The Rinzen Studio is based in Edogawa Ward of Tokyo, just steps from the Arakawa River with its dark blue water and wide green riverbanks. Historically, the river has played an essential role in the development of the growing Edo area and today remains a major source of tap water for the sprawling Tokyo metropolis.
The neighborhoods around the studio today are largely low-rise residential; however, the area continues to house handicraft businesses, including makers of cut glass, as it has for over a hundred years. Nearby, Tokyo Skytree towers high above, bringing a modern outlook to the surrounding artisan culture and its enduring traditions.
Constant Innovation of Cut Glass Techniques
The early history of cut glass in Japan revolves around Edo Kiriko, a style originating in Tokyo. It is considered to have started in 1834 when the owner of a glass wholesale firm in Edo first began engraving glass using abrasive emery sand. From that humble beginning, Edo Kiriko progressed notably when the government invited a British cut glass engineer in the Meiji period, as Japan looked outward for new ideas. Edo craftsmen quickly absorbed modern British technology, including rotating disks rather than metal files for cutting glass.
Edo Kiriko was produced solely with transparent glass during the Meiji period, although the famous Satsuma Kiriko style had already introduced colors. When the production of Satsuma Kiriko abruptly stopped late in the 19th century, many unemployed craftsmen migrated to Edo, bringing their specialized techniques for color-coated glass to the Edo Kiriko world.
Rinzen, also known by its formal name Tokyo Glass Studio Rinzen, was launched by a group of passionate craftsmen in 2021. In a very brief period, Rinzen has established itself as a well-respected studio in the cut glass world. They aim to build a new distinctive Rinzen Kiriko brand that blends classic and modern approaches using unique designs and colors. Rinzen proudly proclaims that “there is no history here, only quality.”
A New Approach for a Fresh Direction
Rinzen is transforming the traditional world of cut glass with a new modern approach that brings beautiful Rinzen Kiriko glassware into our everyday life.
Rinzen craftsmen have developed an exciting design approach layered on traditional cut glass methods. Adding more cuts to a traditional pattern makes a simple design more impactful. Combining modern shapes with a traditional pattern creates an eye-catching fusion of styles. And etching intricate patterns into a glassware base brings enjoyment while peering inside the glass as you drink.
The stunning use of color also helps to distinguish Rinzen Kiriko. Their collection includes not only classic colors such as crimson and indigo but also vibrant shades of orange and blue that are rarely seen elsewhere. Another striking aspect of their creations is the remarkably smooth transition between colors, bringing subtle elegance to their products.
The craftsmen at Rinzen have organized their production to ensure consistent quality. Unlike many studios where a single craftsman must perform a broad range of tasks from initial design to final polishing, Rinzen craftsmen become experts at a single task. This process leads to more reliable quality since a product is produced by a team of experts with deep experience in each task.
Dancing with Magical Light
Rinzen craftsmen use a secret hand-polishing technique, so their creations sparkle like a fine jewel from any viewing angle. Products are expertly polished by hand rather than using chemicals that may damage delicate patterns. This polishing technique is significantly more time-consuming but ensures a brilliant finish with crisply defined edges that sparkle brightly under any lighting conditions.
Rinzen Kiriko glassware can complement any tableware setting, whether a formal dinner party, a regular family meal or a casual gathering of friends. Over time, as lighting changes, the character of the glassware, from color tones to light reflections, will also change for a dramatic effect that people are sure to notice. And glassware can also become a stunning table centerpiece by adding a bright flameless candle to illuminate the beautiful colors and patterns.
Rinzen Kiriko products can also bring a relaxing calm into your private moments, whether you are drinking from glassware, admiring a vase, or wearing a fashion accessory. The attractive patterns, beautiful colors and twinkling surfaces create a mesmerizing scene that will quickly focus and settle your mind.