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April 5, 2022

Metal Craft News

Caring for the Environment with our Eco and Sustainable Building Materials and Paint Coatings

As the world faces increasingly serious environmental challenges, including global warming and air pollution, it’s clear that many clients are making choices about building materials based on how those materials can help to reduce their environmental footprint. Here, we introduce some of KIKUKAWA’s leading eco and sustainable metal building materials and paints.

■Sun-shielding louvres

Louvres installed on the top rise section of Faculty of Engineering Building 3 on the Hongo Campus of the University of Tokyo. The louvres are steel coated in zinc phosphate.

Rather than internally fitted blinds and curtains, louvres installed on the exterior of a building are more effective in shielding sunlight. By shading the building from direct sunlight, they prevent the interior building temperature from rising too high, thereby reducing the need for air conditioning and contributing to CO2 reduction and a lower energy footprint.

Project Gallery: The Faculty of Engineering of the University of Tokyo

■Expanded metal

Top: Expanded metal installed on the exterior wall of the Kikukawa Techno Plaza.
Bottom: The view from inside. A suitable level of natural light is able to filter through the expanded metal.

Expanded metal is formed by stretching out cuts made in metal sheets, meaning there is none of the loss or scrap that arises with punching. The area of the processed material is also greater than that of the original material, which has led in recent years to considerable interest in expanded metal as an eco-friendly material.

KIKUKAWA’s technologies – Expand Metal Louvers

■Powder coatings

Powder coating is a process in which static electricity is used to spray finely ground pigment onto the target surface. The powder is then heat-cured to form a coating. This technique helps to reduce the burden on both the environment and workers in the following ways:

Mitigates air pollution: does not contain organic solvents, in the form of volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are the cause of photochemical smog

● Reduces loss: has a high adhesion rate in comparison to organic solvents

Protects the health of workers applying the coating: contains no VOCs, which are the cause of sick building syndrome.

Samples of powder coatings, used on the Arts Maebashi building, displayed in KIKUKAWA’s showroom STUDIO K+. We also have a range of other powder coatings, including those with stone-like and wood grain-like effects.

Project Gallery: Arts Maebashi

We recommend powder coatings to finish both punched and expanded metal louvres. With standard paint coatings, it can be difficult for the paint to reach all of the holes in punched panels, or cuts in expanded metal. Powder coating, however, ensures that the paint adheres consistently across all parts, leaving a thick and even coating. In addition, our high weather resistance polyester powder coating is considered equivalent in performance to our fluororesin coating, and is regularly used to finish exterior materials.

Project Gallery: Search by Finishes: Powder Paint Coating

A courtyard featuring expanded metal finished in a powder coating. The functionality of the material allows both air and light to filter through.

Materials

During machining, to minimise material loss, we use machining programs to cut out all parts from metal sheets. During manufacturing, we recycle everything we use, from small scrap (metal shavings) to metal building materials which are being removed from a site as they are no longer required.
We have also taken part in a project to upcycle aluminium materials as decoration for commercial spaces. Through this project, aluminium retrieved from 700 series Tokaido Shinkansen cars was reborn as eaves designed to resembled noren (traditional fabric curtains), and installed in Tokyo Gift Palette, a shopping mall inside Tokyo Station. See the link below for more details.

News: Release: Bullet Train Upcycled as Interior Decorations for a Mall, Tokyo Gift Palette

We are also developing a range of other eco building products, including solar LED street lights and solar power generation equipment. Please get in touch if you are interested in choosing eco and sustainable building materials.

Click here for our online inquiry form

January 19, 2022

Metal Craft News

Expanded Metal: A Highly Versatile Architectural Material

Expanded metal is sheet metal that has been processed into a mesh-like structure. KIKUKAWA’s expanded metal imparts a strong feeling of solidity, achieved by widening the openings of the mesh. It offers both functionality and style and can be used in a wide variety of settings, from exteriors to ceilings to partitions. Since expanded metal is formed by stretching out cuts made in metal sheets, there is none of the loss or scrap that arises with sheet metal punching, and the area of the processed material is greater than that of the original material. As a result, expanded metal has been gaining increasing attention in recent years as an eco-friendly material.
Below, let us show you some examples of how this versatile architectural material has been used in projects.

Expanded metal forms an undulating 3-D mesh-like structure. Workable base materials include aluminium and stainless steel, and a variety of finishes can also be applied, including painting and anodization. This image shows aluminium expanded metal finished with urethane resin baked paint in white

■ Exterior Use
In exterior settings, expanded metal panels can act as louvers. Expanded metal offers a number of functions as an environmental building material: while its mesh structure ensures adequate daylight filters through, at the same time it provides ample blockage of sunlight and prevents indoor temperature increases.

Top: Looking up at an exterior cladded in expanded metal. Expanded metal panels have been fitted over the window panes.
Bottom: Looking down into the room. The expanded metal panels fitted to the outside of the window panes allow adequate light into the room.

Superlative functionality aside, expanded metal is also eye-catching, bringing a striking look to façades. The strand width, in other words the width of the metal strands between each opening, can be adjusted as desired; a wider strand width will result in a façade with imposing solidity, while a narrower strand width will create a softer look, closer to that of a fine mesh. The appearance of expanded metal will also change according to the angle from which it is seen and the time of day.

A mock-up of an expanded metal exterior panel. Using a double layer of expanded metal generates a Moiré pattern (interference lines)
When illuminated at night, the light that filters out through the mesh of expanded metal creates a dreamy ambiance.

■ Ceilings
“We want to remove the tiles to expose the full height of the ceiling, but we also don’t really want to show the light fittings and air conditioning units”. KIKUKAWA’s expanded metal ceiling is an ideal solution to this sort of client dilemma, a third ceiling option that incorporates the benefits of both suspended ceilings and open ceilings. Expanded metal provides adequate concealment of ducts and pipes, while the sharp and airy design works to open up the space.

Lightweight aluminium and hook fittings mean greater efficiency in ceiling equipment maintenance

■ Partitions
The characteristics of expanded metal also make it suited to partitions. As a material it boasts great ventilation and permeability, making it possible to ensure both adequate circulation and visibility. This can help to achieve comfortable interior environments. Expanded metal partitions can reduce the sense of oppression present in some spaces while still providing an adequate level of obstruction to lines of sight.

Expanded metal used in booth partitions in a shared office. These partitions delineate working spaces while still maintaining transparency
Expanded metal can also be curved. Here, by using a tight mesh, the partition has been given a lighter and airier look

In this way, expanded metal can be used in a variety of settings, and its look can be transformed depending on how this architectural material is processed and adapted.
At KIKUKAWA, we offer a fully made-to-order service that is bespoke to client needs or project requirements. We also offer the semi made-to-order KCT Series, which enables client who are unfamiliar with using metal materials to choose the most suitable option from a range of pre-determined patterns. Please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

See the links below for more details on expanded metal
Kikukawa’s Technologies – Expanded Metal Louvres

See the links below for examples of projects using Expanded Metals
Project Gallery – GMO hinata office
Project Gallery – PORTAL POINT HARAJUKU

January 6, 2022

Metal Craft News

Metal Finishes to Complement Wood-tone Interiors

In recent years, the construction industry in Japan has seen an increasing use of wooden building materials. While it is true that an interior space designed with only wooden materials will result in a very natural-looking environment, it is possible, through the incorporation of metal finishes, to bring touches of luxury and refinement.

Still, even if a client decides to introduce elements of metal into their interiors, the question remains of how best to match the inherent warmth of wood with metal, a material so often seen as cold, even severe. Here, we introduce a number of metal finishes that can work in harmony with wood-tone interiors by walking you through some previous interior projects featuring a range of metals, including aluminium, steel, and bronze.

The entrance wall panel and its logo mark, as well as the reception desk, are all finished in bronze

This is the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Tokyo Haneda Airport. The entrance wall panel and the reception desk are both finished in what we call FURUMI (meaning “antique”). The FURUMI finish is realized by the marriage of a traditional metal treatment technique and an original method developed by KIKUKAWA.

The look and texture of the end result is dependent on the base materials used and, for example, the weather conditions at the time the finish is applied. This is comparable to the way that no two pieces of wood will have the same pattern of grain running through them. The characteristic tonal effect brings depth and a sense of calm to interior spaces.

The logotype and logomark on the wall panel are finished in polished brass, giving them a golden shine which brings a palpable sense of luxury to the entrance.

The serving counter

The serving counter is also finished in FURUMI. By applying indirect lighting, the reddish tone of the closely illuminated counter gradually fades into black. It has a subtle feel that works perfectly with the walls, styled in teak. Over time, the tonal changes that will arise in the FURUMI finish can be savoured alongside the corresponding changes in the wood featured in this interior space.

Our FURUMI finish line-up. From left to right: using copper, bronze, brass
Wooden materials and brass samples on display in our sample showroom STUDIO K+

Click here to learn more about Bronze Finish Samples – FURUMI (sulfurized) finish

Let us show you another project, namely the library space of Taisho University’s Building 8, which features wall panels fabricated by KIKUKAWA. These panels, comprising double-layered punched steel, are strikingly finished in a metallic gold powder paint coating. The lustre of the punched panels is enhanced by the use of light tones of the oak featured in the shelving, desks, and stair risers.

KIKUKAWA’s wall panels installed in the library space. Indirect lighting brings the punched design into relief.

Next is the Akasaka Intercity AIR project, where we used a specific antique coating on the reception desk. This special-purpose coating, applied to a base material of steel, has a subdued, matte texture, which blends well with the wooden textures seen on the ceilings and walls. The same finish is used on the surrounding metal partitions. Thanks to a combination of the welding expertise of craftspeople and this special-purpose, antique-look coating technique, these design elements have been imbued with a character akin to antique handicrafts.

The central reception desk and a metal partition to its right
Reference image of similar finishes: antique bronze-style coatings (from the Metal Museum at our STUDIO K+ showroom)

Click here to learn more about Steel Finish Samples – Antique Bronze Paint

In addition to the special finishes introduced above, KIKUKAWA offers an extensive range of standard finishes which can bring a touch of luxury and style to any wood-tone interior.

Aluminium ceiling panels installed in a hotel front lobby

The ceiling panels installed in OVOL Nihonbashi Building feature a standard finish, in which an acrylic resin baked coating in black has been applied to a base material of aluminium. We were able to achieve a highly glossy coating, which allowed us to link the ceiling to the shine of the Mahogany-esque flooring material. This brings just the right amount of subtle lustre to impart a sense of luxury and of refinement to this interior space.

KIKUKAWA has a broad line-up of finishes in addition to those mentioned above. We are able to offer a seamless service in metal building materials, incorporating everything from fabrication to installation. Please free feel to contact us to discuss your requirements and ideas for both interior and exterior applications.

For further details on the projects introduced here, please see the following links:

KIKUKAWA’s Finish Samples

Project Gallery: Cathay Pacific Lounge at Tokyo Haneda Airport

Project Gallery: Taisho University’s Building 8

Project Gallery: Akasaka Intercity AIR

Project Gallery: OVOL Nihonbashi Building

November 26, 2021

Metal Craft News

Bronze Cube: Technology x Craftsmanship

KIKUKAWA is able to transform the visions and designs of our clients into reality by making diverse shapes and forms possible. We achieve this through our high-precision metal processing, which combines cutting-edge technology with highly-skilled craftsmanship. The bronze cube we will introduce below is a perfect embodiment of what we can achieve by bringing these two complementary capabilities together.

A bronze cube with indented and punched metal panels
A bronze cube with indented and punched metal panels
The cube on display at the Maison et Objet fair in Paris
The cube on display at the Maison et Objet fair in Paris

KIKUKAWA was invited to exhibit at the Maison et Objet fair in Paris in September 2021. In line with the fair’s theme of “innovative materials”, we used a range of advanced technologies to fashion 1.5mm-thick brass plates into a cube. We used 3D modelling to design our bronze cube, which was formed from 150mm x 150mm panels. Each of the cube’s six sides was indented and then punched with multiple holes. A clear coating was applied to each side to prevent oxidation and amplify the beauty of the base material.

(Left) Using incremental forming to create an indentation
(Right) Using fibre laser welding to form the 3D shape
(Left) Using incremental forming to create an indentation
(Right) Using fibre laser welding to form the 3D shape
Using a 3D machining unit to punch perfect circles
Using a 3D machining unit to punch perfect circles

■Cutting-edge technology
The indented shape was created using incremental forming, which is a dieless metalworking process. To punch perfect circles, we used a 3D machining unit capable of handling even indented surfaces to vertically drill 10mm diameter holes.
Next, in order to trim each punched metal sheet into a square (150mm by 150mm), we used a laser cutting device capable of the guided cutting of 3D shapes. Finally, in order to connect the six sides of the cube together, we used fibre laser welding, which achieves small beaded yet deeply penetrating welds with minimal heat-induced discolouration or distortion.

Click here to learn more about Kikukawa’s proprietary Incremental Forming technology
Click here to learn more about Kikukawa’s proprietary Fibre Laser Welding technology
Click here to find out more about Kikukawa’s Machining Brass technology
Click here to find out more about Kikukawa’s Fiber Laser Cutting technology

■Craftsmanship
Highly skilled craftspeople also worked on the cube, for example correcting any distortions arising from machining and finishing the corners after laser welding. This ensures a flawless end product.

The view from inside the bronze cube
The view from inside the bronze cube

We have produced a video documenting how the bronze cube was made. You can watch the video about our bronze cube here.

November 17, 2021

Metal Craft News

Phozinc Panels: Working in Harmony with Other Materials

The coating on Phozinc (zinc phosphate) finishes is formed by a natural chemical reaction, resulting in characteristically irregular patterns and shading. In exterior settings, this natural appearance blends seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, while in interior settings it is easily combined with diverse other materials while also working as a highlight that brings cohesion to interior spaces.

Let us introduce a project which made extensive use of Phozinc: the JR Yokohama Tower, completed in 2020. Phozinc and aluminium panels feature in the atrium, the lower commercial zone, and the office zone. These Phozinc panels were made from 2.3mm-thick steel that has been hot-dipped galvanized (immersed in a bath of molten zinc to form a layer of zinc) then phosphated (immersed in a solution to create a layer of microscopic phosphate crystals) to form a strong coating.

External column-type cladding panels. The Phozinc panels blend well with the oxblood-coloured tiles.

The octagonal panels used in the covered carriage way of the office zone impart a sense of grandeur and harmonise well with the warmth of the brick-style wall tiles. Eight Phozinc panels, each around W640mm x H3400mm, are used for each octagonal column. Despite it being difficult to control the shading and patterning of Phozinc when used with longer pieces, our expertise enabled us to rise to the challenge. The skirting board has been fabricated to fit with the gently sloping floor and is also finished in Phozinc.

Octagonal column panels in the covered carriage way of the office zone

The atrium, which is open up to the fifth floor, features Phozinc column panels. None of these Phozinc panels have identical patterns and tones, meaning they match well with the irregular texture of both the wood ceiling louvers and the wood grain-effect flooring, to further enhance the natural feel of the space.

Column panels in the atrium

KIKUKAWA’s Phozinc finish is available in three shades: light, medium, and dark. For the JR Yokohama Tower project, different shades were used for different features. The darkest shade was chosen for the atrium column panels mentioned above, to give emphasis to the space, while the column panels for the commercial zone are in the lightest shade to create a bright and breezy atmosphere. The appeal of this finish remains the same whatever the shade: a natural texture and superlative quality that simply cannot be achieved with paint.

Column panels in the commercial zone finished in a the lightest shade of Phozinc

Finally, let us show you the column and wall panels in the atrium at the entrance to the office zone, which have also been treated with Phozinc.  Here, the matte effect of the coating brings a sense of tranquility and sophistication to the space. They work in seamless harmony with the white and silver of the aluminium panels, while the dark shade gives an accent to the space. Notice the column in the left foreground of the image below: at the corner joints, the panels have been bent to fit, giving the impression of greater depth and weight in comparison to cut panels.

Office entrance columns and wall panels. The column panels, of which three are required to reach the height of the ceiling (approx. 7500mm high), with each panel measuring W1140 x H2500mm

In this project, we used steel treated with Phozinc, but similar finishes are available when using the lighter base material of aluminium, such as a special paint designed to resemble Phozinc finish. If you are considering using Phozinc or other special finishes, please consult with us here at KIKUKAWA.

July 28, 2021

Metal Craft News

Metal Relief Designs

Of all building materials, metal offers the widest range of design possibilities, since it can be processed most freely and combined with many other materials and finishes. At KIKUKAWA, we will devise the best way to turn ideas into reality by discussing with the designer and recommending the optimal solution to make possible artistic designs hard to achieve with sheet metal. This could mean casting for larger-lot productions or dieless processes such as machining for small lot productions.

A metal relief panel installed in an apartment building entrance
A metal relief panel installed in an apartment building entrance

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at a metal relief panel installed in an apartment building in Tokyo. The panel is installed directly opposite the communal entrance.
The panel has been produced by machining a 520mm by 520mm, 18mm-thick brass plate, then finishing it in glossy chrome plating.

The design evokes a section of water, onto which drops have fallen, creating multiple overlapping circles of ripples. Together, these four concentric circles create a raised geometric pattern.

The indirect light at the raised parts of the relief causes the transitional effects of the chrome plating’s sparkle to be further enhanced by the light and shade of the surroundings.

As this project was for a one-off piece, KIKUKAWA fabricated the plate using an NC processing machine. We converted the design data received from the designer into processing data, and selected brass as the material to be machined, in consideration of its optimal balance of hardness and softness.

Advances in 3D data mean that the designs we can achieve with metal are constantly evolving and diversifying, to include 3D designs and free-flowing curves. KIKUKAWA understands the increasing needs among our clients to use these designs as accents and highlights in small quantities in their projects.
Just as an extensive variety of designs can be achieved with metal, so too is there a variety of ways to achieve them. Please consult with KIKUKAWA, as we will be able to find the optimal solution for your design, regardless of lot size.

July 7, 2021

Metal Craft News

Exterior Panels in a Wooden Lap Siding Style, Fabricated Through Copper Sulfurization

As a building material, metal has a lustre and sharpness that can impart a sense of elegance and urbanity. It is still, however, considered a little cold by some. In reality, the impression given by metal as a building material can change dramatically depending on the chosen material and finish. Here we introduce an example of metal being used to bring warmth to a building, enabling it to blend as seamlessly into nature as a wooden structure.

Exterior panels with FURUMI (sulfurized) finish

The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko Resort has a wooden lap siding-style exterior that is actually rendered in metal. Sulfurized copper panels were carefully layered to recreate the appearance of a wood cladded villa.

The cladding-style exterior was recreated by installing copper plates in different shades in a random pattern

With KIKUKAWA’s FURUMI (sulfurization) finish, the final colour can be adjusted by fine-tuning the sulfurization treatment, making possible a wide spectrum of shades: from a light hue similar to untreated copper alloy to a rich, almost black tone. For this project, copper panels in three different shades were positioned randomly to evoke a natural texture. The balance of shades and positioning was left to the discretion of KIKUKAWA, so the manufacturing and installation departments worked closely to determine the number of panels to fabricate in each shade as well as the procedure for their installation.

Dark, medium, and light sulfurized panels with a lengthwise hairline finish
Copper panels are inspected on a flat surface at KIKUKAWA’s factory

The copper exterior, totalling some 5500m² in area, was created by overlapping copper panels, each with a standard size of H170mm x W1800mm and a thickness of 0.6mm. The lower edge of each panel was bent slightly outwards, giving it a downwards incline of 5 degrees. This was to give a sense of dimension, equivalent to that seen with overlapped wooden panels.

