overview

MOOD
Friendship
Culture
Japanese
Tradition
Luxury
DELIVERABLES
Research
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Product design
Packaging
Illustrations
3D visualisation

About

This packaging design was for a limited edition of premium Japanese saké, that combines modern and traditional elements. We designed the package itself to create a unique opening experience.

Creation Process

Take a look at the details of each step during the research, prototype and design phase.

The first step was searching in traditional Japanese art. After hours of reading and listening to the knowledge of people born in Japan, we got deep enough into their history and culture. For example, did you know that saké bowls in the past were made of pumpkin? Or that the Japanese kept small items in boxes decorated with the "kumiko" technique? Or that the broken porcelain was not thrown away, but instead, repaired with gold using the "kinsugi" technique to create its unique story? There were so many fascinating traditions. All of these curiosities, that we came across, confirmed, how essential the art is for the Japanese culture and at the same time, we have built an excellent foundation for the prototyping phase.
Several concepts emerged during the prototyping phase, including more complicated bottle designs, inspired by the art of "Origami" [see below]. However, they appeared too modern and did not fit into our traditional concept. We decided to design a bottle, that is commonly associated with saké. We promptly applied the idea of creating saké cups, which form a complete set together with the bottle. Two cups in a set represent a friendship, which offers the opportunity for another target group - a customer who buys a gift for the loved one.
The final product is a portable wooden box with a traditional ceramic saké set. When decorating the packaging and ceramics, we drew the traditional Japanese art elements on. We unified them into a modern minimalist presentation. The illustrations on the walls are based on the conventional wood paintings and the gold glaze was inspired by the Japanese "kinsugi" technique. The airtight cap is used to reuse the bottle and store the unopened product. Of course, there is a visible certificate of authenticity of the original saké as well, created from the highest class of local rice. It is the details, such as the magnetic locking of the package via an intuitive lock, that together with the entirety, create the perfect experience.
Rōzu

RGB 141 52 50

HSL 1 48 37

#8D3432

It is well known that in Japan, red is the national colour of the sun. That is why we used it as a contrast point for elements, which should catch the user's attention.

Gōrudo

RGB 211 162 118

HSL 28 51 65

#D3A276

The colour is inspired by softwood and the traditional restoration technique "kinsugi," during which the porcelain cracks are repaired with gold. The pottery repaired in this way gets its unique story.

Kiri

RGB 220 221 221

HSL 180 1 86

#DCDDDD

Hokori

RGB 164 165 162

HSL 80 2 64

#A4A5A2

Mokuzai

RGB 101 99 91

HSL 48 5 38

#65635B

Suna

RGB 193 185 164

HSL 43 19 70

#C1B9A4

Challenges & Solutions

Ceramics’ safety

The wooden box for a set of cups contains a soft pillow. Together with the individual stands for each cup, they prevent any unwanted movement during the transport. The packaging includes a special soft filling for the safety of the ceramic bottle.

Locking the package

We have designed a locking mechanism, that visually fits into the thematic style, does not unnecessarily complicate the production and remains intuitive for the user. Locking is based on the principle of Japanese puzzles. The click after opening, thanks to magnets on both sides, provides a satisfying feeling.

Transportation

The solid construction and a square floor plan form the basis of the packaging, from which nothing sticks out. This allows more convenient transport, more efficient use of storage space, while maintaining the elegant design. We simplified the transfer, by adding the elastic fabric on the top of the package.

Art of kumiko

The uniqueness of the box lies in the decoration, using Japanese "kumiko" art. Precise stacking of the shredded wooden pieces, fitting together with a maximum accuracy, creates the specific patterns.

This technique requires a dose of precision and patience, so just like the art of "bonsai", it becomes a meditative activity. Therefore, it is clear why the art of "kumiko" fits into our design philosophy and tradition used in this project.

The pattern used for the box, called "kakuasa," is one of the most famous in the art of "kumiko". This pattern also includes a hemp leaf, which is a traditional Japanese design element. It is said, that folding the letter in a square brings stability of happiness, and that the sum of all triangles protects against evil.

Source