Translucent Japanese porcelain, custom-mixed for warm, ambient lighting.
Durable + Heat-Resistant
High-density clay — extremely strong and resistant to both heat and stains.
Over 400 Years of Tradition
In 1616, a Korean potter, Yi Sam-pyeong, first discovered porcelain stone at the Izumiyama quarry, setting off a series of events that culminated in Arita becoming the first porcelain manufacturing center in Japan.
The town of Arita is located in the remote south of Japan, on the island of Kyushu, in a rural area of exceptional natural beauty. Further to the south sits the town of Hasami, also famed for its ceramics. Skilled Arita craftspeople have been producing porcelain for over 400 years.
Today, due to a global movement toward cheaper and faster production, less than 100 potteries of varying sizes remain. In early 2021, we were introduced to a little-known network of Arita potteries merging ancient Japanese craftwork with cutting-edge industrial technology. Intrigued by the mixture of old and new, and East and West, we began a dialogue about potential collaborations. Word Table Light II is the first such collaboration.
Our first partner in Arita is a family-run pottery named Riso Porcelain. Founded at the former residence of the legendary Yi Sam-pyeong, the pottery is led by Shinji Terauchi, a fourth-generation porcelain craftsman who carries forward his family’s heritage.
Riso Porcelain was established in 1930. While it still uses the techniques of old Imari ware (often referred to as Nabeshima style), the fourth-generation pottery was one of the first in Arita to adopt digital technology.
From traditional fine-dining tablewares to contemporary art pieces, Riso uses the latest technology to enhance the precision of traditional Japanese craftsmanship. Highly skilled craftspeople work side-by-side with 3D digital experts and 3D modeling machines, making it possible to produce almost anything in Arita porcelain.
Designed by Studio Word in Seoul, Korea
In designing Word Table Light II, Studio Word was inspired by the graceful manner of simple Doric columns. Dating back to the 6th century B.C., Doric is the oldest, and simplest, of the three classical orders of Greek architecture. In a subtle twist on the traditional Doric column’s wider base, Word’s base is strictly cylindrical. The light’s surface is fluted, both on the stem and the head, producing rhythmic, rippling shadows even while unlit.
LightCorp successfully mocked up a 3D-printed shell and confirmed the fit and function of the LED base module. Based on preliminary testing, the light was also tentatively shown to pass tip testing for UL certification.
LightCorp reports that a functional prototype of the internal component will be complete in mid-January. An interim external shell will be 3D-printed to allow LightCorp to iterate on the internal component before the shell from Riso Porcelain arrives in late January.
The artisans at Riso Porcelain are building the mother mold. This is the first step in the mold-making process.
While this is happening, 3D printers are being used to create a physical, carbon-copy replica of the design.
The mother mold will be built around the 3D-printed part, encasing the shape and defining the slip cast mold. This will begin in January.
LightCorp is finalizing the design of the internal electrical housing, which is almost ready to be 3D-printed.
Arita is a small town in Saga Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu. It is the birthplace of Japan’s porcelain ware.
Arita porcelain was initially exported to Europe in the mid-17th century by the Dutch East India Company and became highly sought after by European royal houses. Dutch traders referred to it as ‘white gold.’
Today, Arita potters continue to use the same, pure Amakusa clay that was first discovered in Arita by a Korean potter in the early 17th century. Although porcelain has traditionally been thought of as a fragile material, modern-day porcelain is surprisingly durable. Arita porcelain is purer and harder than other porcelains, which allows smaller wall thicknesses and sharper rendering of details.
Amakusa clay is a porcelain clay consisting of quartz, potassium, kaolin and feldspar (or nepheline syenite). Made from stone found on Amakusa Island in Kumamoto Prefecture, it is crushed and ground into a fine powder, then washed to remove impurities, resulting in an exceptionally pure porcelain clay.
There are three grades of Amakusa clay: (1) Super-White (Eri-jo), considered to be the highest quality; (2) Mid-White (Eri-chu), standard in Arita; and (3) Off-White (Eri-ge), less popular in Arita. Word Table Light II is made using the highest grade of Amakusa clay.
Nabeshima style porcelain is considered the most refined porcelain in Japan, and holds a special status in Japanese porcelain history. Traditionally, items in this category were never sold, and were exclusively given as gifts to the shogun, high-ranking officials and court members.
Slip casting (Haidei Ikomi) is a production technique used to create hollow pieces, such as vases or light shades. Liquid porcelain clay is first poured into a plaster mold. The plaster absorbs the liquid from the clay, which forms a hardened layer inside the mold. Once the desired thickness is reached, the excess liquid is poured out, leaving a hollow interior.
Glazed Arita porcelain has a very white and glossy appearance that sets it apart from other earthenware. When the light is off, it will resemble a small sculpture.
Even though it may look opaque, the light will emit a warm, diffused glow when turned on.
A standard, medium (E26) base LED bulb can be used.
We are opening up individual orders of Word Table Light II to Alaska, Hawaii and Canada. International shipping is available for bulk orders (5+ units) only. Additional shipping fees will be charged, and international customers will be responsible for applicable customs duties, fees or taxes.
If you are not located in the continental U.S. and would like to place an order, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can assist.
We expect to start shipping in spring of 2022.
Shipping dates are the best estimates we have at this time and may fluctuate. We do not allow cancellations, due to the batched nature of orders. Each light will be made specifically for you.