Fabricating a full-size mock-up of the window interface

In this project, sulfurization was used to recreate the effect of a wooden lap siding exterior, but other techniques for recreating wood effects also exist, such as wood grain painting. If you are looking for metal building materials that are outstanding in both workability and durability, please talk to us at KIKUKAWA. Whether it be sulfurization or another of the diverse range of materials and finishes we offer, we can develop the optimal solution for your needs.

Samples showing five comparative shades of FURUMI (sulfurization) finish.
KIKUKAWA’s Technology: click here to find out more about Sulfurization

Project Gallery: Click here to see The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko Resort

June 21, 2021

Metal Craft News

Layered perforated panels

Perforated metal products from KIKUKAWA combine both functionality and design versatility. They can also work as light-shielding louvers, thereby helping to lower the environmental burden. At KIKUKAWA, by bringing together machinery and highly-skilled craftsmanship, we can deliver perforated panels in a vast range of shapes and designs while always maintaining the highest standards of accuracy and quality.

New design motifs can be created by layering two perforated panels with the same holes and pitch.
New design motifs can be created by layering two perforated panels with the same holes and pitch.

One approach to using perforation in design is to layer up multiple perforated panels to create new patterns. It can be as simple as taking two perforated panels with identical holes and distance and layering them up inexactly, so that the holes are not aligned: this is enough to create a wide range of effects. It isn’t just the misalignment of the holes or the distance between the panels that creates this variety; different effects will arise according to the angle at which the layered panels are viewed, too.

An illuminated Shippo (overlapping circles) patterned panel created with layered perforation (exterior screening and interior handrail panels)
An illuminated Shippo (overlapping circles) patterned panel created with layered perforation (exterior screening and interior handrail panels)

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the Shippo (overlapping circles) patterned panels, created through layered perforation, that were installed in Building 8, the general learning support facility, at Taisho University, a Mahayana Buddhist university. For these panels, circle of 100mm in diameter were punched into panels at a distance of 120mm , and then two panels were layered so that each circle was misaligned by a quarter, both vertically and horizontally. This created the Shippo pattern, which has its origins in Buddhism. Another key feature of the installation was that the Shippo pattern was intended to be illuminated and, as such, the way in which the perforations were superimposed onto the lighting was of crucial importance.

Project Gallery: Click here to see Taisho University, Building 8

The exterior layered perforated panels were created as triple-layer panel units, comprising two layers of 1.6mm steel panels (high corrosion resistant galvanized steel sheets), and a third backing panel. The depth of each unit was 75mm and a 30mm gap was left between the two perforated panels. Each panel had a standard size of W600mm x H2400mm and were finished in a gold polyester powder coating.

Layered perforated panels around the spiral staircase
Layered perforated panels around the spiral staircase

The layered perforated panels for the spiral staircase featured built-in handrail stanchions, while the Shippo pattern was achieved by layering two panels, one inner and one outer. A three-dimensional shape for the spiral staircase was then achieved by curving (R bending) the panels. As this demonstrates, KIKUAWA can achieve curved and three-dimensional shapes, with diverse finishes and fits, such as layered perforated panels.

KIKUKAWA’s Technology: click here to find out more about our 3D Processing Technology

“Dinosaur Egg”, a monument featuring moiré effect panels, installed at Chukyo University
“Dinosaur Egg”, a monument featuring moiré effect panels, installed at Chukyo University

With layered perforated panels, shifting the panels even slightly to misalign the perforations makes it possible to deliberately generate the moiré effect (interference patterns). As the light passes through the overlapping patterns, both of the original perforations and from interference, the patterns are highlighted to stunning effect.

Project Gallery: Click here to see Chukyo University, Nagoya Campus Building No.1 (Library & Academic Hall)

There are unlimited possibilities to achieve your ideas and designs through metal perforating techniques. KIKUKAWA is committed to working closely with our clients and realizing their designs and dreams by utilizing KIKUKAWA’s highest standards of technologies and expertise.

KIKUKAWA’s Technology: click here to find out more about our Perforating Technology

May 11, 2021

Metal Craft News

Die-cast Aluminium Ceiling Panels

The advantages of die-casting decorative metal claddings are in their workability and strength. In particular, aluminium is lightweight, accommodates complex shapes, and has good corrosion resistance and strength. Therefore, Kikukawa may recommend the use of casting to craft intricate designs or those with substantial quantity. As metal construction experts, Kikukawa and our associates have the expertise and technology to implement various bespoke high-quality designs.

Pictured is an example of this; die-cast aluminium ceiling panels installed within an office tower in Marunouchi, Tokyo.

Die-casted aluminium panels line the entrance lobby
Die-casted aluminium panels line the entrance lobby

The ceiling of the entrance lobby is alternatingly lined with 1200mm wide die-cast aluminium panels, and 250mm wide aluminium slits. The longitudinal side is split at 2600mm pitch, and the panels are installed with 5mm thin joints.

Six rows of wall panels at the back are also lined with die-cast aluminium panels.

Left: bush hammering patterned die-cast with bespoke black paint. Right: Bead patterned die-cast aluminium with black paint.
Left: bush hammering patterned die-cast with bespoke black paint. Right: Bead patterned die-cast aluminium with black paint.

The die-cast pattern imitates the bush hammering* finish on stone with vertical lines. The surface is finished with the bespoke black acrylic resin-baked coating. The seemingly random and inconsistent shades of colour resulting from the rough surface are controlled through Kikukawa’s quality control as a whole.

The rise from the ceiling is lined with die-cast panels, patterned with beaded-like surfaces. These panels are also lined with bespoke black acrylic resin-baked coating.

*Bush hammering finish: Bush hammering finish is applied to natural stone with a bush hammer to create a rough, irregular texture that is comparable to a weathered texture.

The same die-casted aluminium panels decorate the two elevator halls
The same die-casted aluminium panels decorate the two elevator halls

The same aluminium die-cast panels line the rise from ceiling panels in the elevator hall. The decorative touch of these 1350mm wide, 3000mm long die-cast panels contribute to the creation of a chic space.

Factory inspection of the die-casted aluminium ceiling panels
Factory inspection of the die-casted aluminium ceiling panels

The texture of the panels seems random, yet is carefully coordinated to provide a sense of unity within the space. To achieve this balance in design, Kikukawa crafted a mock-up and lined the final products within the factory as they would be installed so that the client can inspect it in full-scale.

Kikukawa's black painted aluminium cut-edge detail panel
Kikukawa’s black painted aluminium cut-edge detail panel

In addition to the die-cast panels, Kikukawa has also crafted the 3mm aluminium cut-edge detailed aluminium panels. The elevator hall is lined with two rows of 980mm by 1340mm down ceiling Kikukawa panels with indirect lighting. The shared corridor is equipped with indirect lighting on one side and is lined with 980mm by 2800mm Kikukawa panels. Both of these ceiling panels are black painted, creating a professional and refined space.

Whether die-casted, metal-worked or otherwise, Kikukawa has the expertise and know-how to provide consultations for various decorative metal constructions. Based on the requirements of the project, our experts will consider and propose the most suitable material, metalworking methodology and finish. Please contact our representative for more information.

April 27, 2021

Metal Craft News

Steel Tees for Frames

Kikukawa is well known for its metal craftsmanship for various bespoke metal constructions; from panels, interiors, staircases, interiors, and otherwise.

From projects within Japan to those overseas, small-scale or large-scale, our bespoke services are not limited. An example of this is the newly built Tums nursing home in Kawaguchi-city, Saitama prefecture. Kikukawa metal was selected for the bespoke frame works in the first-floor entrance hall.

Glass-walled entrance hall, filled with natural lighting. The window frames, flush door and the automatic entrance door frames are Kikukawa metals.
Glass-walled entrance hall, filled with natural lighting. The window frames, flush door, and automatic entrance door frames are Kikukawa metals.

Fifty-one pieces of 2.4m high, 0.8m to 1m wide fixed steel window frames were installed in the entrance hall. Both finished with black acrylic resin baked coating, the exterior mullions are crafted from 6mm thick, 75mm wide flat bars while the interior mullions are crafted from 75mm wide, 75mm high steel tees to ensure the necessary wind resistance strength and the clean aesthetic required for this space.

Front exit of the facility. The automatic door frames are also by Kikukawa.
Front exit of the facility. The automatic door frames are also by Kikukawa.
Making of the mullions. Crafted by welding steel flat bars or steel tees.
Making of the mullions. Crafted by welding steel flat bars or steel tees.
One of the mullion corners. Finished with black acrylic resin baked coat.
One of the mullion corners. Finished with black acrylic resin baked coat.

One of the continuous windows at the entrance hall is a flush door crafted from 1.6mm steel plate. Allowing access to the terrace, the interior side is filled with rock wool and finished with black acrylic resin baked coat.

The Tums nursing home. Entrance hall is located at the front side of the first floor.
The Tums nursing home. Entrance hall is located at the front side of the first floor.

Kikukawa has taken on various projects, from those with cutting-edge design to those requiring specific functionality or aesthetic. While these are our most famous works, we have also taken on less complex projects requiring high-quality. Please contact us for your metal construction or sample requirements, as Kikukawa’s experts and craftsmen has the expertise and technology to provide the necessary support required for your project.

April 14, 2021

Metal Craft News

The Right Shade of Black

Metals are versatile – depending on the material or finish, applicable metalwork and quality control methodologies differ. Being architectural metal construction experts, Kikukawa has the know-how and experience to understand the project requirements and apply the best-suited finish, metalwork, or solution. Whether this is within one project or across many, we will provide the necessary support, services, or consultations necessary from design to installation for the project’s metal construction requirements.

Dark zinc phosphate coated steel panels
Dark zinc phosphate coated steel panels
PHL (Vibration) and black coloured stainless steel panels
PHL (Vibration) and black coloured stainless steel panels

Pictured is a cultural facility that opened in Takasaki-city, Gunma prefecture in 2019. Kikukawa metals were selected for the exterior dark zinc phosphate coated steel panels and the interior black coloured stainless steel panels. While both are black metals, the zinc phosphate coat exudes a naturalistic tone while the coloured stainless steel maximizes the metallic texture of the material.

Both finishes require specific expertise in quality control. Hot-dip galvanized and zinc phosphate coating requires any metalworks to be conducted post finishing. Therefore, thermal distortions from the finishing process need to be considered. Coloured stainless steel panels also require metalworks to be conducted post finishing which limits the metalworks, such as welding, that can be applied. Kikukawa also provides high-quality colour control for both panels by managing the material lot.

Hot-dip galvanized and zinc phosphate coated exterior cut-edge detailed panels
Hot-dip galvanized and zinc phosphate coated exterior cut-edge detailed panels

Exterior panels are crafted from 3.2mm thick steel, with cut-edge details. Typical size being 1m by 3m, the panels are imposing.

Click here to find out more about zinc phosphate coating

Mirror-based, PHL (Vibration) finished black coloured stainless steel
Mirror-based, PHL (Vibration) finished black coloured stainless steel panels
No distortion can be observed from the highly reflective surface
No distortion can be observed from the highly reflective surface

Interior panels within areas such as the elevator halls are lined with mirror-based PHL (vibration) finished black coloured stainless steel. Crafted from 1.5mm thick stainless steel, the bent-edge detailed panels are smooth and flat, as can be observed from its highly reflective surface. The high reflective metallic surface with the 5mm thin joint details contribute to the creation of a sophisticated space.

Regardless of the material or finish, Kikukawa is able to provide consultations for various decorative metals and metal claddings. Please contact our representative for complex projects, feasibility or available finishes.

March 27, 2021

Metal Craft News

Kikukawa Headquarter’s Satellite Office

Changing times require a change in the work environment, which are often accompanied by office renovation or renewal requirements. Kikukawa, being an expert bespoke metalcraft and metal construction company, is able to provide various services for office renovation projects, regardless of its size.

Interestingly, our abilities can be observed from our Satellite Office that opened in November 2020, which was renewed from a parking space. The new space incorporates Kikukawa’s metal products to embody the concept, acceleration of communication and innovation, and showcase Kikukawa’s metal crafting abilities.

Kikukawa Headquarters' Satellite Office
Kikukawa Headquarters’ Satellite Office

The exterior is glass-walled, with perforated stainless steel covering the sides that face the road. The perforated panels capture the essence of the exterior from the rest of the office; the curved expanded metal.

The exterior consists of 16 panels of 1.0mm thick BA finished stainless steel with 2mm diameter perforation at 4mm pitch. By curving the perforated panels, the exterior evokes a curtain.

Not only do these perforated panels provide an environmentally comfortable space, but it is also functional. It acts as a shield from the sun and depending on the lighting condition, it acts as window blinds while allowing visibility from the inside.

*These perforated stainless steel panels are available as bespoke or semi-bespoke architectural products. Please contact us for more information.

Randomized curvatures evoke a curtain
Randomized curvatures evoke a curtain
The metallic texture of stainless steel adds sophistication to the space
The metallic texture of stainless steel adds sophistication to the space
Visibility is ensured with the glass-walls and perforated stainless steel
Visibility is ensured with the glass-walls and perforated stainless steel

Kikukawa’s products are used within the Satellite Office as well. The ceiling is equipped with Kikukawa’s ‘R Air-con’, a radiant HVAC system. This is the first installment of the black-coloured ‘R Air-con’, providing a stylish and comfortable space.

Another featured Kikukawa products are the zinc phosphate coated table legs. To promote a more flexible workstyle and to encourage communication, the tables are higher than those typically available. The zinc phosphate coated legs, fabricated from 2.3mm thick steel sheets, add a decorative accent to the simple tone of the office interior.

Black-coloured radiant HVAC system, 'R-Aircon'
Black-coloured radiant HVAC system, ‘R-Aircon’
Zinc phosphate coated table legs
Zinc phosphate coated table legs

Having been established in 1933 as experts in metal construction, Kikukawa has the expertise and know-how to provide solutions for metal products requiring high standards, or both design and functionality. Our multi-skilled teams will respond flexibly to complications that are common with reconstruction projects.

Kikukawa’s Tokyo Headquarters serves as a ‘metalwork museum’ to showcase Kikukawa’s metalworking abilities and products, and is open to visitation. Other products, such as expanded metal facade or thin joint stainless steel wall claddings can also be viewed. Please contact a representative or from the inquiry form to take a tour or to arrange for visitation.

March 9, 2021

Metal Craft News

Folded Panels

Typically, walls or ceiling panels consist of flat panels. The consistency of the panels is a beauty in itself, however, a more three-dimensional panel may be suitable for a space requiring creativity or uniqueness. Metals, being highly workable and high in strength, have the ability to offer the required design and functionality, such as lighting fixtures or air-conditioning.

Pyramid shaped folded aluminium panels
Pyramid shaped folded aluminium panels
The folded panels satisfy both the air-intake duct functionality and design
The folded panels satisfy both the air-intake duct functionality and design

Pictured are folded panels installed in an underground square adjacent to the subway. The aluminium cut-edge detailed panels are convex folded into a L shaped pyramid, that stretches from the wall to the ceiling. The folded ceiling panels are 5.8m long, while the folded wall panels are 2m long, crafted from 3.0mm thick cut-edge panel. The resulting isosceles pyramid is maximum 750mm in width, and 240mm in height.

The aluminium folded panels create a unique space
The aluminium folded panels create a unique space

Behind the folded panels are a slit for intake opening; each folded panel acting as a duct. According to the architects, the wider the duct, the more air intake there is. Given this functionality, the design required delicate details to be attended from design, fabrication to installation.

Panels to the right are concavely folded
Panels to the right are concavely folded
Two concavely bent pyramids are adjacently placed to create the diamond shape
Two concavely bent pyramids are adjacently placed to create the diamond shape

For certain areas without an intake slit, the panels are folded concavely into a diamond. The connecting concavely folded panels to this diamond are uniquely shaped.

Factory inspection of the mock-up, to ensure the quality and details of the product are in line with the project's requirements
Factory inspection of the mock-up, to ensure the quality and details of the product are in line with the project’s requirements

These panels are finished with a white fluororesin baked coating. The colour, shape and the details of the panels were inspected based on a mock-up pictured above.

These panels required functionality before design. However, a space coloured with folded panels at a 1.2m pitch are unique. Whether the implementation of the design is the priority, or the functionality, Kikukawa is able to provide solutions and consultation that balances both, or that fulfills the requirements of the project. Please do not hesitate to contact our specialists or experts for feasibility in design or fabrication, or simply for a quotation.

February 24, 2021

Metal Craft News

Twisted Louvres

Three-dimensionality is important in architecture, especially for facades and interiors as it could become the symbolic piece within a space. As metals are one of the most flexible materials in the feasibility of designs, it is often considered to implement various shapes, designs, or ideas.

One such example is the twisted louvres – an application of the twisting technology. By twisting flat bars, these louvres produce a shop curtain-like gentle facade.

Mock-up of the twisted louvres
Mock-up of the twisted louvres

Pictured twisted louvres were selected as the facade of a restaurant. The installed louvres are 2425mm in height, using 109 pieces of stainless steel 6mm by 75mm flat bars totalling up to 11.3m in length. By adjusting the placement of the twist, seven patterns of louvres were used to create the curtain-like change.

Adjusted twisting points of the louvres
Adjusted twisting points of the louvres
Assembling the louvres and the frame
Assembling the louvres and the frame

Twisting the flat bars require a specialized equipment and know-how. Our experienced craftsmen designed a jig to ensure the high quality and precision required.

Twisted flat bars after the bronze clear coating
Twisted flat bars after the bronze clear coating
Metallic and warm textures of the twisted louvres
Metallic and warm textures of the twisted louvres

These twisted louvres are finished with hairline, and bronze coloured clear coating. The coloured claer coating was also finished within Kikukawa’s factory for quality. The coloured clear coating contribute to a metallic yet warm texture that was required for the space.

As shown, Kikukawa is able to provide various solutions from design to installation to implement creative designs or ideas. We have the expertise and various facilities to ensure the high quality, consistency, and precision required for high-end or complex projects. Contact us if you have sketches or drawings that seem complex, or require consultation for feasibility.

Click here to find out more about Kikukawa’s twisting technology

February 9, 2021

Metal Craft News

FURUMI (Sulfurized) Finished Brass Door

Metal can be used in various places for a variety of purposes: to create a luxurious space, to implement a symbolic design, to symbolize the stately nature of an area. This stems from one of the unique features of metal, its flexibility – in design, finishes and shapes.

Metals typically don a glossy or highly reflective surface, however, it could also be worked into a more dignified physique, like the FURUMI (sulfurized) finish. Introduced below is such an example, three types of FURUMI (sulfurized) finished brass doors installed to an automatic door supplier.

Single pull automatic door for cars
Single pull automatic door for cars

The first type is a single pull automatic door for a mechanical parking lot. To accommodate various cars, the doors are outsized, being 5m wide and 2m tall. To implement this, five pieces of 1.5mm thick brass bent-panel detailed panels, finished with hairline, FURUMI (sulfurized) finish, and clear coating were installed at 1m wide pitch.

The same FURUMI (sulfurized) finished brass was selected for the automatic draw doors of 1130mm wide, 2150mm high at the back door.

Automatic draw doors with FURUMI (sulfurized) finish doors for a stately effect
Automatic draw doors with FURUMI (sulfurized) finish doors for a stately effect

The front door of the tenant’s office was also installed with Kikukawa’s FURUMI (sulfurized) finish brass doors. The exterior of the 1680mm wide, 2180mm high double doors are lined with 8 pieces of 1.5mm thick bent-edge detailed FURUMI (sulfurized) finished brass. The three vertical 15mm deep slits create a solid expression.

The fabrication of the 8 pieces of FURUMI (sulfurized) brass panels that composed the double doors
The fabrication of the 8 pieces of FURUMI (sulfurized) brass panels that composed the double doors
The slit detail conceals the hooking detail
The slit detail conceals the hooking detail

The slit details also conceal the installation hook detail. As the joint clearance for installation was 0.25mm, the installation required precision. To assist a successful installation for the installation supplier, Kikukawa provided detailed installation detail drawings.

