• Japanese candies
  • Sfera Furniture
  • 2008

After designing the five storey Sfera Building in Kyoto, the Sfera showrooms in both Tokyo and Milan and several pieces of furniture, lamps and accessories for the Sfera Furniture collection we felt confident to solve the next assignment.

Most people have heard about sushi, manga or martial arts. But perhaps a less well known Japanese cultural expressions is the country’s craze for sweets. In its perhaps most traditional form a kind of handcrafted coin-sized cookie. A beautifully wrapped box of these is a popular gift. A little token of appreciation for your client or host. And this was exactly what we were asked to design for Sfera.

It proved very difficult. It was clear that the Japanese treat these sweets with the same reverence as the Italians do with their pasta. After three fully devoloped design proposal being turned down with comments such as ”they don’t satisfy the feeling of the tongue”, we put all in on the forth one.

Knowning the Japanese passion for gardens we took inspiration from the gardens of the painter Edouard Monet in Giverny, France. This is where he made his famous impressionist paintings of waterlily ponds. Two designs, one green tea flavoured leaf and one plain white flower, were mixed in the gift box and together made up an abstract waterlily pond.

The cookies are hand made by master craftsmen in Kyoto. The shapes are carved into wood boards where the paste is then manually moulded. Traditional moulds include heraldic or religious symbols. The cookies are without artificial additives and their taste is surprisingly subtle. They are often consumed accompanying the tea ceremony.