Okinawa Tourism Information:LITTAIMETALWORKScreateaworldwithasoftheartfromsolidmetal(Part2)

LITTAI METAL WORKS create a world with a soft heart from solid metal (Part 2)

post : 2017.03.24 07:00

This is the bookshelf that I introduced you to at Part 1 at


Kenji Nakachi from LITTAI METAL WORKS creates things with heart from metals such as iron, stainless steel and aluminum. He has forged his own world from his sensibilities and the artistic techniques of a pro.


“Original materials can be a big part in his art pieces,” a photographer once said about the bookshelf. “He doesn't try to hide the material with designs.” In fact, Nakachi avoids decorations as much as he can, preferring extreme minimalism. I would say his designs could be displayed at the Museum of Modern Art.


Nakachi is improvising the bookshelf assembly.


This piece that looks like skeleton from outer space was completed within minutes.

He uses 13mm iron rods for his frames and ordinary steel for the round weights that support the shelf. “It is fun to combine several different metals to make things,” said Nakachi. He is like a chef who creates extraordinary food out of whatever’s available.


“I wanted to show the expression of the metal,” said Nakachi. “Several trials and errors were made to reach this point because of the very simple design and the material. I have also made several metal molds.” He experimented with different angles and the size of spheres on the bottom parts.


He likes to leave the original texture materials on his creations. They look store bought at a glance, but I can tell it is handmade by the joins. The roughness is intentional. The curved edge is tastefully separated from the black shell. This press from 80’s is used for shaping. The angle can be changed using pressure.


It’s been six years since the bookshelf came up for sale after its assembly. Once in a while Nakachi goes wild with his artworks and commits himself to making different things. You could certainly use this bookshelf for much more than its original purpose.


“I enjoy the changes in the character of materials as time goes by,” said Nakachi, happily. “For example, a door knob gets shinier through years of human touches.”



His metalworking machinery such as lathes and drills are from the 1950’s. The old machines have the same warmth that I felt in his products. Iron should be Iron. Nakachi pursues the original charm of all the materials he works with. Other than bookshelves, coat hangers, hooks or shelf supports are available. He has been making practical and mysterious objects, all the while treasuring the effects of time on the materials.


Address: 1-5-26 Akamichi, Ginowan City, Okinawa
Tel: 098-893-8218
Hours: 9:00-18:00
Closed: Sunday
Bookshelves and other works from LITTAI METAL WORKS are available at:
MIX life-style

Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Noriya Fukuda