As demonstrated with this project, Kikukawa is able to provide attentive, detailed, and bespoke services for each requirement. For bespoke metal doors or fittings, please consult us for any complications, difficulty, or feasibility.

Click here for more information on FURUMI (sulfurized) finish

Click here to view more FURUMI (sulfurized) bronze samples

January 26, 2021

Metal Craft News

Cylindrical Bronze Tsuchime (Hammertone) Lampshade

Kikukawa is most known for its ability to apply high-standard and complex metalworking from design to implementation. However, our expertise extends to applications of bespoke finishes in addition to the shaping or dual curving of the product.

An example of this is the bronze Tsuchime (hammertone) lampshade installed within a shop in Yokohama. The nine copper lampshades are the central piece to this space, delivering warm gentle light to the room.

The bronze Tsuchime (hammertone) patterned lampshade
The bronze Tsuchime (hammertone) patterned lampshade

In this space, there are seven φ540mm by 490mm high bronze hoods, and two φ540mm by 590mm high bronze hoods, fabricated and installed by Kikukawa.

The design intent was to create ‘warm antique textures with bronze Tsuchime (hammertone) patterning’. Through various sample finishes, the intent materialized into the current glossy clear coated Tsuchime (hammertone) finish, TM-2*.

*Click here to check out TM-2, one of our standard Tsuchime pattern finishes

Glossy lampshades create a luxurious space
Glossy lampshades create a luxurious space
Crafting of the cylindrical lampshades. Patterned with Kikukawa's proprietary Tsuchime (hammertone) TM-2, polishing and glossy clear coating
Crafting of the cylindrical lampshades. Patterned with Kikukawa’s proprietary Tsuchime (hammertone) TM-2, polishing and glossy clear coating

On a 1.5mm copper sheet, Tsuchime (hammertone) was patterned using Kikukawa’s proprietary technology, then R curved into a pipe then welded to create the cylinder. As any metalworking process after the patterning process interferes with the pattern, Kikukawa’s expertise and craftsmanship were required to pattern and weld the piece into the high-standard product required.

A difficult patterning, metalworking and welding realised by Kikukawa's craftsmen
A difficult patterning, metalworking and welding realised by Kikukawa’s craftsmen

This was made possible by obtaining different approved samples for the welding quality, colour of the product, and patterning, each implemented under Kikukawa’s strict quality control. While the timeline for fabrication was limited, these measures resulted in a high evaluation from our client.

Left: The approved welding sample. The red dotted area was welded. Right: Approved pattern sample
Left: The approved welding sample. The red dotted area was welded. Right: Approved pattern sample

Given the current social situation, this project started and concluded without any face-to-face meeting with the client. Based on e-mail, online meetings or phone-calls, Kikukawa’s experts are able to consult and provide a high standard product from design to installation.

From complex projects to bespoke finishes or feasibility, please consult Kikukawa’s representative to implement your design intent.

Click here to learn more about Kikukawa’s proprietary Tsuchime (hammertone) technology

Click here to learn more about another project with Tsuchime (hammertone) pattern

January 12, 2021

Metal Craft News

Bead Blasting a Gradient Pattern (Silky Blast)

While blasting is typically known as a preparatory treatment, it is actually available as a high-quality surface finish at Kikukawa as ‘Silky Blast’.

‘Silky Blast’ is a series of bespoke blasting finish made available with Kikukawa’s technology and craftsmanship. It is favoured for its luxurious silk-like matte texture and its ability to fully utilize the metallic texture of the material. A selection of this finish is available on our ‘Stainless Steel Finish Sample’ Book, however, since this is a bespoke finish, the coarseness and reflectivity of the finish can be adjusted as needed.

An application of ‘Silky Blast’ is the blasting of a gradient pattern, ranging from a mirror-finish to the silk-like texture within one panel. Pictured below are ‘Silky Blast’ gradient patterned panels installed at the entrance of the KOSE Corporation headquarters in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.

Silky Blasted gradient pattern panels line the counter and the independent wall behind the counter
Silky Blasted gradient pattern panels line the counter and the independent wall behind the counter

Upon renewal, the entrance was lined with Kikukawa’s 9.6m wide, 2.9m high panels at the back, and 7.3m wide, 1.1m high panels for the counter. Each and every stainless steel panel is finished with gradient patterned Silky Blast finish, ranging from the mirror finish to the matte texture. By carefully adjusting the density of the blasting medium, only the panel surfaces close to the ceiling and to the ground reflect its surroundings.

Carefully crafted R bent edge of the counter, and the gradient pattern blasted independent wall panels
Carefully crafted R bent edge of the counter, and the gradient pattern blasted independent wall panels
The top plate of the counter was cut-out with laser then silky blasted
The top plate of the counter was cut-out with laser then Silky Blasted

These gradient-pattern blasted 3mm stainless steel cut-edge panels are installed with a 4mm thin joint. One of the largest panels was 3200mm wide and 950mm high installed on the independent wall behind the counter.

At the corner of the counter is a minimally R bent panel, made available by precise craftsmanship. The top panel of the counter was carefully crafted and precisely installed to ensure a sharp physique.

Factory inspecting the Silky Blasted gradient patterned panels
Factory inspecting the Silky Blasted gradient patterned panels

‘Silky Blast’ requires careful quality control – colour variation could occur by using a different lot of the material. Blasting a gradient pattern complicates the level of QC control. To offer consistent, high-quality panels, our team of metalwork experts conducted high-standard quality control that concluded with a factory inspection that lined all the panels.

The panels adjacent to the corridor is line with mirror-finished stainless steel panels
The panels adjacent to the corridor is line with mirror-finished stainless steel panels

The panels lining the independent wall facing the corridor are lined with mirror-polished stainless steel. Each 2900mm high and 920mm wide, the edge panels are crafted with R100mm corners.

The Silky Blasted cut-out letters and logo
The Silky Blasted cut-out letters and logo

The KOSE sign was crafted by cutting out Silky Blasted stainless steel panels. Although Kikukawa is most known for its high-standard metalwork, these letters were provided with the LED lighting systems or acrylic behind the stainless steel cut-outs due to our ability to provide comprehensive solutions.

Upon completion of this project, Kikukawa’s construction was highly evaluated as setting a new standard for metal craftsmanship. Kikukawa provides the most suitable solution given the projects’ requirements including but not limited to design, timeline, cost, and quality standards. Please do not hesitate to consult us on complicated projects or on metalwork or finishing feasibilities.

Click here to learn more about Kikukawa’s bead blasting (Silky Blast)

Click here to view Silky Blasted stainless steel samples

December 22, 2020

Metal Craft News

Renovating with Aluminium Composite Panel

Kikukawa provides expertise and experienced workmanship for architectural metals and engineering, including renovation projects that require high value, quality of work, and efficiency. From the early stages of our involvement, Kikukawa was highly engaged to provide comprehensive and precise solutions from design to installation.

Renovating with aluminium composite panels (pictured in the middle)
Renovating with aluminium composite panels (pictured in the middle)
Removing the scaffold
Removing the scaffold

Pictured is ‘Nissei Comprehensive Training Facility’ in Urayasu, Chiba, originally completed in 1989, undergoing a large-scale renovation project from 2019 to 2020. Kikukawa provided the metal construction services and metal panels below the toplight of the ground lobby with 15m high ceiling, a central feature of the facility. Kikukawa’s work covered the beam covers adjacent to the flat panels at both ends and the central curved panels.

Left: Panels adjacent to the top light. Right: The cross section drawing of the aluminium composite panel
Left: Panels adjacent to the top light. Right: The cross section drawing of the aluminium composite panel

The typical beam cover panels are 2280mm in width and 2830mm in height, covering a total of 78m constituted from two 38m rows. Allocated at every 4m, the beam panels are dynamic with 6m perimeters. The panels facing the flat side of the top panels are slanted, while panels adjacent to the curved area are stepped.

Panels adjacent to pre-existing ladder rails, stone wall are installed impeccably
Panels adjacent to pre-existing ladder rails, stone wall are installed impeccably
Minimally designed access panels
Minimally designed access panels

Panels adjacent to the curved toplight and stepped panels were installed with lighting fixtures. Being a renovation project, prior onsite measurements and collaborations were necessary to ensure precise cut-outs for panels adjacent to stone and so that the existing systems such as the maintenance ladder rails remained intact.

Installation based on careful and detailed installation plans
Installation based on careful and detailed installation plans

While renovation project often comes with unique challenges, Kikukawa provides high-standard metal construction services by collaboration with the client, designers, general contractors, and other fabricators.

This renovation project was designed to maintain the bright scenery of the area and adding a touch of sophistication at night. Metals’ high workability is well-suited to the various needs of renovation projects, and the variety of finishes available expand the possibilities of design. Please do not hesitate to contact us for feasibility or consultation on complex projects.

December 8, 2020

Metal Craft News

Bespoke Bending into a Pyramid

Kikukawa develops and provides the necessary metalwork by combining cutting-edge technology and its expertise.

Pictured below is a facade renovation project of a high-end brand shop in Shinsaibashi, Osaka. Kikukawa is involved in the sign-frames and screening panels.

In particular, Kikukawa’s craftsmanship is fully showcased in the 3D geometric screening panels of 2090mm width and 430mm height. The cut-edge profile 3mm thick aluminium panels are finished with black fluororesin baked coating. The rectangular pyramid-shaped panels disperse light, reminiscent of precious stones, creating a high-end sophisticated facade.

A sophisticated facade with rectangular pyramid screening panel
A sophisticated facade with rectangular pyramid screening panel

To implement the client’s requirement – the pyramid panels – under the project’s tight timeline and high standards, Kikukawa’s team selected the use of bespoke bending for this construction. Typically panels of this geometry would be fabricated by welding, as bending would require complex metalwork. However, by selecting bending, Kikukawa’s team was able to provide higher quality panels without welding beams, in a more timely and cost-efficient manner.

Panels bent with bespoke bending. Multiple tests were conducted to ensure the quality.
Panels bent with bespoke bending. Multiple tests were conducted to ensure the quality.
Pyramid panels prior to paint coating finish.Bending implemented the precise geometry.
Pyramid panels prior to paint coating finish.
Bending implemented precise geometry.
Factory inspections, conducted to fully understand the actual installation conditions.
Factory inspections, conducted to fully understand the actual installation conditions.

Kikukawa’s other works include the 160mm wide cover panels frames and lighting fixture frames, each crafted from 5mm thick aluminium and finished with black fluororesin baked coating. To elevate the design, resin studs are placed in 200mm pitch.

Being a renovation project, the construction required implementation under limited lead time and flexibility in installation. In partnership with other suppliers and the client, Kikukawa was able to contribute to a smooth implementation of the product and receive an outstanding review from our client for our efforts.

KIkukawa is able to implement designs in a timely and flexible manner
KIkukawa is able to implement designs in a timely and flexible manner

Please consult Kikukawa’s team of experts if you have a difficult project, complex design, or seemingly infeasible designs. From facades to renovations to large-scale architectural projects, Kikukawa’s bespoke metal construction experts will provide the most suitable consultations and solutions for each project.

November 24, 2020

Metal Craft News

Chemically Colouring Metal

Paint coating is not the only methodology to colour metal. Especially for projects requiring metallic textures, chemical colouring may be a more suitable option. Listed below are a selection of chemically finished stainless steel and aluminium.

Firstly, let’s start with aluminium. Anodization is one of the main methodologies used to chemically finish aluminium: it is achieved by passing a current through an electrolytic solution, with the solution immersed aluminium serving as the anode. Anodizing increases resistance to corrosion and wear, thus is as frequently used as paint coatings.

Click here for more information on anodization

■Electrolytic Colouring

Anodized aluminium may be electrolytically colour coated by immersing the anodized aluminium in metal salt containing solution, and passing a current. The resulting colour depends on the dissolved metallic salts, which are typically tin or nickel. Available colours range from silver, champagne gold, bronze and black.

Vibration, anodized and electrolytic coloured aluminium (Left: D-PHL-E2. Right: D-PHL-E5)
Vibration, anodized and electrolytic coloured aluminium (Left: D-PHL-E2. Right: D-PHL-E5)
HL and sulfurization-esque electrolytic coloured aluminium
HL and sulfurization-esque electrolytic coloured aluminium

■Dyeing & Sealing

The microscopic pores of anodized aluminium are deposited with dyeing solutions, then applied with sealing or electrodeposited clear coating. A wide range of colours are available through this process, including red, blue, black and gold. For exterior use, only gold meets the resistance requirements, however other colours are available for interior use.

Anodization, dyeing and clear coated aluminium (bronze and gold)
Anodization, dyeing and clear coated aluminium (bronze and gold)
Louvres of alternating colour: silver anodization and gold dyed + anodized aluminium
Louvres of alternating colour: silver anodization and gold dyed + anodized aluminium

Secondly, let us visit the colouring methodologies for stainless steel. Typically known as coloured stainless steel, two methodologies are introduced below.

■Chemical Colouring

By immersing stainless steel in a chemical solution, a thin transparent film of chromium oxide is created which improves resistance and creates a distinctive coloured effects due to interference with light rays. By changing the thickness of this film by a few atoms, colours from bronze, blue, gold and black are achievable.

Chemically coloured stainless steel. (KC-Colour + Silica Coating in antique gold. Left: HL. Right: PHL or vibration.)
Chemically coloured stainless steel. (KC-Colour + Silica Coating in antique gold. Left: HL. Right: PHL or vibration.)

■Sputtering

Sputtering is the process of placing the stainless steel in a vacuum, which is set with a target material that becomes bombarded with energetic ions, causing the target material to erode particle by particle to form a thin new layer on the stainless steel. The target material may vary from titanium or ceramics, each material resulting in various colours from gold, black, bronze, blue or bordeaux.

Stainless steel with KS-Coating + Silica Coating (SPT) in champagne gold.
Stainless steel with KS-Coating + Silica Coating (SPT) in champagne gold.

Kikukawa has established the expertise and partnerships with other finish providers to consult and provide the most suitable finish for the project requirements or design.
In addition to these selected finish, other shades of colours or samples are available upon request. Please do not hesitate to contact us on architectural metal finishes from feasibility to availability.

Click here for more information on aluminium finishes
Click here for more information on stainless steel finishes

November 10, 2020

Metal Craft News

Scraped (Etched) Design Aluminium Panel

Scraped or etched patterns may be applied to aluminium, stainless steel, and bronze as a way to implement the design intent. Also called the polished or grinded finish, typical finishes include HL, PHL (vibration), and mirror-polished textures. Kikukawa’s metalworking technologies and abilities allow tremendous customization potential for metal surfaces. Pictured below is such an example, the bespoke polka-dot etched finish.

The bespoke polka-dot etched finish
The bespoke polka-dot etched finish. Left: PHL (vibration) based Aluminium. Right: Brass

The polka-dot etched finish* is achieved by applying random circular etching to various directions. The size of the pattern, frequency, etching direction, and etching depth can be selected as required.

Vibration (PHL) + bespoke polka-dot patterned aluminium panel
Vibration (PHL) + bespoke polka-dot patterned aluminium panel

Pictured is the remodeled Men’s Building of Shinjuku Isetan that opened in March 2019. Kikukawa’s aluminium panels were installed on the 4th floor when the building underwent the first large-scale remodeling in 15 years.

As a department store, the concept of the remodeling was a floor that makes comparative shopping more available. Thus, the new floor layout removed walls between luxury brands – and it divided each space with walls with the names of each brand. This meant that the 15 walls that defined each space were required to create a sophisticated luxurious space that suits the apparel stores within the floor. Kikukawa’s bespoke polka-dot etched finish panels fully contributed to the implementation of this design.

Random at first sight, however, is actually carefully designed
Random at first sight, however, is actually carefully designed

The column panels are fabricated from 5mm vibration (PHL) aluminium sheets, etched with polka-dot patterns as designed then clear coated. Each face is typically 1200mm (W) by 2750mm (H), and the 5mm edges with 2mm thin joints details create a sharp aesthetic.

Kikukawa’s expertise and know-how were fully utilized to faithfully implement the polka-dot patterns of the designer’s sketches. In addition to the QC system, each pattern was carefully placed by our craftsmen.

To fully implement the design, the panels are carefully QC inspected within the factory
To fully implement the design, the panels are carefully QC inspected within the factory

Polished, grinded, scraped, or etched – Kikukawa is able to provide bespoke or custom patterns as required. From traditional to cutting-edge technologies, Kikukawa selects the most suitable fabrication methodology to achieve the design intent. Please consult us for feasibility or for more information.

Click here to learn more about polished (grinded) finish

October 13, 2020

Metal Craft News

Semi-bespoke Expanded-Metal Facade as a Screen

Kikukawa provides a line of semi-bespoke architectural metal materials, known as KCT (Kikukawa City Textures) as part of its effort to improve efficiency for our clients. KCT is a compilation of our expertise and know-how, where selected materials are standardized in dimensions or fixing details to realize shorter lead-time.

The first KCT series, KCT 01, was expanded metal – a mesh-like sheet metal that balances visibility and privacy. Kikukawa’s KCT line has wider strands than typical expanded metals, resulting in an aesthetic that balances design and functionality. KCT01 is available in 4 different patterns.

Introduced below is a project that fully utilizes this material as a facade, Granduo Wakabayashi V. The north facade of the four-story-high newly built apartment is wrapped in Kikukawa’s expanded metal, KCT01: Expanded Metal.

Granduo Wakabayashi V, north facade.
Granduo Wakabayashi V, north facade.

The client sought Kikukawa to implement their design with expanded metal. The final selection of the material was made once the designer visited Kikukawa’s Tokyo office as an example of a building with expanded metal facade.

The details of the facade are 3.0mm aluminium with mesh-pitch 76mm and 17mm strands (CKTEX-D76), finished with silver anodization and matte clear coating. Roughly 80 sheets of expanded metal, with standard dimensions of 760mm in width and 1440mm in height, are used.

The expanded metals are installed horizontally, resulting in horizontally long D-shaped openings.
The expanded metals are installed horizontally, resulting in horizontally long D-shaped openings.

The top tier of the facade is cut diagonally, with appropriate fixing details to match the shape of the building. KCT’s standardized fixing details are designed to allow certain levels of flexibility in installation on-site.

Expanded metal facade cut and installed in-line with the shape of the building.
Expanded metal facade cut and installed in-line with the shape of the building.
Expanded metal, being assembled within the factory.
Expanded metal, being assembled within the factory.

The expanded metal facade acts as a screen to provide privacy for the inhabitants, as well as visibility and natural lighting. As the project requirements are perfectly met by the benefits of expanded metals, this facade takes full advantage of the material’s functionality. Kikukawa’s wide strand expanded metals also provide a unique aesthetic, as well as depth that results in a texture that changes throughout the day.

Granduo Wakabayashi V - A soft-light pouring from within the building during sunset.
Granduo Wakabayashi V – A soft-light pouring from within the building during sunset.

KCT01: Expanded Metal is available as panels with standard dimensions and unique fixing systems. Our services are available for small lot requirements as well as in bespoke requirements. Please do not hesitate to contact us for availability and feasibility.

Click here for more information on expanded metal louvres

Click here for more information on Kikukawa’s Tokyo Office (expanded metal facade)

September 23, 2020

Metal Craft News

Bronze Panels with Bespoke Brass Sheets

Implementation of bespoke metal constructions requires special considerations in metal sheet procurement, especially for projects with high standards in quality.

As a bespoke metalworker and metal construction expert, Kikukawa has established partnerships with metal sheet providers to procure bespoke sheets to implement bespoke metal textures or product sizes. We also have the expertise to metalwork these sheets, allowing us to provide a comprehensive solution to the project requirement.

