RAKU TEA-TABLES << previous | next >>

The raku tea-tables are joyful furniture pieces which combine very different traditions, whilst at the same time, managing to be contemporary thanks to their playful form and unusual combination of antique elements.


Each single piece affirms aesthetical and functional balance of apparently disparate ideas, materials and techniques, having Eastern as well as Western origins. The small hexagonal tables are handmade: using white raku ceramics, light and resistant carbon fibre, different kinds of wood and Italian 19th century table legs. The singolarity of each piece is determined by the antique objects used and the individuality of each raku tile.


Raku ware originates from the 16th century in Japan and was primarily used in the tea ceremony. After the opening of Japan in 1853, the Raku technique became known and modified by contemporary potters worldwide.


This type of ceramic is known for its unpredictable patterns caused by the firing process. The fired raku piece is removed from the hot kiln and allowed to cool quickly in the open air, water or snow. To compensate the atmospheric difference between wood-fired Japanese raku kilns and gas-fired American kilns, the use of a container filled with combustible material was introduced in the 1960s that, when closed, creates smoke in order to develop and evidence the typical “cracked” surface.


Snow, fire and wood. These are the elements, incorporated in this series.



The ceramic tiles on the tabletop show “burned” drawings, which are inspired by the microphotographs of snow crystals taken by the scientist W.A. Bentley. He photographed his first snowflake under a microscope in 1885 and during almost half a century the x-ray specialist found not just a few crystal varieties, but many hundreds of forms, all based on a common hexagonal pattern. He published more than 2000 microphotographs of snow crystals in 1931 revealing the wonder of nature’s diversity in uniformity: no two are alike. Exactly like the Raku ceramics – no two are alike.



Lastly, the idea of “man” can be found in the stance of the tables. They all arise differently on four, three or fewer legs expressing the sense of “walking” or continual growth. The acceptance of coincidence and destiny is part of the spirit of Raku, which means, by the way “enjoyment”.


Concept: Nat Wilms | Design: Nat Wilms & Andrea Zambelli