Encounter with Nambu Iron
Makoto Hirose is a metal molding artist, and a designer for Nambu ironware which is Iwate’s representative art. He studied design in Tokyo and was working as an industrial designer. But he always thought vaguely that it wasn’t quite right. During that time, he saw an iron kettle exhibited at a craft corner in a department store by chance. That was how he met Nambu iron.
”During those days, I was wondering if I can really continue this.” said Hirose. He was learning the basics during the apprenticeship, and at night he would create his own pieces. He designed a plate and brought it to a manufacturer and got it produced. After repeating this, one of his plates won the Minister of International Trade and Industry Prize at an exhibition. Hirose looks back on those days and told us, ”That pushed me to go forward. I was able to think that this was the right thing to do.”
Design with warmth
Hirose is working as a designer for designing pots and tableware made with Nambu iron. For example, a pot that doesn’t look like a pot because the handle is hidden. He is challenging new designs that did not exist in the past. Even with the color, there are not only black but gray, the color of the metal itself, and by applying pigments, it is possible to create any color you want. When we asked what he is concerns himself with when designing, he replied, ”You cannot avoid the image of iron being cold. So when I think about the design, I think about adding warmth to the iron ware.”
Listening to the people who use them
His wife acts as the authority advisor when Hirose designs the iron ware. There are ”pieces” that are made to show at exhibitions, but originally, the pots and plates are ”daily products”. You have to weigh in the opinion of the people who use them since it is used daily. He never forgets the point of view of ”using” while he is thinking about the design and how it looks.
- Studio Hiro, Makoto Hirose
- Yahaba-cho, Shiwa-gun, Iwate Prefecture