A selection of bronze alloys displaying the variety in colour
A selection of bronze alloys displaying the variety in colour

As an example, take bronze- a unique metal that varies in colour depending on its composition. Thus, bronze provides a wide range of options from textures that fully utilize the metallic yet warm and sophisticated tones, to those that combine polishing patterns.

The photo above is a display of a selection of bronze alloys, showing its diversity in the shades of colours from pink to yellow. As the range varies greatly, some consider these alloys as being superficially unique materials.
*Please note that bronze sheets (Cu 90%, Zn 10%) and brass sheets (Cu 60%, Zn30%) are not readily market available within Japan. Thus, these materials require considerations in minimum lot requirements and procurement lead-time.

Wall panels fabricated from bespoke brass alloys with bright gold shade
Wall panels fabricated from bespoke brass alloys with bright gold shade

The following pictures show bronze products that utilized bespoke brass sheets (Cu70%, Zn30%). This bespoke sheet was selected instead of the typical brass (Cu 60%, Zn 40%) for its stronger gold shade. The additional vibration (PHL or VIB) finish enhances this gold shade.

Bespoke brass wall panels, of over 4m, fabricated from bespoke brass alloys
Bespoke brass wall panels, of over 4m, fabricated from bespoke brass alloys
Bespoke bronze fittings fabricated from the same bespoke bronze alloys
Bespoke bronze fittings fabricated from the same bespoke bronze alloys

Kikukawa is able to respond to a wide range of requirements in sizes and products types, including panels or fittings that exceed 4m.

Bronze samples displayed in Kikukawa's showroom, Studio K+
Bronze samples displayed in Kikukawa’s showroom, Studio K+

These texture samples are available within Kikukawa’s showroom, Studio K+. From the selection of the material to the finish, please do not hesitate to contact us for availability and feasibility. For visitations, please contact us from the inquiry form below.

Contact Us

September 8, 2020

Metal Craft News

Textures of Bronze Alloys

Textures of metal are one of the defining elements within buildings or spaces. Various design intent can be implemented by selecting the most suitable material and finishes.

The following pictures are an excerpt from Kikukawa’s finish samples displayed in Kikukawa’s showroom, Studio K+. Within Studio K+, various selected samples, from the typical finishes to the extraordinary finishes, are on display to showcase the diversity of metal textures, and as an inspiration board for designers.

Bronze finish samples displayed in Kikukawa's showroom, Studio K+. Differences of bronze alloys are explained on the chalkboard.
Bronze finish samples displayed in Kikukawa’s showroom, Studio K+. Differences of bronze alloys are explained on the chalkboard.

Common finishes, such as hairline (HL) or vibration (PHL or VIB), can be made-to-order by differentiating various factors such as depth or frequency. These slight changes create an impression when used as a large architectural panel, through elements such as the reflectivity of the panels.

Left: Bronze, deep hairline (D-HL) and matte clear coating finished. Right: Brass, scratch hairline (Scratch HL) and matte clear coating finished.
Left: Bronze, deep hairline (D-HL) and matte clear coating finished. Right: Brass, scratch hairline (Scratch HL), and matte clear coating finished.
Left: Copper, vibration (PHL or VIB) with matte clear coating finish. Right: Bronze, deep vibration (D-PHL or D-VIB) with matte clear coating finish.
Left: Copper, vibration (PHL or VIB) with matte clear coating finish. Right: Bronze, deep vibration (D-PHL or D-VIB) with matte clear coating finish.

In addition to these material finishes, metal can be texturized by adding processes such as hammertone (Tsuchime). A bespoke pattern can be designed by changing the size of the pattern or its frequency and is sought after for interior projects. These hammering textures can be applied in addition to the hairline (HL) or vibration (PHL or VIB) as required.

Bronze, vibration (PHL or VIB) with hammertone (Tsuchime) and matte clear coating finish.
Bronze, vibration (PHL or VIB) with hammertone (Tsuchime), and matte clear coating finish.

Other textures are implemented by designed polishing or grinding patterns. Pictured below is such an example. To the left is Kishage, a series of circular hairline (HL) finishes applied randomly, and to the right is Feather, a series of polishing marks applied diagonally. These and other original Kikukawa finishes are being explored and developed to understand and expand the design possibilities of metal.

Left: Brass, Kishage (randomly applied circular grind marks) with matte clear coating finish. Right: Brass, Feather (randomly lightly applied polishing marks) with matte clear coating.
Left: Brass, Kishage (randomly applied circular grind marks) with matte clear coating finish. Right: Brass, Feather (randomly lightly applied polishing marks) with matte clear coating.

Each of these textures shown can be furthered by applying a coat of sulfurization (FURUMI).

Click here for more information on Kikukawa’s sulfurization

Kikukawa is able to respond to various design requests, including the development of new design patterns as required. Therefore, please consult us on the availability of textures, feasibility or design assistance.
*Please note that the impression of these pictures may differ from the actual sample. Therefore, please confirm the finish with an actual sample prior to the final selection.

Click here for more information on Kikukawa’s bronze sample finishes

Click here to contact us for more information on Kikukawa’s showroom, Studio K+

August 25, 2020

Metal Craft News

Pilotis in Metal Form

Modern pilotis* (also known as piloti or piers) are formed with columns or eaves that are covered in various architectural materials including metal. While stainless steel, bronze or steel may be selected, aluminium claddings are often selected for its lightweight and versatility in finishes.

Kikukawa is able to accommodate various designs in various metals, and have the expertise to implement bespoke requirements in high standards, from design assistance to installation.

Left: Otemachi One Mitsui & CO. Building. Right: Otemachi One Tower.<br>Kikukawa participated in the metal construction in the lower tiers.
Left: Otemachi One Mitsui & CO. Building. Right: Otemachi One Tower.
Kikukawa participated in the metal construction in the lower tiers.

An example of such a case is ‘Otemachi One Tower’, completed in February 2020 as part of a large-scale integrated development named ‘Otemachi One’ within the Otemachi district.

Kikukawa’s high-standard large aluminium panels of the vestibule eaves contribute to the creation of pilotis designed to produce an open space. Thus, quality controlling the flatness and the alignment of the joints were key to implementing the design intent.

The aluminium panels that line the vestibule eaves of 'Otemachi One Tower'
The aluminium panels that line the vestibule eaves of ‘Otemachi One Tower’

Roughly 1300㎡ of pilotis eaves were fabricated from 2.5mm thick aluminium bent-edge detail panels, of standard size 1300mm by 3600mm. Finished with a grey shade of fluororesin baked coating, with joints 15mm wide and 50mm thick for refined detail.

The aluminium cut-edge vestibule column covers of Otemachi One
The aluminium cut-edge vestibule column covers of Otemachi One

The vestibule square columns are lined with 3.0mm thick aluminium panels with cut-edge detail that are 1700mm wide and 10m high. Six 860mm wide, 3500mm high panels finished with black fluororesin baked coating constitute one side of the column.

Photos from the factory QC inspection. Left: Aluminium soffit panels. Right: Aluminium column covers.
Photos from the factory QC inspection. Left: Aluminium soffit panels. Right: Aluminium column covers.

During a factory inspection, the panels were lifted to confirm the quality. Two panels were aligned to inspect the quality standard of the joint. Similar inspections were conducted for the column panels.

The aluminium cut-edge panels at the entrance lobby of 'Otemachi One Tower'
The aluminium cut-edge panels at the entrance lobby of ‘Otemachi One Tower’

In addition to the vestibule area, Kikukawa provided the column covers in the entrance lobby of ‘Otemachi One Tower’. The 14 columns are 1.4m wide and 10m high, lined with 3.0mm thick cut-edge detail panels finished with black acrylic resin baked coating. Each side of the column is constituted by three 1400mm wide and 3200mm high panels.

The windbreak room at the entrance lobby. Line with Kikukawa's ceiling, soffit and roof panels.
The windbreak room at the entrance lobby. Line with Kikukawa’s ceiling, soffit and roof panels.

Kikukawa’s large-scale and high-standard panels contribute to the implementation of a refined and sophisticated space. Our panels can be seen in other areas of this project, including the Mitsui & CO. Building.

As shown, Kikukawa delivers necessary assistance and product in bespoke metal constructions. Please contact our consultant for more information, feasibility or design assistance.

July 21, 2020

Metal Craft News

Fibre Laser Welding Bronze* Without Heat Tints (Discoloration)

Bronze alloys have long been used as architectural materials, especially bronze composed of 90% copper and 10% zinc (specified in Japan as JIS-C2200). The colours of these bronze alloys are easily affected by welding heat, known as heat tints, appearing red surrounding the welding bead creating a cosmetic imperfection.

Left: Welded bronze with the new methodology. Right: Typical bronze welding with fibre laser. The red heat tint is visible.
Left: Welded bronze with the new methodology. Right: Typical bronze welding with a fibre laser. The red heat tint is visible.

In response to this, Kikukawa has developed a new methodology to weld bronze alloys of 90% copper and 10% zinc without discoloration. This is a follow-up to our technological development in 2018 when welding brass (Cu 60%, Zn 40%) without discoloration became available. This latest development allows welding applications to double-curved products or complex curvatures.

Click here for more information on Kikukawa’s technology to weld brass without discoloration

The front side of a bronze sample piece welded horizontally at the centre. The left half is the original bronze texture, the right half was sulfurized. No heat tints are observable regardless of the finish.
The front side of a bronze sample piece welded horizontally at the centre. The left half is the original bronze texture, the right half was sulfurized. No heat tints are observable regardless of the finish.
The back side of the bronze sample. No heat tints are observable.
The backside of the bronze sample. No heat tints are observable.

The new methodology relies on fibre laser welding. While fibre laser welding implements deep welds with minimal welding discoloration or distortion in comparison to TIG welding, it still left a red heat tint surrounding the welding bead. This cosmetic impact limited the availability of hairline (HL) finish or PHL (vibration) finished bronze in architecture, as these finishes take advantage of the bronze’ metallic texture and are unforgiving to any cosmetic imperfections such as discoloration or dents. Thus, this new development expands the design availability for high-end projects requiring high-quality and high-strength bronze products.

Pictured below is a mock-up of Bloomberg European Headquarter’s interior ramp. Such complex designs are now achievable with bronze using its original texture.

Click here to find out more about Bloomberg European Headquarter’s Ramp, sample pictured above

A miniature mock-up of Bloomberg European Headquarters' interior ramp.
A miniature mock-up of Bloomberg European Headquarters’ interior ramp.

Click here to find out more about Kikukawa’s fibre laser welding technology

*Bronze: As a metal architectural construction specialist, Kikukawa specifies the bronze alloys in three categories; copper (Cu 99.9%), bronze (Cu 90%, Zn 10%), and brass (Cu 60%, Zn 40%). The differences are observable in colour, which can be viewed in our bronze finish samples page.

Click here to view our bronze finish samples. Differences can be best observed through ‘D-PHL (Vibration) Finish with Glossy Clear Lacquer Coating’ finished samples

July 7, 2020

Metal Craft News

Aluminium Casting a Relief Wall

Kikukawa provides various metal constructions and metalwork, including those requiring casting.

Casting, a process of moulding liquid metal into the intended shape, is best suited for large-lot productions, or designs with complex shapes and details that are difficult to achieve with bending.

By combining Kikukawa’s expertise and in collaboration with related companies, Kikukawa provides bespoke casting for various metals and finishes.

Here is an example – a project with aluminium casting completed in 2015, a relief wall for the living quarters of a temple in Tokyo.
The aluminium casting achieved a stately bespoke wall of lotus flowers, a Buddhist symbolism.

The temple wall and the living quarters. The left building is covered in the aluminium relief wall fabricated from casting
The temple gate and the living quarters. The left building is covered in the aluminium relief wall fabricated from casting
The lotus flower relief wall is 4900mm wide, and 7350mm high
The lotus flower relief wall is 4900mm wide, and 7350mm high

The relief wall of roughly 36㎡ , was created from a single 350mm by 350mm square aluminium casting. Nine castings were combined into a 3 by 3 square to create the standard pattern. To create diversity in design, a number of the castings were turned over or rotated. Each was then finished with fluoro-resin paint coating.

Left: Sample lotus flower casting. Right: The standard pattern of casting placed together
Left: Sample lotus flower casting. Right: The standard pattern of casting placed together
At both ends, 3x3 castings are placed. The center is lined with 2x4 casting.
At both ends, 3×3 patterns are placed. The center is lined with 2×4 patterns.

The difficulty in this casting stems from the sharp edges of the flowers, a challenge overcome by various fabrication tests and modifications. Kikukawa’s expertise ensured the quality of the casting, as well as the fixing details that achieve both strength and transparency.
To further ensure the quality of the product, Kikukawa assembled the products within the factory to understand the final adjustment necessary.

The QC inspection
The QC inspection

As the client was very pleased with this lotus flower relief wall, additional casting relief walls were adopted for other areas of this project.

In addition to the project listed above, Kikukawa has experience in casting other metals. This, in combination with other metalwork, allows us to provide the best-suited metalwork solution in price and quality for metal constructions.
Kikukawa also has extensive experience in religious architecture with complex designs and those requiring precision.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for feasibility or consultation.

Click here to learn more about Kikukawa’s religious architecture

June 23, 2020

Metal Craft News

Tsuchime (Hammertone) + Black Anodized Aluminium Door

Tsuchime is Kikukawa’s proprietary Tsuchime (hammertone) finish and is popular for interior construction, or other ornamental goods.

Tsuchime (hammertone) finish samples. (Left: bronze, right: aluminium)
Tsuchime (hammertone) finish samples. (Left: bronze, right: aluminium)

Pictured below is the renovation project for a tenant of the Shinjuku center building. Kikukawa provided the aluminium door plates for the automatic pull door.

Given the client’s intent of utilizing a ‘unique interesting finish’ for the door, Kikukawa provided various finish options. Amongst these, the Tsuchime (hammertone) and black anodization finished aluminium was chosen for its chic and sophisticated physique.

The automatic pull door with Tsuchime (hammertone) finish
The automatic pull door with Tsuchime (hammertone) finish
A close-up of Tsuchime (hammertone) + black anodized finish
A close-up of Tsuchime (hammertone) + black anodized finish

The doors are composed of 850mm wide and 2390mm high aluminium finished with Tsuchime (hammertone) TM-1* and black anodization with a matte clear coating. As the anodization is a finish that makes full use of the material texture, careful attention is paid in every step of production for QC control. Kikukawa’s craftsmen and knowhow resulted in an impeccable Tsuchime (hammertone) finished door.
*TM-1 is Kikukawa’s proprietary standard Tsuchime (hammertone) finish. Please view our material finish samples page for more information.

A difficult finish was implemented with Kikukawa's knowhow and expertise
A difficult finish was implemented with Kikukawa’s know-how and expertise

Applying a Tsuchime (hammertone) finished door was difficult, as the Tsuchime (hammertone) application results in the warping of the material. Kikukawa’s craftsmen have the QC control knowhow and expertise to apply Tsuchime (hammertone) finish and ensuring flatness of the material for a piece as large as 1meter by 2.5meter. Any distortion was corrected with care, resulting in the pieces nestling perfectly onto the automatic doors.

A picture from the factory QC inspection
A picture from the factory QC inspection
A stately door was actualised with Kikukawa's aluminium Tsuchime (hammertone) finish
A stately door was actualised with Kikukawa’s aluminium Tsuchime (hammertone) finish

Kikukawa’s Tsuchime (hammertone) finish is available in bronze alloys, and in other Tsuchime (hammertone) patterns. We are also able to produce patterns based on design intent, thus please consult us for feasibility or for more information.

Click here for more information on Tsuchime (hammertone) finish

Click here to view Tsuchime (hammertone) sample pictures

June 9, 2020

Metal Craft News

Zinc Phosphate Coated Metal Products

‘Zinc Phosphate Coating’ realizes warm, natural textures that are difficult to achieve with paint coatings. As the texture results from chemical reactions, the patterns are unique. Its’ textures change with aging, tuning into the atmosphere of the environment over time. This finish is gaining popularity in architecture as panels, and as interiors such as fittings, counters, and other decoratives.

A selection of zinc phosphate coated steel samples (Phozinc)
A selection of zinc phosphate coated steel samples (Phozinc)

Click here to view zinc phosphate coated steel, amongst other steel finish samples

As the texture is achieved through chemical reactions, this finish is an art as much as it is science. The difficulty of the quality control of the tones and patterns limits accommodating fabricators and thus the availability of this finish.

Given the popularity of the finish, however, Kikukawa has established know-how and quality control methodologies that allow us to provide zinc phosphate coated finished products with high-quality. Below is an example of a project that utilized this unique finish.

Zinc phosphate coated panels used for the reception counter and the lighting box
Zinc phosphate coated panels used for the reception counter and the lighting box

Pictured is an interior of a university in Tokyo. The reception counter and the lighting box were renewed and decorated with a dark Phozinc (PZ-03), galvanized and zinc phosphate coated steel.

The side panels, hanging bolt covers and the interior of the lighting box is finished with black paint coating
The side panels, hanging bolt covers and the interior of the lighting box is finished with black paint coating

The L shaped lighting box is 200mm wide and 230mm high, fabricated from 3.6m, and 2.5m long 2.3mm thick steel. The dark Phozinc (zinc phosphate coated) side panels are flush, leading to a sophisticated space.

Counter panels finished with zinc phosphate coating, with 30mm trim details
Counter panels finished with zinc phosphate coating, with 30mm trim details
The bespoke corner panel
The bespoke corner panel

The 350mm wide reception counter panels are fabricated from 2.3mm steel, shaped into an L with 2.5m and 2.5m long panels. For a clean finish, the corner is installed with a bespoke panel fabricated from two 600mm sheets.

The beauty of zinc phosphate coated finish stems from its unique patterns that are formed by chemical reactions that are affected by factors such as the material thickness, shape, chemical composition, weather, and others. Therefore, please consult Kikukawa on availability or feasibility before selecting this finish for your project.

Click here for more information on zinc phosphate coating

Click here to view more projects with zinc phosphate coated panels

May 26, 2020

Metal Craft News

Perforated Façade Artwork

Kikukawa’s perforating technology implements various designs including artistic facades.

Our perforation diversity is a product of our substantial collection of machinery and dies in combination with the craftsmanship, which allows us to select the most suitable fabrication methodology and details.

Listed below is an example of a bespoke perforation façade artwork that fully utilized our craftsmanship, a renovation project for the Shin-Narashino Station of Keiyo Line in Chiba, Japan.

Click here to find out more about Kikukawa’s perforating technology

The tree silhouettes by perforation
The tree silhouettes by perforation
Before and after the renovation projects
Before and after the renovation projects

The client, JR East Railway Company, has been working on ‘Keiyo Bayside Line Project’ to add value to the areas surrounding the Keiyo line. As a part of this project, the windscreen of Shin Narashino Station was renewed in collaboration with the Chiba Institute of Technology, a local university.

The design motif is the silhouette of trees, to emphasize and make the most of its surrounding environment. The silhouettes emerge with the perforation.

A 3D model of the facade screen
A 3D model of the facade screen

Designed similarly to a folding screen, the façade is fabricated by high corrosion-resistant 3.0mm thick aluminium alloy, and is 8.4m in width, 5.7m in height and 600mm in depth.

The screen consists of ten trapezoid bent panels, each joint occurring at the peaks and valleys of the folding screens. The trapezoid panels are 700mm to 1200mm wide and are alternately placed to create the unique physique.

The silhouette of the nine trees is implemented by carefully calculated circular perforations. And the panels are finished with light chestnut coloured fluororesin paint coating.

