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issue 19 | June 2021
Suzuri – what we might call inkstone, is a tool used for grinding inksticks into ink for the purpose of calligraphy. Ogatsu-Suzuri, in particular, is made from Ogatsu stone found in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, and has a history and tradition of 600 years dating back to the Muromachi period (1336-1573). The stone is pure black, resistant to compression and bending, and has a low water absorption rate – the properties that are not altered by chemical action or aging. Geologically, Ogatsu stone is a hard, black slate found in Kitakami Mountains belonging to the Permian period (230 million years ago).
The beautiful black, rich in luster, and smooth surface of Ogatsu stone fascinated even the Shoguns, or the military dictators, of the time so much that they banned people from collecting stones from the mountain where Ogatsu stone was found. Ogatsu stone’s perfect balance of roughness and fineness, hardness and softness, combined with the artisans’ crafts skills, produces a fine inkstone. The diligent carving skills of inkstone craftsmen and the traditional handmade manufacturing method that still continues today, produce inkstones with grains of super quality.
Ogatsu stone has also been useful as a building material since the Meiji era (1868-1912) and has been used in many buildings, retaining the same beauty even today. Ogatsu stone is resistant to aging and has been thus used as a roofing material for many buildings, both Japanese and Western. Today, plates made of Ogatsu stone are also gaining popularity because of the simple color and texture of the stone complementing even the dishes served on these plates.
The first product in the Fugu series was a lounge chair. Jasper Morrison designed it with a goal to achieve a level of comfort with a solid wood seat and back so that no upholstery is needed, maintaining the pure lines and the expression of a single material purposefully arranged. The seating comfort is the result of Maruni’s cutting edge technology of carving out solid wood.
Now, the Fugu family has extended to lounge chairs, lobby chairs, and dining chairs.
Fugu chairs with their sleek lines, yet radiating comfort and warm simplicity, blend in well with any ambience.
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