In the misty mountains of Hida, Japan, Freyja Sewell completed a residency at the newly renovated Fabcafe, a 100 year old ‘Minka’ town-house where locals can enjoy great coffee and access to fabrication tools such as laser cutters and 3D printers. Freyja channeled her love for natural materials and local production into a small set of life accessories including a drip coffee maker, tablet stand and desk set.
The new cafe and residency represents the first phase of an initiative put into place by Hidakuma, which was established last year. Over 90% of Hida is occupied by heavy forestation. But with older generations left without successors the forests are at risk of falling into disrepair. And local woodworking techniques like kumiki (joints) face being forgotten. By engaging with local designers and woodworkers, FabCafe Hida is part of a sustainable strategy to maintain the usage of Hida’s rich resource. Freyja made use of this local network to design and create her products. Each is made from a different local hardwood, celebrating the deep forest and ancient timbers.
Firstly the Mokuzai Coffee Maker, inspired by the small wooden boxes used to measure rice and drink sake at celebrations. By quickly modelling the piece with 3D software Freyja extracted the exact angles to create a jig to easily cut tapered blocks which can be strung together to form a drip coffee maker. The coffee pot is made from locally hand blown glass. It uses standard filters and aims to take the place of the cheap, mass produced plastic version for those coffee lovers who wish to enhance their coffee crafting ritual.
Secondly the Mokuzai Tablet Stand, inspired by one of Hidas most quintessential secrets, the beautiful joints, or kumiki, which find their foundation in the traditional architecture and building methods of the area. The Tablet Stand, which can be broken down quickly into three pieces, can support the tablet in either landscape or portrait and allows charging at the same time.
Lastly the Mokuzai Desk Set, for this Freyja took up sketches of her favourite buildings in Tokyo to create this memorative set of desk tools, created in time to work as a beautiful souvenir for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The paper-clip holder features a hidden pencil sharpener disguised as the iconic gold sculpture by Philippe Starck from the Asahi Beer Hall. The pencil pot derives its shape from the much loved Tokyo Tower, and the note and photo holder from Freyjas favourite building, the historical Nakagin Capsule Tower designed by Kisho Kurokawa in 1972.
Image credits Senoue Toshiki www.senouephotography.com