Large and small circular perforation, and laser cut crescents
Large and small circular perforation, and laser-cut crescents
The back of the facade screen, the tree silhouettes become shadows
The back of the facade screen, the tree silhouettes become shadows

Two types of metalwork are involved in crafting the trees. The typical panels are perforated with 35mm and 22mm diameter circular perforation with dies. The edges are laser cut to create unique varying crescent shapes so that the vertical line is enhanced.

As the sun shines into the station, the perforated tree silhouette becomes shadows – an effect sought by the designer yet considered difficult during the design phase. In doing so, the client was extremely satisfied with the projects’ results.

Wood grain pattern painted sign plate
Woodgrain pattern painted sign plate

The sign panel sized 4300mm in width, and 1050mm in height is crafted from a bent 2.5mm thick aluminium. All finished with fluororesin baked coating with the specified colour; panels in wood grain patterns and the words in green or black.

For more information, consultation or feasibility on perforation or metalworks, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Click here to learn more about Kikukawa projects with perforation

May 13, 2020

Metal Craft News

Giboshi (Sacred Ornament) of Nippon Budokan

For many pioneering architectural projects, bespoke and uniquely shaped metal ornaments are used. Having specialized in bespoke metal architecture, Kikukawa has a history of providing services for such projects from design to installation.

In light of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, we introduce a piece from the previous Tokyo Olympics of 1964.

Many of the buildings or infrastructure built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics are still in use today. One of the most famous examples is the Nippon Budokan.

The Nippon Budokan from a distance
The Nippon Budokan from a distance

The building was built and opened in November 1964 to celebrate and host the first Judo Olympic Games.

Designed by Mamoru Yamada, the building has a gently curving octagonal roof adorned with a ‘Giboshi’ on top.

The birds-eye view of Nippon Budokan
The birds-eye view of Nippon Budokan

The design is said to be inspired by Mt. Fuji, while others believe that the octagonal shape offers a better view from the audience.

Kikukawa was involved in the metal construction of the interior ceiling, exterior gables and the ‘Giboshi’.

The Giboshi of Nippon Budokan
The Giboshi of Nippon Budokan

*The ‘Giboshi’ is a type of ornamental finial, shaped much like an onion. It is believed that the shape of ‘Giboshi’ is inspired by the Buddhist ‘Hoju’ or from an onion, which was once believed to protect one against evil spirits for its unique scent.

The ‘Giboshi’ of Nippon Budokan is 3.35m high with 5.15m diameter. It is fabricated from 64 pieces of 1.5mm thick brass sheets, cut and curved one by one, and bolted on site.

A close-up of the Giboshi reveals that the Giboshi is split vertically and horizontally
A close-up of the Giboshi reveals that the Giboshi is split vertically and horizontally

To sustain its unique shape, the ‘Giboshi’ is supported by steel frames. The frames were split and brought onto the site so the brass sheets could be placed on-site for installation.

As shown, Kikukawa is able to provide services for highly specialized and unique metal constructions from design to installation. For more information or to consult the feasibility, contact us from the form below.

Contact Us

April 28, 2020

Metal Craft News

Renovating with Vibration and Black Anodized Aluminium

Kikukawa developed a finish that was previously considered to be technologically difficult – a combination of vibration and anodization for aluminium. This finish is featured on our Aluminium Finish Sample Book, along with the same vibration and anodized samples in silver and champagne gold.

Kikukawa's vibration and black anodization finished aluminium
Kikukawa’s vibration and black anodization finished aluminium

The following pictures are from a façade renewal project within Tokyo.

The panels are finished with vibration and black anodization to achieve the design intent, a ‘deep black’ nuance that is difficult with black paint finish.

Entrance facade with Kikukawa's aluminium panels
Entrance facade with Kikukawa’s aluminium panels
Kikukawa's panels from a far, the entrance and the corner pillar. Before and after the renovation.
Kikukawa’s panels from afar, the entrance and the corner pillar. Before and after the renovation.

Kikukawa’s panels are placed at the entrance façade, the eaves soffit, and the pillars at the corner. The specifications of the alulminium panels are 5.0mm thick aluminium with cut-edge details of maximum size 1363mm and 3425mm, finished with vibration and black anodization.

The main entrance, during the day and night
The main entrance, during the day and night

As shown, Kikukawa is able to suggest and develop various finishes to implement the design intent and provide services for metal constructions from design to installation.

For more information or fabrication or construction feasibility, and consultation, please contact us.

Click here for more information on Kikukawa’s anodization

Click here to view Kikukawa’s other renovation projects

April 14, 2020

Metal Craft News

Bespoke Monuments: Blue Wings and Rainbow Wings

Kikukawa has the knowledge and experience to reconstruct or provide services for relocation projects with strict or challenging conditions.

The following monuments, Flying into the Rainbow (also known as the Blue Wings) and Coloured by the Rainbow (also known as the Rainbow Wings) were relocated from Haneda Airport to the Tamagawa Academy. The monuments were designed by the artist Naoya Sakagami and produced by Arts Associates Yatagarasu.

Prior to the relocation, the two monuments were placed within the south and north meeting area of Haneda International Airport Terminal One, Arrivals lobby. The monuments have watched over various travelers for 25 years (1993 – 2018) until the relocation to Sakagami’s alma mater Tamagawa Academy which was decided upon the terminals’ renovation.

The Blue Wings were placed within the concert hall of Tamagawa, while the Rainbow Wings were placed within the atrium of Stream Hall 2019, a new facility built for global education.

The two monuments are coated with a stainless finish that is unique to Sakagami and composed of 6 lines of carefully polished crystal prisms, and 11 spectrum creating gratings which included products that cannot be reproduced today. Therefore, no mistakes could be made within this relocation project.
Based on experience and partnerships from previous projects, Kikukawa was entrusted with this mission from dismantling in Haneda to installation.

'Blue Wings' appear as though they are flying into a rainbow
‘Blue Wings’ appear as though they are flying into a rainbow

The Blue Wings are supported at one point, equivalent to its previous installation at the Haneda Airport. The key to this installation is the rainbow that appears when appropriate natural lighting or illumination is shone through the crystal prism or the gratings at the torso. Since the previous installation drawings from 25 years ago were lost, Kikukawa’s team on-site measured and calculated the best placement for this monument.

'Rainbow Wings' flying and shimmering under the light
‘Rainbow Wings’ flying and shimmering under the light

The Rainbow Wings were installed to appear flying within the atrium of the facility, therefore, the foot base of the monument was cut off. To balance the monument in space, the monument was placed on a foundation for support, then hung by six 4170mm to 8025mm of stainless-steel wire.

The monuments are placed carefully onsite to actualize the design intent
The monuments are placed carefully onsite

As shown, Kikukawa is able to provide high-quality services for relocation projects with strict requirements.

Click here for more information on Naoya Sakagami’s artworks

Click here to view more renovation projects

Click here to make an inquiry

March 31, 2020

Metal Craft News

Mirror Polished Stainless Steel + Bronze Colour Clear Coated Ornaments

Bronze alloys are often chosen in architecture to create chic or high-end space. However, bronze may be replaced with stainless steel due to material availability and procurement. In such cases, sputtered or electro-chemically coloured stainless steel may be considered – however, these finishes have limitations in post-coloured metalworking.

The following decorative partitions combine stainless steel round pipes and bronze colour clear coating to overcome the limitations listed above.

The welded joints are finished carefully into a mirror-polish, then finished with a coloured clear coating that maintains the metallic and a bronze-like surface. This fine-detailed piece of artwork adorns the high-end grill and restaurant in Marunouchi, Tokyo.

Mirror polished and bronze colour clear coated stainless steel decorative partition
Mirror polished and bronze colour clear coated stainless steel decorative partition

These decorative partitions imitate musical notes and staff notation – the staff lines are 13mm thick round pipes, 3.6m high from the floor to ceiling. The left partition is 2090mm wide of 125mm depth covered by 3 rows of randomly placed round pipes. The right partition is 2560mm in width and has 5 rows or round pipes covering 240mm depth.

The framed partitions prior to delivery
The framed partitions prior to delivery
Mirror polished stainless steel oval disk and round pipe, before the coloured clear coating
Mirror polished stainless steel oval disk and round pipes, before the coloured clear coating process

Depending on the placement and the installation angle, there are 6 types of oval plates. All are welded; the top half from the ceiling are welded from above, and the other half are welded from the bottom to minimize the visibility of the welding marks. These pipes are framed into a unit; the top frame is coloured white to assimilate the ceiling, and the bottom finished with mirror-polish and bronze colour clear coating.

The stainless steel decorative pieces are also finished with bronze colour clear coating
The stainless steel decorative pieces are also finished with bronze colour clear coating

Pictured above is another decorative ornament inspired by musical staff, placed in a different area of the same establishment. The 9mm square pipes are hairline finished and bronze colour clear coated, similar to the other partitions.

The bronze colour clear coating of this project was finished within Kikukawa’s factory to ensure the colour and quality of the product. Coloured clear coating is suitable for interior projects requiring metallic or high-end space.

Please consult us on the availability and specifications.

*Coloured clear coating is a finish for interior projects. Please consult us for use in exterior projects to ensure the suitability of the specifications.

For more information, click here

February 3, 2020

Metal Craft News

Origami Metal Panels

Typically, metal panels are constructed and designed to achieve a flush surface. In recent years, other attempts are made – such as the construction of peaks and valleys with geometric shapes and angles, much like a kaleidoscope or origami art.

The implementation of a wall with protrusions requires various abilities from the manufacturer – such as details considered in 3D, or the ability to fabricate and conduct precise installations. Kikukawa has the expertise and technology to respond to these various requirements and ensure the construction of a project with high-quality metal panels.

OVOL Nihonbashi Building, the aluminium panels in the courtyard
OVOL Nihonbashi Building, the aluminium panels in the courtyard

These photographs capture the aluminium ‘Origami Panels’ installed in the atrium of ‘OVOL Nihonbashi Building’.

The peaks and valley of the Origami panels are more apparent from an angle
The peaks and valley of the Origami panels are more apparent from an angle

Origami is an ancient art in Japan, a method to create various shapes and forms by folding a piece of paper. This craft gained popularity overseas and has inspired various architects and designers across borders.

The Origami panels of ‘OVOL Nihonbashi Building’ are formed by 4~9 pieces of variously shaped and sized panels creating triangular peaks and valleys. The depth of these peaks is maximum 400mm.

The typical details of these panels are off-white coloured fluorescein baked coated 3.0mm thick aluminium of 1150mm width and 3150mm high.

A moment from the installation process.
A moment from the installation process.
The gantry cranes in the distance give an idea of the size of the panels
The gantry cranes in the distance give an idea of the size of the panels

The installation of these panels requires precision, to ensure clean joints horizontally, vertically and for peaks and valleys – thus requiring precise positioning in x, y and z-axis.

The triangles are set beautifully.
The triangles are set beautifully.

Kikukawa’s team of designers, craftsmen and installation workers are able to work flexibly from designing details in 3D to ensure the high-quality of the project.

Therefore, please do not hesitate to contact Kikukawa for fabrication feasibility and consultation.
Click here to contact us

For more information on ‘OVOL Nihonshibashi Building’, click here

December 17, 2019

Metal Craft News

Unhex Nani Nani and Dual Curving

Based on our expertise in bespoke metal -craft and metal construction, Kikukawa is able to consult and provide assistance to cutting-edge architectural projects from design to production and advisory on installation.
Provided below is such an example.

’Unhex Nani Nani’ covered in patina green bronze panels
’Unhex Nani Nani’ covered in patina green bronze panels

On the platinum street of Shirokanedai stands ‘Unhex Nani Nani’, a verdigris office building completed in 1989.

The unique building is designed by Philippe Starck* and detailed by Makoto Nozawa + GETT. The design intent is said to be a green monster rising from a swamp. The puzzlement that the project may invoke and the playfulness of the design may be represented by the name of the building, Nani Nani, rooting from the Japanese word ‘Nani’ meaning ‘what is it?’

In close collaboration with the architects, Kikukawa constructed the turquoise patinated bronze exterior.

’Unhex Nani Nani’ at night
’Unhex Nani Nani’ at night
’Unhex Nani Nani’ has a hat-like rounded top, and draws a gentle curvature towards the back
’Unhex Nani Nani’ has a hat-like rounded top, and draws a gentle curvature towards the back
The shape varies with angle of vision
The shape varies with angle of vision

At the time, given the complexity of the design, a 1/130 mock-up was fabricated with plaster mold so that the overall shape was understood upon each discussion.

The 1/130 sized plaster mold model
The 1/130 sized plaster mold model
The 3D CAD data
The 3D CAD data

The building is covered in 1360㎡ of patina green finished 1.5mm thick copper sheets, each metal-crafted into the required shape. The most suitable crafting methodology was chosen by our expert craftsmen in observation of the required shape: each sheet was laser cut into the required curved shape, then dual-curved through bending, stretching or striking.

The most challenging area to craft was the hat, with the most R curvature, which was fitted onto a full-scale frame to inspect the precision and quality before shipment.

Assembling the panels for factory inspection
Assembling the panels for factory inspection

The selected finish, patina green, creates the blue and green shades of bronze oxidation that would otherwise take decades to form. Bronze alloys change from its original shade of pink-tinted amber to dark brown, to turquoise. Both the shades of brown and blue/green is favored for its rich texture and stately metallic shades for various architectural constructions.

The rich texture of bronze enhances the design
The rich texture of bronze enhances the design

For projects requiring other metals, patina green painted finish may be applied.

By combining various metal-works and selecting the most suitable methodology, Kikukawa is able to shape various architectural constructions to completion, in close collaboration with the architects and contractors.

To learn more on Kikukawa’s dual-curving technology, click here

To view our bronze finish samples, click here

To make an inquiry, click here

To view Philippe Starck’s webpage, click here (exterior link)

To learn more about Makoto Nozawa + GETT, click here (exterior Japanese link)

*Philippe Starck: A Parisian designer born in 1949. His design works range from product to interior, exterior and architecture. Within Japan, his famous works include the aforementioned ‘Unhex Nani Nani’ and the Asahi Beer Headquarters building.

November 26, 2019

Metal Craft News

Implementing Various Shades of Black

Kikukawa is able to propose various metals and finishes based on the requirements of the project, with expertise from years of bespoke metal construction.

To show the diversity of the metal finishes available at Kikukawa, the following is a selection of black metal finishes.

Note that the colour – black – is not sufficient to select a finish: factors such as gloss level, the shade of the colour, texture or consistency affect the materials’ appearance and its applications. (Please note that the pictures may not fully capture the nuances or the texture of the finish – thus please confirm the finish with an actual sample.)

■Black Oxidized Coating

Projects requiring matte black finishes may want to consider this black oxidize coated steel.

Black oxidize coating is a chemically applied coat of oxidization, which prevents further oxidization and rust. As the coating process is applied under room temperature, the metal is not exposed to risks of heat-induced deformation or discoloration.

■Casted Paint (Matte Black)

This finish recreates the uneven surface of casted steel with paint. As the finish may be applied to non-casted products, a casted physique may be applied to products of shapes and sizes that are otherwise unavailable. This paint finish is also applicable to aluminium.

The flatness of the surface and gloss-level may be adjusted.

■Piano Black

By adjusting the flatness of the surface and applying a coat of high-gloss clear coating, the casted paint physique transforms into this high-end bespoke paint finish that is reminiscent of a grand piano. This finish uses urethane paint and is applicable to aluminium.

■Vibration Pattern Polishing and Anodization (Black)

For projects requiring metallic appearance that cannot be implemented with a painted finish, vibration (PHL) polished and anodized aluminium may be your choice.

■Hairline Pattern Polishing and Black Nickel Plating

Projects requiring metallic textures with high resistance may want to consider the black nickel-plated and hairline polished stainless steel. As this finish creates a surface with natural hues of black, it is best for a context requiring inconsistent texture.

■Coloured Stainless Steel

Black stainless steel may also be actualized by colouring, which may be applied chemically, sputtering or electrolytic colouring.

■Sulfurization

For projects requiring a tint of black, and considering a high-end finish, sulfurization of bronze may be suitable. Bronze sulfurization is a process that recreates the rich brown textures of aging bronze by hand. By quality controlling the process, Kikukawa is able to provide various shades of dark brown.

Click here for more information on sulfurization

■Zinc Phosphate Coating

A tint of black with the metallic and stately texture of steel are available by applying zinc phosphate coating, a finish that chemically applies an insoluble crystalline layer. As this is a chemical process, the resulting tone and pattern vary depending on various factors including the composition of the material, thickness or shape.

Click here for more information on zinc phosphate coating


As shown, a wide range of ‘black’ metal finishes are available at Kikukawa. As experts in metal craftsmanship and construction, Kikukawa is able to select the most suitable finish as required by the project from the aesthetics, function to cost. We propose and provide comprehensive solutions to various metal constructions with our never-say-no spirit.

Please do not hesitate to contact us from the availability of the finish, its application to other consultations on metal constructions.

Click here to make an inquiry

October 21, 2019

Metal Craft News

Thin Joint Installations of Stainless-Steel Panels

At Kikukawa, we provide outsized architectural panels with thin joints. Typically, joint details are designed at roughly 15mm, however, Kikukawa is able to answer requirements of up to 5mm thin joint details. As an example of this, we provide the following pictures of the stainless-steel wall panels of Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office.

Twenty-seven Silky blasted* exterior wall panels cover roughly 120㎡ of staircase walls from the 1st to 3rd floor.

Kikukawa Group’s Tokyo Office, stainless steel wall panels
Kikukawa Group’s Tokyo Office, stainless steel wall panels
Of the four sides, one is diagonally installed. Its’ angle is in accordance with the staircase
Of the four sides, one is diagonally installed. Its’ angle is in accordance with the staircase

By using a hooking detail, panels of maximum 1570mm(W) by 4950mm(H), and 250kg are installed with a 5mm thin joint details. In order to create a seamless ambience, door handles or keys are designed so that there are no protrusions.

Single swing doors are also installed with 5mm thin joints.
Single swing doors are also installed with 5mm thin joints.

As only one face of the staircase is installed diagonally, the joint of the 1st to 3rd floor is connected in a spiral.

Looking up the atrium from the 2nd floor. The side facing the atrium is diagonally installed.
Looking up the atrium from the 2nd floor. The side facing the atrium is diagonally installed.

Installation of thin joints require high precision as a divergence of 1mm becomes visually observable. Kikukawa has the expertise to install the panels precisely and carefully, without scratches or damages, in accordance with the drawing in installation placement and flatness.

Looking down the ‘floating staircase’. The joint of the panels and the angle of the staircase are in accordance with each other.
Looking down the ‘floating staircase’. The joint of the panels and the angle of the staircase are in accordance with each other.

There are other examples of Kikukawa’s stainless-steel panels installed with thin joints. At Aga Khan Centre of London (UK), 3.0mm thick stainless steel is installed with 5mm thin joints to create an octagonal column. Within Japan, the balustrade walls of the Japanese Sword Museum are installed with the same details of 3.0mm thick stainless steel with 5mm thin joints. (Kikukawa’s stainless steel panels are also utilized in the main and sub-main entrance area with 4.0mm thick stainless steel with 6mm thin joints details.)

The balustrade of the Sword Museum. The sharp edges of the cut detail panels match the ambiance of the objects in display
The balustrade of the Japanese Sword Museum. The sharp edges of the cut detail panels match the ambiance of the objects in display

At Kikukawa, we provide thin joint installations for metal façade constructions, including stainless steel, aluminium alloys and bronze alloys. Please do not hesitate to contact us for feasibility including the implementation of designs with thin joints.

