While gathering potential factories and workshops to visit on an upcoming trip to Japan, I stumbled upon Fujita-Kinzoku, a small family-owned iron factory in Osaka.
Besides the fact that they’ve been making frying pans since 1951, what caught my eye was their more recent collaboration with TENT, a Tokyo based design duo comprising Ryosaku Aoki and Masayuki Haruta. Aoki and Haruta pride themselves on coming up with designs that are strong, not like the strength of a stationary building, but strong like the flexible strength of a tent.
JIU, which is a Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound of frying, is not a new concept but a beautiful example of Dieter Ram’s philosophy, “less, but better.” Surely, using the frying pan you just cooked in as a plate is an age-old device employed by everyone from broke college students to campers. However, TENT’s design is startlingly fresh and unique. Made of high quality cast iron, the dish is designed for both the making and eating of food. The linchpin of the design is the beach or walnut wooden handle constructed to easily clamp onto and be removed from the dish with one hand. Put it on when you want to cook. Take it off when you want to eat. Just remember cast iron gets very hot… so make sure you have a trivet-like placemat!