As the name suggests, the Takaoka is the first dining table with brass legs created from the casting technique of Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture. It was an unprecedented experiment to use brass for the legs of a large table, although metal casting was partially used to make parts. We believe it is the largest furniture ever made in the history of Takaoka casting.
Large original molds and casting molds are required to produce sand-type brass casting, which requires an enormous initial investment. A high degree of precision is also a key element in furniture products. Although Buddhist altar fittings and Buddhist statues made with Takaoka casting are complex in their figurative decorations, making furniture calls for different elements than previous casting products, such as precision in products and joining parts. Another challenge was brass’s flexibility and bending strength because the specific gravity of brass is greater than other metals, and brass is softer than steel when taking movability into consideration. After overcoming several challenges, we researched the best design to maximize brass in gold color.
We needed to instill an unprecedented impression while retaining the Japanese appearance that lives up to the name Takaoka, where the traditional foundry industry has been handed down from generation to generation.
The young presidents of a casting manufacturer and a mold manufacturer and the youth industrial organization in Takaoka supported our challenge and agreed to cooperate in the production. Through exciting debates, the production steadily advanced. We would not be able to create something new without people who carry on the tradition. We take pride in inheriting traditions, but also in generating a new tradition created by integrating an industry rooted in the community and our new ideas. Takaoka is a memorable product that opens new doors to production. Without this brass table, we could not create other products, such as cabinets made with our current lost wax method, metal casting sofa parts, and bronze products.
This memorial product also opens doors to new products for Takaoka’s foundry industry. The realization of products requires shared directionality and focused ideas among the designers, producers, and distributors. From there, with their strong desires, each person shares product ideas to complete products through a trial and error process.
Takaoka’s brass casting legs consist of four casting parts, including the support, triple leg tips, crosspieces that contact the floor and connect the left and right legs, and the support that connects the tabletop and legs. Artisans fill a metal box with special sand, which easily solidifies. The density of the sand varies by experience because highly accurate, precise products cannot be made without perfect density and hardness. Even when pouring molten metal into a sand mold, the phenomenon of deformed metal called pulling results if the metal is not placed in the appropriate opening section for pouring. In this way, the metal cannot reach each corner of the sand mold. Artisans also need to know the metal characteristics and the difference in specific gravity for brass, copper, aluminum, and iron, which requires experience across the board.
Takaoka’s legs have thicker support pillars to hold up the thick, heavy solid wood tabletop. Also, the back of the wooden tabletop has curved grooves, and the hardware for connecting the legs to the wooden tabletop is made of brass to prevent the tabletop from warping when placed with precision. The leg tips stick out in three directions to support the table in six directions for additional stability.
The edges of the brass legs are chamfered to add roundness to each surface of the four-sided legs so that the soft appearance coexists with the Japanese elements. The small surfaces of the thick solid wooden tabletop are also chamfered to infuse details that link the design of the legs. Brass’s discoloration and corrosion, along with the aging of the wooden tabletop, both show the advancement of time. They synchronize with each other to stamp time on the table. We designed this table for a beautiful appearance when handed down to subsequent generations in the decades and the century to come.