For more information on ‘Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office’, click here

For more information on Silky blasting finish, click here

For more information on ‘Aga Khan Centre’, click here

For more information on ‘The Japanese Sword Museum’, click here

*Silky blast: bead blasting (a surface preparatory finish) elevated to a high-quality surface finish with Kikukawa’s proprietary technology and expertise

October 8, 2019

Metal Craft News

Hairline and Black Nickel Plated Stainless Steel Exterior Panels

Black nickel plating is typically applied as a functional, or as a decorative finish in various industries including glasses, automobiles, cameras, and interiors.

Metallic and dark hues of black nickel-plated stainless steel
Metallic and dark hues of black nickel-plated stainless steel

For this project, Kikukawa fabricated exterior panels over 2m by collaborating with an electroplating partner company. The design required a metallic yet uneven dark finish to create a natural hue; the selected black nickel-plated finish is a rich textured finish that implements this.

Hairline (HL) finished and black nickel plated stainless steel exterior panels
Hairline (HL) finished and black nickel-plated stainless steel exterior panels
A large access panel with a sign
A large access panel with a sign

These pictures are the first-floor exterior panels of ‘Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza-Gochome’.

The 3mm black nickel-plated and HL finished stainless steel panels are maximum 1200mm by 2070mm with cut-edge details. The coarse HL finish creates the dark and metallic hues of the material, contributing to a classic and chic atmosphere.

Panels lined for QC inspection
Panels lined for QC inspection

The black nickel-plated and HL finished panels are QC controlled so that the right hues of dark plating are created.

This project and the usage of this finish is an example of Kikukawa challenging itself to utilize finishes that have not been used as an exterior finish in the past, in order to implement the design intent.

Please do not hesitate to consult us on new finishes or design implementation.

Kikukawa participated in a related project that houses ‘Mitsui Garden Hotel Nihonbashi Premier’.
Click here to find out more about this project, ‘OVOL Nihonbashi Building’

September 24, 2019

Metal Craft News

‘Webframe’ of Iidabashi Station, Toei Oedo Line

Kikukawa provides comprehensive solutions for metal constructions from design to installation. This ability comes into its own for creative or cutting-edge projects and those with dual curved or complex designs.

As an example of this, we introduce the ‘webframe’ of Iidabashi, a green framework with a networked configuration that covers the ceiling of Iidabashi subway station of Toei Oedo line. Over 1300m of fluorescent green painted steel pipes that function as a ceiling and lighting are webbed, undulated and spread across the escalator ceiling. This project was completed in 2000, and subsequently won the Architectural Design Division of the AIJ (Architectural Institute of Japan) prize in 2002.

The 3D model of the ‘Webframe’
The 3D model of the ‘Webframe’

This ‘webframe’ was designed by Makoto Watanabe, the numerous award-winning architect (including JIA, Japan Institute of Architects, Rookie of the Year award), best known for designing ‘Aoyama Technical College’ and ‘Shin Minamata Station.’ The Iidabashi station project is also known as the first ‘algorithmic designed*’ architecture to be implemented.

The design intent was to turn the long monotonous escalator hall into a fun space, thus the concept was ‘to show the structure of the space by minimizing the ceiling or wall panels’. The ‘webframe’ resembles the growth of plant roots extending towards the ground, where the wing shaped ventilation tower stands.

The design of ‘webframe’ balances a program generated uniformity and freehand trajectory by using ‘algorithmic design*’
The design of ‘webframe’ balances a program generated uniformity and freehand trajectory by using ‘algorithmic design*’

The ‘webframe’ extends from B6F to B1F, covering a concrete exposed space of roughly 55m in length and 15m in width, including the stair landing.

The webbed structure is ‘lifted’ in various places by virtual ellipsoids, designed with 3D CAD (CADCEUS), a design attempt that was ahead of its time, and implemented through polygonal pipe frames.

Installing the ‘webframe’
Installing the ‘webframe’

The main material of the ‘webframe’ is 2.3mm thick, 76.3mm diameter steel spheres and 2.8mm thick, 76.3mm diameter steel round pipes. Both are finished with fluorescent green urethane resin paint.

The fabrication difficulty was in the cutting of the round pipes for built-in lighting, and the contact point of the webbed structure.

The difficulties in metalcrafting the round pipes were overcome by our craftsmen coming together to understand and resolve each issue.

The contact point, hereinafter named the joint, of the webbed structure is crafted by all around welding of round pipes to the spheres in various angles. The joints alone amounted to over 1000 pieces, thus an automatically deployed 3D-CAD program, a specialized jig, and 20 assembling craftsmen came together to craft the ‘webframe’.

The joints are hung by hanging bolts and wires
The joints are hung by hanging bolts and wires

The installation of the project was limited in time, thus Kikukawa considered various factors from the design stage to conduct a high standard installation. For example, each joint and the extending round pipes are connected by a joint sleeve that allows length adjustment onsite. Installation sequence was carefully negotiated and decided to ensure the accuracy of the installation: our conclusion was to carefully measure the placement of the joints and fix them with hanging bolts and wires, then connect the round pipes to create the webbed structure.

There are no identical polygons in ‘webframes’ thus careful management of the materials and parts were required of all sections
There are no identical polygons in ‘webframe’ thus careful management of the materials were required throughout the project

This project showcases Kikukawa’s ability to accommodate design process requirements ahead of its time, provide metal craftsmanship that realised high precision cutting of round pipes and all-around welding, the ability to control and manage the complex projects in all divisions, and the ability to implement high standard installation under limitations.

Kikukawa will continue to work on providing a comprehensive solution to implement various designs.

Click here for more information on Makoto Sei Watanabe / Architect’s Office

*Algorithmic design: A method of architectural design that uses certain algorithms (such as parameters) to create shapes and models

September 10, 2019

Metal Craft News

The Face of a Building: Aluminium Cut-edge Detail Ceiling Panels

The face of the building, such as the metal panels at the entrance, influence the impression of the entire building. Thus, high-quality is required of these panels in aspects such as the colour, flatness, and precision in fabrication and installation (in mm).

Within Japan, typical metal ceiling panels at the entrance have simple shapes with cut-edge details. At Kikukawa, we provide a comprehensive solution for metal constructions: that is design assistance that enables high-quality in both functionality and aesthetics, fabrication with quality control knowhow, and precise installation for panels, frames, and sub-structures.

The following pictures are from the ‘International University of Health and Welfare, Department of Medicine, WA building’ constructed in Narita Campus (Narita City, Chiba Prefecture) in 2017.

As a space that welcomes worldly researchers and guests from around the globe, the aluminium cut-edge detailed ceiling panels at the entrance atrium were required in high quality.

The aluminium cut-edge detail ceiling panels contribute to the creation of an elegant space
The aluminium cut-edge detail ceiling panels contribute to the creation of an elegant space
The aluminium cut-edge ceiling panels line the interior and exterior of the entrance
The aluminium cut-edge ceiling panels line the interior and exterior of the entrance

The typical details of the 600㎡ aluminium ceiling panels are 3.0mm thick, 1185mm by 1843mm with cut-edge details. The five rows of the ceiling panels are separated by 300mm slits, while each panel joint is set at 15mm.

Quality inspecting the actual size mock-up
Quality inspecting the actual size mock-up
Inspecting the aluminium ceiling panel and its joints from various angles with the mock-up
Inspecting the aluminium ceiling panel mock-up and its joints from various angles

The final inspection is done by machine and visually to ensure the quality. By fabricating a mock-up, we are able to inspect the joints and the panels from various angles.

Inspecting the colours of the aluminium panels with machines
Inspecting the colours of the aluminium panels with machines

The mechanical inspection includes that of flatness, and colours (thickness of the coat, colours and gloss level). These ceiling panels are finished with white-tinted gray acrylic resin paint coating with 50% sheen.

Minimal or simple architectural designs tend to require strict quality control, and each construction project has different quality requirements. Kikukawa has the expertise and craftsmanship to understand and answer these various requirements.

August 22, 2019

Metal Craft News

Bespoke Metal Constructions and Designs with Metal Mesh

Kikukawa provides metal constructions with metal mesh. The following examples feature bespoke mesh; one that creates a gradation by changing the wire opening pitch and the other a ‘pressed mesh’.

Metal mesh provides design, functionality, and visibility thus are often selected for decorative interiors or for spaces that need an open atmoshpere.

The term ‘metal mesh’ typically refers to metal round bars that are welded or woven. Depending on the material, joint details, opening pitch or finishes, there are endless variations. For instance, the joining details may be welded, pressure bonded or woven, and the weaving patterns may be plain weaved, twilled or clamped. The materials of metal mesh include stainless steel, aluminium, or brass.

Typically, when metal meshes are selected, one pattern is used consistently. However, in cases like Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office, the patterns of the metal mesh covering the interior wall, exterior wall, and the atrium create a gradation by changing the opening.

Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office, exterior mesh wall
Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office, exterior mesh wall
Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office, interior mesh wall
Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office, interior mesh wall

The joints of the mesh wall are tied to prevent disintegration, the top details are hooked, and the bottom details are pulled so that the mesh does not waver when touched.

Kikukawa’s samples are on display using the mesh openings.
Kikukawa’s samples are on display using the mesh openings.

The metal mesh introduced has large openings that create a simple, open and unique space. Metal mesh with smaller openings is used as a decorative accent for its luxury and shine.

Metal mesh with the smaller opening can be used as-is, or metalworking with dies or embossing may be combined. Metal mesh with this metalworking are called ‘pressed mesh’, and various designs can be implemented by changing the material, pattern or the metalworking methodology.

Pressed mesh, wave pattern. The concavity or the convexity, the colour of the material and the lighting creates a differing impression. A soft, gentle, fabric-like impression can be created with metal and its characteristics.
Pressed mesh, wave pattern. The concavity or the convexity, the colour of the material and the lighting create a differing impression. A soft, gentle, fabric-like impression can be created with metal and its characteristics.
Pressed mesh, wave pattern. A simple change in the colour of the background can create a varying impression.
Pressed mesh, wave pattern. A simple change in the colour of the background can create a varying impression.
A Japanese tile-like pattern with clear concave or convex metalworking. Pressed mesh, Kikukawa pattern.
Pressed mesh, Kikukawa pattern. A Japanese tile-like pattern with clear concave or convex metalworking.
Pressed mesh, circular pattern. A wide variety of pressing patterns or depths are accommodated.
Pressed mesh, circular pattern. A wide variety of pressing patterns or depths are accommodated.

The possibilities of the design with metal mesh expand when used in collaboration with acrylic, glass or wood. Please do not hesitate to contact us for fabrication feasibility or detailed designs.

July 30, 2019

Metal Craft News

Large Aluminium Facade with Wings

Kikukawa implements various design intent by combining our specialty, metal architectural constructions, and other materials.

The following pictures are from Sugamo Shinkin Bank, Toda that reopened after its move in November 2018. The extra-long aluminium panels have randomly placed wings composed of acrylic plate and stainless steel brackets. These colourfully painted wings create a unique façade.

Randomly placed wings protrude from the extra-large aluminium facade
Randomly placed wings protrude from the extra-large aluminium facade
The colourful brackets of the wings are visible through the acrylic plates
The colourful brackets of the wings are visible through the acrylic plates

The aluminium exterior panels are 3.0mm thick, 1125mm (W) and 5865m (H) with cut-panel details. The high gloss white fluororesin baked paint coating was finished with the photocatalyst coating. The photocatalyst coating is a self-cleaning coat that uses sunlight to breakdown contaminations, dirt or stains.

Assembling the stainless steel brackets and acrylic plates
Assembling the stainless steel brackets and acrylic plates
The colourful stainless steel brackets
The colourful stainless steel brackets

The 173 pieces of 522m (W) and 360mm (H) wings are placed in 8 kinds of angles ranging between 15 and 60 degrees. The 24 varying coloured pieces placed in between acrylic plates and the coloured stainless steel brackets create the colours of the wings.

*The acrylic plates are supplied by the constructors, then assembled into a wing by Kikukawa.

Installing the 6m exterior aluminium panels
Installing the 6m exterior aluminium panels

Kikukawa suggests and plans the most suitable installation methodology and plans for the project by communicating with the constructors. For this project, the aluminium panels were lifted to the roof by a rough terrain crane, then installed.

As demonstrated, Kikukawa will create and offer solutions to project designs with metal constructions or metallic designs. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

*The other colourful facades of Sugamo Shinkin Bank can be viewed via the link below.
Click here for more pictures of ‘Sugamo Shinkin Bank, Tokiwadai branch’
Click here for more pictures of ‘Sugamo Shinkin Bank, Shimura branch’

July 18, 2019

Metal Craft News

Suspended or Floating Staircases

In collaboration with the architects, Kikukawa implements various designs including staircases that appear to be floating.

Kikukawa has a history of consulting and providing solutions in the construction methodology, fabrication methodology, the selection of the material and in installation.

The following pictures are two staircases with intriguing structures that contribute to the creation of open space.

The "staircase of dreams" of 'Palaceside building" upon completion
The ‘Staircase of Dreams’ of ‘Palaceside building’ upon completion in 1967

The first staircase is within ‘Palaceside Building’ named the ‘Staircase of Dreams (Yume No Kaidan)’ after its unique structure and design ahead of its time.

The handrail of "staircase of dreams". The balustrades are made from woven stainless steel round bars.
The handrail of ‘Staircase of Dreams’. The balustrades are made from woven stainless steel round bars.

The staircase connects the central corridor of the first floor and the underground atrium. The 60mm HL finished stainless steel round pipes and 6mm stainless steel round bars, that are woven into a net, support the aluminium-casted stair-boards.

The stairs from the first floor. The woven balustrades allows a B1F view.
The stairs from the first floor. The woven balustrades provide a visual of the underground atrium.

The ‘Palaceside Building’ itself is highly regarded within the architectural industry, receiving various awards since its completion such as the 9th BCS award (by the Japan Federation of Construction Contractors) or being selected as DOCOMOMO’s Top 20 modern architecture.

Completed in 1967, the staircase now has extra handrails to further support climbers.

The "staircase of dreams" in 2019.
The ‘Staircase of Dreams’ in 2019.

The next staircase is from our very own office in Tokyo.

The staircase of Kikukawa Tokyo Office
The staircase of Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office

The 216mm PHL finished stainless steel round pipe functions as the handrail and supporting structure for this staircase that connects the 2nd and 3rd floor. The 10mm randomly placed PHL finished SUS round pipes connect the handrail and the glass stair-boards.

From the staircase landing, the clear view of the randomly placed suspension round bars is available.
From the staircase landing, a clear view of the randomly placed suspension round bars is available.

The handrail’s L-shaped detail was implemented by drawing and welding.

The L-shaped design of the extraordinarily large handrail
The L-shaped design of the extraordinarily large handrail

Implementation of floating staircases requires careful planning in installation methodology and the clarification of factory and on-site fabrications. Therefore, Kikukawa’s ability to undertake consultations from feasibility, detail designing to installation was key to the realisation of this structure.

Looking down the stairs from the landing. The glass stair-boards and the see-through balustrades create a transparent space
Looking down the stairs from the landing. The glass stair-boards and the see-through balustrades contribute to the creation of an open space

As shown, Kikukawa realises metal constructions with unique structures or designs with its expertise and craftsmanship from consultation to implementation.

Please do not hesitate to consult us with difficult projects or in fabrication feasibility of architectural metal constructions.

Click here for more information on Palaceside building.

Click here for more information on Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office.
*Kikukawa Group Tokyo Office functions as a metalwork museum that showcases our various metalworking abilities in details and creations such as the bead-blasted stainless steel walls with 5mm joints, 6mm aluminium with square perforations and aluminium expanded metal facade and more.

July 9, 2019

Metal Craft News

Bespoke Exterior Aluminium Finishes: Proprietary Grinding and Anodization

Kikukawa develops new finishes in order to best achieve the designer’s intent. That is inclusive of finishes that were typically considered difficult to achieve.

One example of this is the anodization of decorative grinding finishes. As the anodization process includes chemical etching to clean the aluminium for quality control, the grind marks were thought to fade in the etching process. Kikukawa overcame this difficulty by developing its own grinding and anodizing technology. We provide various finishes that combine anodization and bespoke decorative grinding (or polished) finishes, as exemplified by the picture below.

Vibration (deep PHL) and anodized finished aluminium (D-PHL-E1). The anodization is available in silver, champagne gold, brown and black.
Vibration (deep PHL) and anodized finished aluminium (D-PHL-E1). The anodization is available in silver, champagne gold, brown and black.

The following pictures are from a project that utilizes such a finish. The 3mm thick aluminium exterior panels with cut-edge details are finished with vibration (deep PHL), anodization and matte electrodeposited clear coating. As opposed to simple anodization, the matte clear coating provides a chic ambiance, and a unique reflective surface.

Exterior aluminium panels with vibration (deep PHL) and anodized finish (D-PHL-E1)
Exterior aluminium panels with vibration (deep PHL) and anodized finish (D-PHL-E1)
The consistency of the finish, the fabrication quality of the panels, and the installation precision is apparent
The consistency of the finish, the fabrication quality of the panels, and the installation precision is apparent

The details of the exterior panels are either long 525~625mm (W) by 2400~3085mm (H), or wide with 1435~2280mm (W) by 845~1415mm (H), installed with 15mm joints.

Exterior aluminium panels coated with "wood grain" style, flame resistant approved decorative adhesive sheets
Exterior aluminium panels coated with “wood grain” style, flame resistant approved decorative adhesive sheets

Kikukawa fabricated the aluminium panels at the entrance of the same project; panels with wood-grain patterned flame-resistant approved decorative adhesive sheets. In total, these panels cover 5855mm (W) by 3000mm (H) area.

Kikukawa is able to respond to various bespoke finishing requests, by developing or combining its technologies and expertise. Other grinding (or polished) and anodized finish samples can be viewed from the link below.
Click here to view “Kikukawa’s Aluminium Finish Samples”

Other examples of grinding and anodized finish. From the left, vibration (VIB or PHL) + anodization in champagne gold, black, and hairline (D-HL) + anodization in silver.
Other examples of grinding and anodized finish. From the left, vibration (VIB or PHL) + anodization in champagne gold, black, and hairline (D-HL) + anodization in silver.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for consultation or to develop new finishes that best achieve the design intent.

June 25, 2019

Metal Craft News

Water Ripple Stainless Steel

Kikukawa develops its own proprietary technologies as required in order to fulfill the design intent as exemplified by the following examples of bespoke mirror-polished water ripple stainless steel.

In recent years, we have observed the rise in the usage of water ripple (embossed) mirror-polished stainless steel. In response to this, Kikukawa has devised a methodology that would allow us to emboss the high-quality mirror polished stainless steel in selected areas at selected depths, without any damages or scratches.

The installed mirror polished stainless steel + embossed ceiling panels

The installed mirror polished stainless steel + embossed ceiling panels

On the top right corner is the aforementioned ceiling panels, contributing to a serene environment.

On the top right corner is the aforementioned ceiling panels, contributing to the creation of a serene space.

The pictured embossed mirror-polished stainless steel represents the disturbances of the water in ripples or waves as designed.

These designed ceiling panels use three 1.0mm thick mirror-polished stainless steel with bent details, sized 900m (W) and 1639mm (H).

Given the beautiful reflective properties of mirror-polished finish, any small dents, scratches or imperfections become accentuated. Thus the higher the quality of the mirror-polish, the more difficult it is to apply any metalworking.

Embossed test pieces. From the left, testing whether the embossing is possible, testing the degree of embossing and testing on an outsized piece.

Embossing test pieces. From the left, testing the feasibility, testing the degree of embossing and testing on an outsized piece.

Based on the design data, Kikukawa fabricated a special mold that was rolled together with the stainless steel. By doing so, these panels are metal-crafted to have the desired depth of embossing at the designed location.

Embossed mirror polished stainless steel, that looks like much like hammertone.

Embossed mirror polished stainless steel, that looks much like hammertone.

