Marc Newson Sharpens his Design Skills on $300,000 Japanese Swords.

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Tokyo-based studio WOW enlisted designer Marc Newson, and a team of veteran woodworkers, blade-smiths, and lacquer specialists to create ‘aikuchi’, a near-perfect sword that epitomizes the expertise of the long-established japanese craft. Limited to an edition of 10, these $300,000 Aikuchi swords are a contemporary art piece that is the culmination of a Japanese sense of beauty, traditional craftsmanship and innovative design.

Marc Newson Aikuchi

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The art of Japanese sword making, has a history dating back more than 1000 years, and is considered the height of traditional Japanese craftsmanship. Not only the blade itself, but the entire piece including all the decorative sword fittings, is a work of art and is now drawing much attention from a legion of dedicated fans and art collectors the world over.

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WOW, Inc wondered how they could add a more global perspective and bring a new look to an art piece that is the absolute pride of Japanese culture. With this goal in mind, WOW invited the world famous designer; Marc Newson to join the project.

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Working tirelessly together through much trial and error, they eventually were able to accomplish the mission and complete aikuchi to perfection at last. “Aikuchi” does not incorporate a “lower guard” into its design, and is therefore considered by some people to be more of a “lucky charm” than a weapon.

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The name aikuchi was chosen for this project to highlight the tight coupling between the sword, handle and scabbard, and also to draw attention to the fusion of two different cultures.

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The Concept:

Aikuchi is the first product which WOW has produced completely and comprehensively from initial conceptual design to finished product. If you’re interested in purchasing one, it will cost you approximately $300,000 USD.

In Making Movie (shown below), Marc Newson visited Tohoku in order to meet HIDEHIRA NURI (URUSHI LACQUER) Craftsman: Yuya Sasaki, IWAYADO TANSU (CHEST) Craftsman: Koichi Oikawa, Carrozzeria MODI and YAMATO DEN (BLADE) Craftsman: Saburo Nobufusa Hokke. He talked about various inspiration from this Tohoku journey:

Creative production credits:
aikuchi Design: Marc Newson?Marc Newson Ltd?
aikuchi Production ProducerL Okisato Nagata?EXS inc.?
Urushi Lacquer: Yuya Sasaki?Ootiya?
Case Maker: Koichi Oikawa?IwayadoTansu?
Blade Supplier: Saburo Nobufusa Hokke and Saburo Eiki Hokke
Scabbard Maker: Seiichiro Osaka?Osakaya?
Hand Guard Engraving Processing: Hiroaki Nakayama?Shiroganeya Yusui?
Hand Guard Dyeing Processing: Kotaro Yamaguchi?Yamaguchi Kyujo Co.Ltd?
String Maker: Hatsumi Umehara?Showen Co., Ltd?

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WOW Tokyo

images and information courtesy of WoW, Dezeen, Nobi, Spoon & Tamago and Supertouchart

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