Ikkoan is a stunning book created by Tokyo-based architect and creative director Ryusuke Nanki that celebrates and explores the charming beauty of wagashi – a traditional Japanese confectionary that is often served with tea.
With Nanki taking the lead on artistic direction and editing; design by Hiromi Irisawa; art direction by Kazunori Kawagoshi and photography by Makoto Horiuchi – the book showcases a collection of amazing, artisan treats created by Chikara Mizukami, the author behind Ikkoan (which is, in fact, a shop) and celebrates 40 years of his creative career.
Nanki states: “We perceived wagashi as a tiny landscape, being nostalgic of Japanese gardens, as they both describe the seasons abstractly. A book depicting the beauty of wagashi should be something akin to architecture hiding a small garden inside it – so it was meant to have an architectural aspect.
“The process started with attempting to come up with a way to reproduce the unusual texture of Mizukami’s. The uniqueness of his wagashi is in its visually smooth and transient surface, which turns to silky, crisp flavours when tasted. Starting off with trying and comparing hundreds of white paper with typical wagashi dough, we finally found a paper ideal for defining Mizukami’s confections. On the cover of the book, the title logo is embossed on the delicate paper, accentuating the softness of the texture.”
An original case was specifically designed to go with the book. The material is paulownia, just like the traditional gift boxes for wagashi.
Nanki told: “Using a common type of wood for wagashi gift boxes, we explored a whole new form for the bookcase. After trial and error, we concluded on a book case that separates into small pieces, inspired by the geometric design of the title logo.
“Each of the elements – wagashi depicting the seasons, a book representing wagashi’s excellence, and an intricately designed bookcase – are perfectly designed, giving birth to a book with the feel of serene Japanese architecture carrying a lovely garden inside it.”