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Freeze Fired

From The Works of Living World @ STARNET ZONE (Mashiko, 2005)

Pottery pieces made by freezing and then baking Mashiko clay: it all began with the idea dreamed up by a friend, designer Takeshi Ishiguro.


The glass case contains earthenware plates fired in a frozen state. All three different kinds are made from clay still extracted at Mashiko.


The crystalline patterns like those visible on ice appear on the clay, in a perfect example of natural design. They seem like they would melt away at a touch.

Ishiguro is a designer who used to work for IDEO San Francisco, and in Tokyo was also on the staff of Naoto Fukazawa. He struck out on his own in 2002 to set up a business making things, what I guess you’d call a design office.

For him, designing and engineering are inseparable. There is no particular order to the way he works, in terms of planning, or ideas, or trial and error. Come to think of it, perhaps trial and error comes first. In any case he likes trying things out; that seems to just be his nature.
Takeshi Isihguro(Interview in pingmag)

Ishiguro exhibited a prototype for a particular cup at the Ecodesign 2004 show at Tokyo’s Living Design Center in June 2004. Asked to provide ecodesign suggestions, he hit on the idea of making a “amazingly light ceramic container”, and ended up using freeze-drying technology.

His pieces did not come out like this simply by freeze-drying before firing, but by following an exhaustive process of trial and error.
Even the works on display here were only brought along the day before the show was due to open.

From the moment we were shown the prototype cup, we were fascinated by the ice patterns spanning its surface. We just couldn’t take our eyes off them. So we decided to ask Ishiguro if he could make something for LW using his method.

A plan was made to exhibit something at the materials level for a start at the Window exhibition in 2005, and three two-dimensional pieces were displayed, each with a different frozen pattern.

It’s earth but it’s frozen. Almost as if time itself has done so.

with Takeshi Ishiguro(Takeshi Ishiguro Design Office)
Production assistance: Hideki Takayama (Takayama woodworking shop)

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