers to the original style of various kinds of objects. For example, despite the dazzling varieties of cups or bowl and plate sets available in the market, you can gradually discern a pattern among them as you accumulate life experiences. You know fully well the characteristics shared among the same type of products, or their universal feature.

Jointly established by Manabu Mizuno, founder of Good Design Company, and Jun Nakagawa, president of Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten, THE is a Japanese brand with the following motto: “We study the past, Think about the present, and Create the future”. THE believes that product design is a cycle. Even products that have fallen into disuse over time will make a comeback in their improved form after some time. In addition, there will always be a style or form to be modeled on. With regards to this, the brand aims to take up an active role in the production process through joint development with manufacturers and craftsmen. By sketching the outline of objects’ archetype while remoulding through addition and subtraction, the brand intends to create various new models and new classics.

The idea of THE RICE BOWL emerged from the dialogue between the brand and ceramic artisans. The dialogue touched upon a fixed prototype in the design and ratio of rice bowls which has gradually faded away in the contemporary environment. In view of this, THE uses ergonomics as a point of departure to re-examine the shape and size of hands, as well as the way the rice bowl is held, and then came up with the best curved design with a standard size of 12 cm in width and 6 cm in height. This design is then handed over to Japan’s top five regions for pottery ware production known for their distinct styles, namely Arita ware in Shiga Prefecture, Kiyomizu ware in Kyoto prefecture, Shigaraki ware in Shiga Prefecture, Seto ware in Aichi prefecture, and Mashiko ware in Tochigi prefecture . Even though they all use white as their base color, they still differ totally in style and texture.

“The Shigaraki bowl can be used to go with ten cereal grain and brown rice, the Kiyomizu one with red rice, as for Arita ware, since it has the cleanest outlook, it is best suited for white rice,” explained the owner of the shop when I first found this set of rice bowls. Just as changing seasons can elicit different emotions, the tiny differences in the hues of utensils should also have a key impact on the flavors of food ingredients
and dishes.

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Hong Kong