Being a bespoke architectural metalworker, Kikukawa finds solutions to implement architectural designs and constructions. The development of this particular fabrication methodology is an example of this.

A similar but different water ripple stainless steel was used for a different project in Kyoto.

Hammertone-like embossed mirror polished stainless steel object

Hammertone-like embossed mirror polished stainless steel object

For feasibility on embossing, product shape or combination with other metal finishes, please consult us.

To see more pictures of the mirror-polished water ripple stainless steel project, click here

To view Kikukawa’s projects with high-quality mirror-polished stainless steel, click here

June 11, 2019

Metal Craft News

Metal Louvres With Bamboo Style Paint

Kikukawa expands design options in architecture by providing various bespoke paint coated metal constructions: examples of bespoke paint include stone-style, bronze-style, oxidized-style (rust), concrete-style, and patina-green style.

The following pictures are one example; metal louvres were painted in bamboo-style for ceiling louvres at a high-end Teppanyaki restaurant in Marunouchi, Tokyo. The bamboo physique is replicated with acrylic paint and randomly placed black spots.

Metal ceiling louvres with bamboo style paint

Metal ceiling louvres with bamboo style paint

Bamboo nodes are replicated with metal

Bamboo nodes are replicated with metal

The bamboo style ceiling louvres are installed at 150mm pitch. Fabricated with round steel pipes of 21.7mm (diameter),  the details of the louvres where they meet the walls are carefully designed so that screws or other fixing systems are invisible to the visitors.

Metal louvres are compared with the bamboo style painted finish sample for quality inspection

Metal louvres are compared with the chosen bamboo style painted finish sample for quality inspection

Receiving plate is also painted in bamboo style

The receiving plate is also painted in bamboo style

The designer’s intent was to replicate the colours of spotted bamboo (bamboos marked with dark spots). The final paint sample was determined after fabricating multiple trials of colour samples on steel pipes.

Replicating the bamboo nodes by welding metal rings

Replicating the bamboo nodes by welding metal rings

The bamboo nodes are fabricated by welding two 2.3mm thick 25.7mm (diameter) ring plates parallelly. There are two patterns of nodes, designed with varying pitches.

When architects specify naturalistic materials such as wood, they tend to face limitations in cost, and functionality such as material strength. With metal, these limitations can be solved for its workability and flexibility in details, as well as its variety in finishes. By combining these advantages with Kikukawa’s bespoke construction services and metalworking expertise, we expand the possibilities of realistic designs and provide metals as an alternative to other materials.

Additionally, Kikukawa has expanded its material surface-preparation and paint coating facilities in January of 2019, further allowing us to answer bespoke paint coating requests.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to inquire about bespoke paint coating or fabrication feasibilities in bespoke metal constructions.

To make an inquiry, click here

To view excerpts of Kikukawa’s paint coated metal samples, click here

May 28, 2019

Metal Craft News

Tsuchime Sakura Tree Sculpture

At Kikukawa, we meet various metal architectural construction needs, from small sculptures, monuments, large panels, to facades. While our expertise lies in designing details and fabrication of bespoke metal constructions, we also offer a unique line of textures and finishes.

Various Tsuchime finished samples that line a wall in Kikukawa's Shiroi factory

Various Tsuchime finished samples that line a wall of Kikukawa’s Shiroi factory

The following Tsuchime-finished (hammertone) Sakura Tree sculpture is one example. By combining the hand-crafted finish and our design, fabrication, and installation technology, as well as our QC knowhow, Kikukawa implemented a unique design for an interior construction project.

A mockup of the copper Tsuchime (hammertone) finished sculpture

A mockup of the copper Tsuchime (hammertone) finished sculpture

The Tsuchime finished (hammertone) copper sculpture is 4000mm in diameter, 17000mm in height, decorated with 2100 pieces of small copper cherry blossoms. The design is inspired by the Japanese cherry blossom trees that transform a riverside walkway to a promenade of white and pink in spring.

The typical specifications of the Tsuchime (hammertone) panels for this project are 0.6mm thick copper sheets, 2000mm (L) and 1000mm (W), hammered then waxed to achieve a red-tinted polished finish.

A closeup of the variously sized Tsuchime finish sample

A closeup of the variously sized Tsuchime finish sample

Two bespoke Tsuchime (hammertone) finishes were developed and used for this project, the variation stemming from the differences in the Tsuchime diameters, 50mm and 15mm. Interestingly, the diameters of the newly developed Tsuchime tools are, in fact, 80mm and 30mm respectively.

Tsuchime (hammertone) is unique in its ability to accommodate various designs; the shapes, sizes and even the depth of each pattern provide variation. These textures are controlled by the tool, its shapes, as well as the craftsman’s workspace and his strength – thus their capability and quality control know-how translate to the quality of the finished patterns.

Based on our involvement in various Tsuchime projects, Kikukawa has developed its own expertise to control the Tsuchime texture. With this, Kikukawa was able to respond to this project’s requirements – of hand-crafted physique, one of beauty, warmth, and imperfection.

The 2100 pieces of cherry blossoms consist of 21 designs, varying in design and sizes.

A mockup of the sakura flower piece

A mockup of the sakura flower piece

A mockup of the sakura flower petal

A mockup of the sakura flower petal

The details of the flower shaped pieces, and the panels were designed with considerations to the installation on-site. Given the butt-joint details, the precision of the installation was key in actualising the design. Kikukawa communicated the specifications and installation methodology with drawings to ensure a smooth installation process.

A mockup of the R curved Tsuchime panel in transportation

A mockup of the R curved Tsuchime panel in transportation

As explained, Kikukawa provides various Tsuchime finished products from small monuments to large facades. These patterns can be viewed from our finish sample books or by inquiry.

For more information on Tsuchime (hammered) finish, click here

To view the Tsuchime finish sample book, click here

To make an inquiry, click here

May 14, 2019

Metal Craft News

Expanded Metal Facade

Kikukawa is proposing expanded metal as a design facade.
Expanded metal is mesh-like sheet metal with wide strands, providing a balanced level of sunlight, visibility, privacy, and openness. The three-dimensional nature of the expanded metal provides depth, providing a varying impression depending on the light condition or angle.

As part of its line of expanded metal, Kikukawa standardized four sets of expanded metal patterns, sheet sizes and installation details as KCT01. This semi-bespoke line of expanded metal is packed with Kikukawa’s expertise in bespoke metalwork, providing a shorter lead-time and lower fabrication costs than those made-to-order.

The following examples are projects that utilized Kikukawa’s KCT01: expanded metal.

A hairdresser in Hiroshima with expanded metal facade

A hairdresser in Hiroshima with expanded metal facade

The first is a hairdresser in Hiroshima, that underwent a facade renovation. The selected expanded metal has a mesh pitch of 203mm, strands of 30mm (product number: CTKEX-D203), and painted white. The 54 panels have standard widths of 985mm, the D-shaped openings are vertically oblong.

Expanded metals are well-suited for facade renovations

Expanded metals are well-suited for facade renovations

The expanded surface creates a three dimensional effect. The simple fastening systems puts the large openings to good use.

The expanded surface creates a three-dimensional effect. Kikukawa’s simple fastening systems put the large openings to good use.

KCT01 is equipped with an easy-to-install fastening system, developed and provided by Kikukawa. Thus the hairdresser was able to continue their typical store hours while undergoing the renovation.

The second project is an electronics factory in Fukushima.

Expanded metals as screens, at Fukushima's electronics factory.

Expanded metals as screens, at Fukushima’s electronics factory.

The expanded metals are installed at a predefined pitch

The expanded metals are installed at a predefined pitch

The selected expanded metal has a mesh pitch of 99mm, strands of 22mm (product number: CTKEX-D99), and painted white. The standard sizes of the 49 expanded metal panels are 990mm(W) by 3000mm(H) with D-shaped openings oblong, installed at a predefined pitch of 1830mm.

Expanded metal seen from the interior. The screen provides shade and sunlight.

Expanded metal screen from the interior. The screen provides shade and sunlight.

Kikukawa has the ability to provide and work expanded metal into a design facade.
Unlike Kikukawa’s typical bespoke metalworking products, KCT01 is sold on a metal-sheet basis with fastening systems. The semi-bespoke line of perforated expanded metals, Rattan, are also available upon request.

Please consult us when considering expanded metal in architectural projects.

Click here for more details on Expanded Metal Louvres

April 23, 2019

Metal Craft News

The Door of Kikukawa’s New Sample Room, Studio K+

At Kikukawa, we combine cutting edge technology and craftsmanship to implement designs. In addition to this, we explore new technologies and methodologies and review our knowhow to achieve and refine our fabrication.

As an example of this, we introduce the door of Kikukawa’s new sample room that opened on April 10th, 2019.

The Akagane door of Studio K+

The Akagane door of Studio K+

The 2063mm high and 1608mm wide glass double swing door has a 1400mm diameter bowl-shaped sulfurized* aluminium attached to its surface. The 450mm long handles are fabricated by combining, twisting and bending 20 bronze round bars.

There are 235 pieces of decorative copper round bars embedded to the wooden frame, each 10mm in diameter, its number increasing from the top right to the bottom left.

By implementing the bowl-shape with aluminium, the doors are lighter than if it was made of bronze, and is easier to open/close. The fabrication was as follows. The bowl-shape is shaped with incremental forming, a dieless forming technology, and cut in half with the 3D laser cutting machine. The use of incremental forming reduced the fabrication lead-time in comparison to the conventional fabrication methodology. And by using 3D laser cutting machine, the two aluminium pieces fit perfectly together.

The aluminium bowl-shaped piece cut in half

The aluminium bowl-shaped piece cut in half

Once formed, the aluminium was sulfurized. Typically, sulfurization is only available for bronze alloys, however, Kikukawa developed a new methodology to allow this for aluminium.

The aluminium piece, sulfurized

The aluminium piece, sulfurized

As for the handles, they were twisted then bent to achieve its unique aesthetics. The difficulties with this process are in fixing the location of the twist and achieving it equally for all round bars.

The twisted door handles

The twisted door handles

As described above, Kikukawa’s metalwork develops and explores new technology and methodologies in its fabrication works.

The 3D perspective drawing of the door

The 3D perspective drawing of the door

To visit Studio K+, contact us here

For more information on Studio K+, click here

For more information on incremental forming, click here

For more information on sulfurization, click here

*Sulfurization is a finishing technique that recreates the rich brown hues of patinated bronze that would otherwise take decades to form.

April 9, 2019

Metal Craft News

Mirror-polished Stainless Steel Ribbon Panel

For high-quality mirror-polished stainless steel panels, the requirements include a flawless reflection. This requirement is true regardless of the shape and size of the product, and Kikukawa has the capabilities to answer to this request.

The following pictures show the stainless steel border panels at the staircase of The Ginza Cosmetics Ginza, a skincare brand store that opened in Ginza in November of 2018. (The Ginza is offered by a group company of Shiseido.)
The panels are double-curved, running upwards along the staircase. Regardless of this complex shape, Kikukawa’s mirror-polished stainless steel panels are high in quality.

Mirror-polished stainless steel panel that curves upwards

Mirror-polished stainless steel panels that curve upwards

The mirror-polished ribbon panels seen from the second floor

The mirror-polished ribbon panels seen from the second floor

The mirror-polished ribbon panels are roughly 420mm high, with cut-panel details. The 3mm edges were polished carefully as well. Each floor consists of 3~4 butt-joint panels, each panel installed next to another. The joints are hard to distinguish due to the precision of the installation works.

The mirror polished ceiling panels

The mirror polished ceiling panels

For the event space in B2 floor of The Ginza Cosmetics Ginza, Kikukawa also fabricated the mirror-polished ceiling panels. The 3068mm by 5441mm ceiling panels with 3.0mm cut panel details are honeycombed at the back to ensure flatness. The three central mirror-polished panels, 1381mm by 1768mm are also butt-joint.

Quality inspection of the double-curved mirror-polished stainless steel panels

Quality inspection of the double-curved mirror-polished stainless steel panels

Checking the reflections of the mirror-polished stainless steel ceiling panel

Checking the reflections of the mirror-polished stainless steel ceiling panel

Kikukawa has the QC know-how to ensure the high-quality of our mirror-polished stainless steel panels. This is true for flat panels as well as those with complex designs.

To find out more about Kikukawa’s contributions to the Shiseido brand, SHISEIDO THE STORE, click here

March 26, 2019

Metal Craft News

A Stairway to Design Implementation

At Kikukawa, we are committed to implementing the design of every project. This is true for our bespoke metalwork and metal construction services, as well as in collaboration works with other materials and other fabricators. By providing assistance in such a way that fully utilizes the features of each product and design, we ensure the success of each project.

The following pictures are from the 80th-anniversary project of Haseko Corporation*, “Haseko Technical Center”**. Kikukawa provided the steel structural staircase, and the outdoor handrails and strings. The center is comprised of three buildings; an administration building, a housing performance test building, and a multi-purpose test building. The administration building houses the Haseko Condominium Museum on its second floor.

West side of the Haseko Technical Center. To the left is where Kikukawa's steel staircase is situated.

The west side of the Haseko Technical Center. To the left is where Kikukawa’s steel staircase is situated

The L-shaped steel structural staircase is situated in the main entrance area of Haseko Condominium Museum.

The staircase in the entrance hall

The staircase in the entrance hall

The view after turning the L-shaped landing

The view from the staircase landing

The administration building is transparent and spacious, wrapped in a glass facade. Adding to this physique is the steel staircase, the footboard wrapped in wood and the glass balustrades supported by the DPG system.

The shape of the stairs is more evident from the side.

The supporting system of the stairs are evident from the side

The staircase is 7730mm long, and 4730mm wide, and 5300mm high. The L shaped stairs are supported by the two columns below the staircase landing and the two square pipe strings that stretch from the columns to the first and second floor. Although the strings were originally designed as one, the resulting design became two with consideration to the tremors. With consideration to the design, the two strings are placed in equal distance, and the columns are placed diagonally below the landing.

The rear side of the staircase reveals the stringer pipes and the diagonal allocation of columns

The rear side of the staircase reveals the stringer pipes and the diagonal allocation of the columns

The outdoor handrails and string are at the border of the wooden path that connects the three buildings within Haseko Technical Center and ensuring the biotope*** outside the wooden path. The handrails are fabricated in stainless steel with consideration to the exterior conditions.

The wooden path leading to the square, and the glass handrails

The wooden path leading to the square, and the glass handrails

The handrails are in total 72437mm long. The covers are made from 1.5mm HL finished stainless steel and the supporting plates are plated to enhance the stainless properties of the material.

The spacious square

The spacious square

As shown, Kikukawa provides products that fully implement the design intent, regardless of the material.

 

*For more information on Haseko Corporation, click here
https://www.haseko.co.jp/hc/english/profile.html

**For more information on Haseko Technical Center, click here (Japanese link)
https://www.haseko.co.jp/htc/

***Biotope: a region secured to support the habitat of a particular ecological community.

March 12, 2019

Metal Craft News

Exterior Signage, Letters

At Kikukawa, we provide solutions for exterior constructions (that look like signage) and monument works.

The following pictures are the exterior of a kindergarten, coloured by the 51 Hiragana (Japanese) letters. Each letter is roughly 400mm by 400mm, laser cut from a 3mm thick stainless steel sheet. The letters are composed of a base and the coloured front, with the connecting joints ranging in height from 50mm, 100mm or 200mm. Placed strategically, the letters signify the branches of a tree.

Exterior signage letters placed in a tree shape

Exterior signage letters placed in a tree shape

The letters are different in height, 50mm, 100mm and 200mm

The letters are different in height, 50mm, 100mm, and 200mm

The exterior letter, its shadow, and the base create a beautifully designed contrast.

The exterior joints are finished carefully

The exterior joints are finished carefully

The joints needed to be finished carefully for aesthetics, while also having the necessary strength. The panels are designed so that the assembled signage would fulfill both requirements.

The colour samples are fabricated within our Kikukawa factory

The colour samples are fabricated within our Kikukawa factory

The letters are made of 47 unique colours. The panels were quality controlled within the Kikukawa factory from the design stage to the final installation, thus fulfilling the requirements of our clients and exceeding their expectations.

For any metal constructions, or metal designs and metallic expressions, please consult us.

*Kikukawa has built a new facility that allows us to prepare the surface of the aluminium sheets prior to the paint coating process in January 2019.

February 26, 2019

Metal Craft News

Jointless Extra Large Dual Curved Monument

At Kikukawa, we fabricate jointless extra large dual curved monument from design to installation, using our expertise in metalwork.

Artworks and monuments tend to be required in small lots in a unique, complex shape. In realising these designed shapes, metals tend to be chosen for its high designability and workability. Especially artworks that are extra-large or complex in shape, or those that would be placed outside or in coastal areas, considerations to installation and fabrication methodology are required from the design stage.

Kikukawa has been providing solutions to such projects as metal construction experts. Spheres and double curved shapes, such as triple helixes, require highly-specialised metalworking know-how and technologies.

The following is such an example, a parabolic arch made with 4.5mm thick steel sheets with max. width at 852mm.  The arch itself is 7355mm high and the food-width is 1783mm wide. In addition to the curve as an arch, the steel plate curves inwards, much like the shape of a tong.

The completed and installed monument

The completed and installed monument

Due to its size, this monument was fabricated from 5 pieces. Each piece was bent and curved before it was welded together. The monument was finished and shipped as one-piece to maintain and ensure its quality.

The difficulties in fabricating these extra large double curved monuments are in fabrication, and in installation. At Kikukawa, the fabrication difficulties were overcome by combining expert craftsmanship and precise bending technologies. For shipping and installation, our experts planned carefully in advance for a smooth delivery.

Bending the pieces. Teamwork is of utmost importance to fabricating large products

Bending the pieces. Teamwork is of utmost importance to fabricate large products

Preparing the pieces for welding. The precision of this process decides the welding quality

Preparing the pieces for welding. The precision of this process decides the welding quality

Welding the pieces upright to maintain their shapes. Welding this way requires expertise

Welding the pieces upright to maintain their shapes. Welding this way requires expertise

After welding the pieces, they are carefully re-finished, then prepared to prevent oxidation. The joint areas are indistinguishable on the final product that was painted in metallic grey.

Installation and inspection testing the product

Installation testing and inspection of the product

The monument is inspected and tested within our factory before shipment. In doing so, we refine our installation methodologies, leading to a smoother installation process onsite.

As shown above, Kikukawa provides design to installation services of extra large double curved monuments or artworks. By selecting the most suitable fabrication and installation methodology based on product shape, material or installation areas, we ensure the delivery of high-quality metal works.

For more information on Kikukawa’s monuments, click here

February 12, 2019

Metal Craft News

Panels with Oxidized Physique

“Oxidized paint” is a finish that results from the combination of Kikukawa’s custom painting and colouring technology. As a finish that replicates the oxidized rustic physique of steel, without the actual rust or its peeling, this look is sought by designers that wish to utilize the aesthetics of rust without its nuisance.

A closeup of the selected "oxidized paint". (Similar to the tones of Irus: IR-02.1)

A closeup of the selected “oxidized paint” (similar to the tones of Irus: IR-02.1)

Steel finish samples including Irus (oxidized paint) are available here

The following panels are from a project with 3mm aluminium exterior* cut-panel details with urethane “oxidized” paint coat. The gently curved panels are finished with red-tinted rustic paint.

Gently curved panels with "oxidized paint"

Gently curved panels with “oxidized paint”

Installation of the cut-detail access panels

Installation of the cut-detail access panels

The larger panels, gently curved and with cut-panel details, are roughly 600mm to 800mm wide, and 1600mm high. The smaller panels, also with cut-panel details, are roughly 260mm wide and 3610mm high. As the above picture shows, the square 600mm curved access panels are in alignment with the other panels.

