A Modern Metal Craftsman
It may seem an unlikely combination, but craftsmanship, design and engineering skills all came into play to create these unique tumblers. From Japan, meet a veteran, metal man, and tumbler designer Takuji Horie, whose curiosity, determination, and specialized metal-work skills combined to create vivid colors from titanium. Titanium itself has unique properties, but to know what to do with it and how to do it would take expertise, skill and persistence. Enter Mr. Horie.
Mr. Horie's chance encounter with the rainbow metal all began one day when a cheeky neighbor came by his shop with an odd sheet of titanium metal and a request for a garden planter. But titanium was an unfamiliar metal to him. "To be honest," Mr. Horie admits, "at the time I didn't know anything about titanium!" But, Mr. Horie's curiosity was piqued. He produce that planter and, in the process, discovered a very unique, untapped, underappreciated, and extraordinary aesthetic quality of titanium: The ability to take on amazing color only from light itself.
Mr. Horie continues to be the only metal-craft company in the world to have mastered this difficult, color-by-light technology. As Mr. Horie himself often says "the only one!"
Off to the Olympics!
For Mr. Horie, titanium for manufacture and metal design holds tremendous,aesthetic opportunities in addition to the Living Color Tumblers. Eager to explore other designs for the rainbow metal, Horie was quite receptive when approached for a new and exciting project across the ocean: The 2012 London Summer Olympics.
The 2012 Summer Olympics in London presented a fantastic opportunity for Mr. Horie to showcase years of effort and work to perfect capabilities for design and coloring with titanium.
Known as the “Stratford Shoal Sculpture”, this glittering forest of titanium "leaves" was a collaborative effort of designers and manufacturers including Mr. Horie, to create a captivating, visual greeting to the tens of thousands of visitors heading to the Olympic Park in the summer of 2012.
The 250-meter sculpture is a spread of steal branches topped with 73 giant “leaves” of titanium that change as the light passes, shines bright and fades in the passing day reflecting to warm reds, yellows, blues and greens. The changing effects of the colors in different light, in fact, were one of the reasons the designers chose titanium as this reflective and changing color quality gives the effect of movement - as if the large leaves were blowing in the wind. This large, colorful sculpture still greets visitors to the area today.
Mr. Horie’s own story, together with his company in Tsubame City in central Japan, is intimately entwined with the history of an area where metalworking dates to the Edo Period back some 400 years. Here metal work began long ago in the area starting with the production of nails. This area is known as a center for metalware production in Japan. It is also world-renowned for metal craftsmanship such as hand-hammered copper work, hand-forged products and the manufacture of products using state-of the art-technology.