Okinawa Tourism Information:[Part2of2]CreatingaWarmandWelcomingWorldwithSolidMaterialsatLittaiMetalWorks

[Part 2 of 2] Creating a Warm and Welcoming World with Solid Materials at Littai Metal Works

post : 2018.12.23 07:00

The bookshelf shown above is one of the most popular items produced by Littai Metal Works as introduced in the first part of this series.

Kenji Nakachi of Littai Metal Works, uses iron, stainless steel, aluminum and other inorganic metal materials to create industrial pieces that somehow manage to add warmth in our every day lives. With his artistic sense and skills as an artisan, he brings together his sense of beauty and technique to create a world that’s difficult to describe with words.

“The feel of the material stands out and the design keeps it true.” This is a review by a photographer, speaking of the bookshelf which has almost no decorations for flair and is the epitome of minimalism. The degree of perfection displayed by this bookshelf wouldn’t surprise me if it were displayed at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York) which has a collection of creations from around the globe with excellent designs.

Mr. Nakachi creates the installations for a bookshelf.

A creation that looks like a skeletal sample of an extraterrestrial is complete within minutes.

The frame is made of iron rods that are 13mm in diameter and the round bar that functions as a weight to keep the books upright are all made from commonly used standard steel products. Kenji explains with a smile, “I enjoy putting the steel together and shaping it into completion.” He reminded me of a slow-food chef, creating the best dishes using ingredients attainable here and now.

“The best part about this product is the feel. Because of its simplicity, it took many tries to really get to the shape that I wanted. I made several simplified molds, too,” Kenji explains. He said he then tried adjusting the bottom angles and the are unit for the best finish.

Kenji also worked to keep the natural gloss as much as possible. Initially, he polished the joints like commonly seen bookshelves, but upon closer look, you can see the intentional rough finish, left there for the ‘hand-made-ness’ of the item. On the corners of the curves are black leather pieces that seem to be peeling, which also adds to character. He uses a hydraulic press machine made in the 1980s for the processing, with which he can adjust the angles by the amount of pressure.

The bookstand was initially created as an installation art, and it’s been six years since he started selling them. Once in a while when he feels that fun sense of adventure, he says he creates a formative design by connecting and piling several of them. So the bookshelf doesn’t necessarily have to contain books in order, and with a little imagination, you may find an interesting way of using them, too.

Kenji passionately says, “Like with handle bars and doorknobs, they get that unique shine after being touched by many hands. I really enjoy seeing the changes that the pieces express over time.”

The lathe and drilling machinery that he uses to create his work are not new; they’re from the 1950s. They definitely are tough machines, but there’s also a sense of human warmth to them as well. Very similar to the warmth one feels from Kenji’s products. Kenji continues his pursuit of defining the beauty, allure and nature of his steel materials. Aside from bookshelves, he creates coat/clothes hampers, hooks, shelf rests and other practical, yet wonderfully beautiful pieces that continue to attract the users and their timelessness is truly appreciated.


Littai Metal Works
Address: 1-5-26 Akamichi, Ginowan City, Okinawa
Telephone: 098-893-8218
Business Hours: 9:00-18:00
Closed: Sundays

Bookshelves and other works by Littai Metal Works are also available at:
MIX life-style

Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Nobuya Fukuda