Inspecting the colours of the "oxidized paint"

Inspecting the colours of the “oxidized paint”

Inspecting the consistency of the panels with "oxidized paint"

Inspecting the consistency of the panels with “oxidized paint”

The oxidized paint coat is a hand-painted finish. While each panel is finished one-by-one by our craftsmen, the colours are controlled to ensure consistency.

For this project, the aluminium surface was prepared in another factory. With the establishment of Kikukawa’s new aluminium surface-preparation facility this January, these custom painted finishes can be fabricated and quality controlled at Kikukawa.

As a bespoke architectural metalworker, Kikukawa will consult and provide solutions to projects with custom coating requirements. Please contact us for details or inquiries.

For more information on Kikukawa’s new facility, click here

*Irus was invented as a finish for interior use. For exterior use, please consult us prior to your selection.

January 29, 2019

Metal Craft News

Bespoke Copper Hood

As a bespoke architectural metalworker, Kikukawa’s main specialty has been in large interior and exterior constructions. As exemplified by the establishment of the interior division earlier this month, Kikukawa is also an expert in small-scale or smaller sized products such as the following copper hood.

The pictures below show the fabrication process. Ultimately meant for a high-end restaurant in Ginza, this space houses counter seats which face the kitchen where the food is served directly from the chef.
Kikukawa’s handcrafted copper hood, a piece that balances both aesthetics and functionality, lies in the centre of this kitchen, contributing to a calming and classic ambiance of the Japanese-style space.

This hood is shaped like a half cylindrical tube, cut diagonally then welded with a lid at the top. It is roughly 630mm in diameter and its height ranges from 245mm to 360mm.

The texture of the copper and the gloss of the clear coating is a beauty in itself

The texture of the copper and the gloss of the clear coating is a beauty in itself

The selected finish is PHL and clear coating. This unique texture stems from the PHL finish which softens the natural red glisten of the copper, and the clear coating which emphasizes its shine. The clear coating allows the natural tint of the copper to be enjoyed for a longer period.

Copper alloys with PHL and clear coating. From the left, copper, bronze and brass. (Please confirm the colours with an actual sample.)

Copper alloys with PHL and clear coating. From the left; copper, bronze and brass. (Please confirm the colours with an actual sample.)

A Kikukawa craftsman carefully applying a coat of clear coating

A Kikukawa craftsman carefully applying a coat of the clear coating

With the fabrication of copper products that requires both aesthetic and functionality, the most difficult process is considered to be welding. As copper alloys have a higher thermal conductivity in comparison to other metals such as steel, problems such as welding strength, distortion or discolouration occurs more easily.
At Kikukawa, we overcome these potential issues by applying high-quality bending and cutting, as well as careful welding by expert craftsman that fully utilizes their expertise.

A Kikukawa craftsman carefully welding the copper pieces

A Kikukawa craftsman carefully welding the copper pieces

Inspecting the copper hood

Inspecting the copper hood

This project is an example of the OSS (One Stop Solution) system, which means that Kikukawa was responsible for the process from fabrication to installation.

With interior constructions, attention to details influences the product’s quality, in aesthetics and functionality, especially for appliance-related products. Kikukawa will continue to contribute to interior constructions by using its know-how established from bespoke metal constructions.

January 8, 2019

Metal Craft News

Shumon, the Super Large Folding Door

While roller shutters and overhead doors are common options for large openings, many solutions have limitations such as loud operating noises or necessity for large retracting space.

Kikukawa’s Shumon, a super large folding door system, is favored for its functionality and aesthetics, particularly its smooth, quiet and quick operation. This is a product fabricated and sold by Kikukawa in partnership with Gartner.

The following pictures are from Narahara branch of Hachioji fire department in Tokyo, a second fire department branch to install the automatic type of Shumon. The opening is 15m (W) x 4m (H), separated by two sets of two doors that open at the center to both sides.

Eight 1,800mm(W) by 4,000mm(H) doors cover the large opening

Eight 1,800mm(W) by 4,000mm(H) doors cover the large opening

Two doors consist a set of super large folding door. The opening allows a fire fighter truck and two ambulances to drive through.

Two doors consist a set of the super large folding door system. The opening allows a firefighter truck and two ambulances to drive through.

For this branch, the Shumon doors are glass types painted white. The operating noise is roughly 40-decibel*, and the opening time is about 11 seconds. The glass doors allow visibility and provide a sense of security within the neighborhood.

*Decibel(dB): a unit to measure the intensity of a sound. Typically, “quiet” household electronics operate under 50dB; 40dB is considered to be equivalent to the noise level within a library.

Inspecting the electric driver unit from the access panel at the top

Inspecting the electric drive unit from the access panel at the top

Inspecting the operation by switching the doors from electric to manual

Inspecting the manual operation of the doors

Other features of Shumon include the following.
-The electric drive unit fits in the 450mm(H) access panels at the top, removing the necessity for additional ceiling constructions.
-Touch sensors ensure safe operation by detecting any obstacles when closing and stopping the operation automatically.
-During an emergency such as black-outs or malfunction, the doors can be switched from electric to manual operation with a single touch.
-The doors can be opened with ease by hand.

Shumon door catches, hinges and gaskets.

Shumon door catches, hinges, and gaskets.

The hinges supporting these super large doors are maintenance-free (conditions: 10 years, or 200,000 overhead opening operations). The custom gaskets improve airtightness, which contributes to quieter operations and reduces the energy necessary for operation.

The super large folding door shumon is available in various colours, and types such as glass or windows. Projects that used Shumon include fire departments, schools, factories and other public facilities (including the Japan Racing Association).

For large opening door solutions, please contact us.

For more information on SLF door, Shumon (Japanese product brochure)

For an example of Shumon installed project, click here

December 25, 2018

Metal Craft News

Taper Cutting with Fiber Laser Cutting Machine

For a sharp edge or joint, some projects require the section of sheet metals to be tapered. Typically, this tapering process is done with a milling machine or by hand.

At Kikukawa, we offer taper cutting sheet metals with the single mode fiber laser cutting machine, in addition to other metalworking methodologies. The benefit of using the fiber laser cutting machine is that it can move in three-dimensional axis (x, y, z), with high precision. This means that the lead-time is shorter, and that taper cutting curves are possible.

Applicable tapering angles range from 36-degrees to 90-degrees.
Restrictions on the curvature or applicable metal sheet sizes vary depending on the material and the product shape.

An example of a 45-degree taper cut sample, placed at a 90-degree angle. The high quality of the cut can be observed from the clean edges

An example of a 45-degree taper cut sample, placed at a 90-degree angle. The high quality of the cut can be observed from the clean edges

The available angle ranges from 36-degrees to 90-degrees

The available angle ranges from 36-degrees to 90-degrees

 

Examples of taper cutting with a fiber laser cutting machine. Straight edges and curvatures are both available

Examples of taper cutting with a fiber laser cutting machine. Taper cutting available in both straight edges and curves

 

A square pipe sample with various laser cutting. Despite the complexity of the cut, the sample fits perfectly together

A square pipe sample with various single mode fiber laser cutting. Despite the complexity of the cut, the sample fits well together

A close look at the sample reveals that the square pipe sample is cut in straight, curves and in taper

A close look at the sample reveals that the square pipe sample is cut in straight, curves and in taper

Kikukawa is able to respond to various metal cutting needs; from taper cutting to other cutting needs – Kikukawa actualises various architectural products with shearing, milling, turret punch, laser cutting machines and at times with expert handicraft. Please do not hesitate to contact us for consultations or fabrication feasibility.

Click here for more information on our fiber laser cutting machine

December 11, 2018

Metal Craft News

Ultra-sized Panel System

Product sizes are usually limited by the market available metal sheet sizes. However, by utilizing Kikukawa’s various welding technologies (such as FSW and laser welding), Kikukawa is able to fabricate extremely wide or long panels. Kikukawa’s new limitations are transportation, lifting load, and installation conditions.

As Kikukawa’s system relies on the combination of factory welding, and on-site welding, Kikukawa is able to fabricate and install extremely large (ultra-sized)  panels. This fabrication system is achievable by considering and reflecting the following specifications to the design drawings; from the selection of the thickness of the material to the interlaminar distortion level, and the calculation of thermal expansion upon welding, to the transportation and installation sequence.

Each face of the building within this courtyard is installed as a single panel

Each face of the building within this courtyard is installed as a single panel

The only visible joints are at the corners, emphasizing the extreme sizes of the panels

The only visible joints are at the corners, emphasizing the extreme sizes of the panels

The exterior of the buildings in the courtyard, library and multi-purpose room of this high school reflects the designer intent to fabricate each face of the building in a one-panel unit.
The panels are made of 12mm thick steel sheets, hot-dip galvanized then painted with fluororesin coating. (Different paint was used for on-site paint coating.) Roughly 400 square-meters of exterior panels consist of 15 panels, with the maximum size being 18m wide and 4m high.

Welding and finishing the panels on-site

Welding and finishing the panels on-site

To fabricate these ultra-sized panels, 9 shop-welding and 14 on-site welding were conducted. Typically, distortions from the welding do not allow for on-site welding for facade panels. However, Kikukawa calculated these risks and implemented strongback frames, as well as careful considerations in the welding procedure to minimize distortion.

Regardless of the shape or the adjoining fixtures details, each face consists of a single extremely large panel

Regardless of the shape or the adjoining fixtures details, each face consists of a single extremely large panel

18m wide and 4m high panels, fabricated with the ultra size panel system

18m wide and 4m high panels, fabricated with the ultra size panel system

Demands for jointless products are increasing, and to respond to these needs, Kikukawa will continue to challenge the limitations of extremely wide or long panels.

For more information on FSW, one of Kikukawa’s welding technology, click here

For more information on extremely wide or long panels, click here

November 27, 2018

Metal Craft News

A Case of 3D Design

Amongst the various construction materials, metal is considered as most flexible and workable. To maximize and translate these benefits into architectural metalwork, one of the necessary expertise is in design. Metal construction detail designers are required to have extensive knowledge; from the various building parts to the details of each, as well as the characteristics of each metal.

In addition to the expertise, Kikukawa’s design team is strengthening its 3D design capabilities and accommodations.

This arch is an example of such a case. Kikukawa contributed to this project, where various architects and contractors and fabricators communicated and adjusted design, fabrication, and installation based on a single 3D model. The crafted arch showcases Kikukawa’s metal-craft and our capabilities in accommodating the everchanging needs towards BIM.

The one-piece steel arch contributes to the making of an elegant space

The one-piece steel arch contributes to the making of an elegant space

The parabolic arch is made of 4.5mm thick steel.
The 1783mm wide and 7355mm tall arch draws a double-curve; narrowing towards the top and the edges of the panel curling inwards.

The 3D model of a parabolic steel arch and a silhouette of a 170cm tall man.

The 3D model of a parabolic steel arch and a silhouette of a 170cm tall man.

The actual steel arch

The actual steel arch

The 3D design of the steel construction is carried out on 3D CAD, based on Kikukawa’s expertise in metal craft. This expertise, for example, is the expansion or the distortion of the metal sheets during metalcraft. To draw designs with considerations to spring-back or minimal expansions of the metal sheets during manufacture, any issue encountered onsite is communicated and shared to the design team.
By repeating this process and accumulating hands-on expertise, Kikukawa has been building its 3D design expertise and know-how.

The connecting areas are checked within the 3D model (steel arch shown in green)

The connecting areas are checked within the 3D model (steel arch shown in green)

The actual metal piece. The installation was smooth as the details were checked in 3D beforehand.

The actual metal piece. The installation was smooth as the details were checked in 3D beforehand.

Behind Kikukawa strengthening its capabilities in 3D design is the spread of BIM, evident in the growing number of cases requiring 3D data and design accommodations.
The benefits of utilizing 3D data include the reduction of lead time for drawing and a smooth installation, as verified in this steel arch case.

Kikukawa will continue to build its expertise in 3D design through metalcraft.

Please contact us for more information on design consultations and design accommodations.

*Click here to learn more about Kikukawa’s 3D processing technology

*Click here to learn about projects using 3D CAD

November 13, 2018

Metal Craft News

Facade Renovation with Galvanized and Zinc Phosphate Coated Steel Panels

Zinc phosphate coated steel elevates the natural crystalline aesthetics of hot-dipped galvanized steel for decorative use. It is recently attracting attention for its natural, luxurious, stately ambiance and gray tones that settle over time – an effect that cannot be actualised with paint coatings.

The resulting colours and patterns of the zinc phosphate coating are highly dependant on conditions such as material composition or the thickness of the material, making the process an art as much as it is science. However, KIKUKAWA has an established quality control to ensure a level of consistency in the finish.

An example of a renovation construction featured today is a facade with hot-dipped galvanized and zinc phosphate coated steel panels. The steel panels were treated with hot-dip galvanization and dark zinc phosphate coating (Phozinc: PZ-03), to be used as the facade of a gallery.

Dark zinc phosphate coated panels form a chic facade

Dark zinc phosphate coated panels form a chic facade

The facade before and after the renovation

The facade before and after the renovation

While the facade was previously a shop window, the renovated facade is lined with cut-edge 2.3mm thick steel panels. The panels contribute to the establishment of a composed ambiance.

The rectangular hot-dipped galvanized and zinc phosphate coated panels contribute to a Japanese ambiance

The rectangular hot-dipped galvanized and zinc phosphate coated panels contribute to a Japanese-esque ambiance

The 48 panels form a 15m long wall, with the standard panel size being 283mm (W) x 3220mm (H).

The entrance steel doors are also lined with hot-dipped and zinc phosphate coated steel panels

The entrance doors are also lined with hot-dipped and zinc phosphate coated steel panels

The automatic entrance flush doors are lined with similarly dark phosphate coated panels of 2100mm (W) x 2750mm (H).

Comparing an approved finish sample and the actual panels

Comparing an approved finish sample and the actual panels

Inspecting the 48 hot-dipped galvanized and zinc phosphate coated panels

Inspecting the 48 hot-dipped galvanized and zinc phosphate coated panels

By lining the panels, the consistency of colour is inspected. These panels are installed strategically on-site to ensure a natural colour gradation.

Zinc phosphate coatings have limitations such as size, shape, and difficulties in controlling the finishing colours. However, Kikukawa’s Phozinc is quality controlled with our metal expertise and technology to respond to the project requirements.

For more information on zinc phosphate coating, click here

For more information on Kikukawa’s renovation constructions, click here

October 22, 2018

Metal Craft News

Structural Art, an Interior Spiral Staircase in London

At Kikukawa, we provide bespoke facades as well as structurally artistic projects and interiors.

The interior spiral staircase introduced today is an example of such a project. The minimalistic and iconic staircase connects the three floors, winding around a transparent circular lift shaft. To implement this design, the spiral staircase was designed, calculated and fabricated with minimal supporting balusters or supporting braces.

The spiral staircase of Japan House London

The spiral staircase of ‘Japan House London’

This project, ‘Japan House London’ *, opened in June of 2018, taking up a Grade II Heritage Listed Art Deco building that was once a department store on Kensington High Street. The interior was remodeled based on the design concept developed by Masamichi Katayama, a renowned interior designer and founder of Wonderwall.

In implementing a space with ‘Japan’s aesthetics and the mindset of its people in mind’, the design and the functionality of the central spiral staircase was key. To transform the steel frame of the spiral staircase into structural art, various considerations were necessary; from the selection of the material to the actual fabrication, and the calculation of the structural plan by 3D analysis model in collaboration with Ney & Partners.

The corrugated ceiling of the spiral staircase forming a three dimensional curvature

The corrugated ceiling of the spiral staircase forming a three-dimensional curvature

The dimensions of the spiral staircase are as follows: the outer radius is 3400mm, the entire spiral staircase is 9420mm high, and the staircase width is 1322mm.

The curving stringer is formed with a 40mm thick high-performance steel. The ceiling is fabricated with 6mm thick steel sheets, cut into triangles and placed alternatively to form a simple curved geometry. The handrails are formed with φ19mm round-bar balusters and φ42.7mm round-pipes.

One of the defining features of this handrail is in the structure of the handrails. Typically, this detail is welded, however, the φ19mm balusters are inserted into the three-dimensionally curved 40mm thick stringers. The process of drilling circular holes into a curving stringer was challenging. Yet it was precisely this detail that enabled the minimalist form of the handrails.

Stairs and handrails lit up. The handrails are stylishly painted black with synthetic resin paint.

Stairs and handrails lit up. The handrails are stylishly painted black with synthetic resin paint.

As a project in the UK, various considerations specific to overseas projects were necessary, such as shipping and crating plans. By collaborating with the directors, general contractor, and installers, Kikukawa overcame various difficulties for this project.

Packing and shipping plans are visually presented to ensure smooth communication with the team on site

Packing and shipping plans were visually presented to ensure smooth communication with the team on-site

Interior architecture and interiors must balance art and functionality to enhance and achieve a space for the people who use them. At Kikukawa, we accommodate and implement interiors by applying our expertise and know-how built through bespoke metal architectural constructions in Japan and overseas.

For more information on Japan House London, click here

For more information on Masamichi Katayama, click here

 

*Japan House – a project supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in hopes to nurture deeper understanding and appreciation of Japan by introducing its culture, and its charms.

October 9, 2018

Metal Craft News

Extra Large Mirror Polished Stainless Steel Panel

Kikukawa has the expertise to provide extra large high-quality mirror polished stainless steel panels. The following pictures are from the quality inspection conducted on a mirror-polished panel over 1500mm(W) x 5000mm(L), its high-quality and flatness apparent from the beautiful reflection.

Typically, extra-wide or extra-large mirror polished stainless steel panels are provided in thicker sheets with cut-edge panel details, to ensure the high-quality of the finish. The difficulty comes from the quality of the metal sheet material, as sheets over 2mm tend to have pores, and this tendency increases with larger sized sheets. Additionally, larger panels are proportionally heavier, requiring more time, people and care during handling.

At Kikukawa, these difficulties have been addressed, overcome and accumulated as know-how. We share our quality control expertise with the material providers and the polishers to ensure the high-quality of the panels.

Inspecting the quality of large mirror-polished stainless steel panel by hanging it with a crane

Inspecting the quality of a large mirror-polished stainless steel panel by hanging it with a crane

Kikukawa was entrusted for our commitment to high-quality and to the design requirements to fabricate the bespoke mirror-polished panels for an overseas project in Lithuania. The mirror-polished panels will form the exterior walls and the roof.

Large mirror-polished stainless steel panel, reflecting the beautiful day

Large mirror-polished stainless steel panel, reflecting the beautiful day. Distortions were not found

Exterior wall panels –  5mm thick sheets of SUS304, the largest being 1810mm (W) x 6440mm(L) in size will be lined vertically to form a 13m high four-sided exterior wall.

Large mirror polished roof panels in the factory

Large mirror polished roof panels in the factory

The bent detail of the mirror polished roof panel

The bent detail of the mirror polished roof panel

Roof panels – 5mm thick sheets of SUS304, the largest being 1750mm(W) x 7990mm(L) in size. The 14 panels will form a 240㎡ roof.

Please note that projects with stainless steel panels over the market-available metal sheet sizes require considerations such as procurement period and minimum order quantity. Please consult us for more information.

For more information on Kikukawa’s projects with the mirror-polished finish, click here

September 25, 2018

Metal Craft News

Kikukawa’s interior construction, exhibit at Japan House

While Kikukawa specializes in bespoke metal constructions, we also accommodate artistic monuments or interior construction for exhibits and galleries. Today, we introduce such example – an exhibit hosted by Japan House*, Prototyping in Tokyo.

This exhibit showcases Professor Shunji Yamanaka’s design and engineering works through his development of cutting-edge prototypes.

Prototyping in Tokyo, Japan House, at a glance

Prototyping in Tokyo, Japan House, at a glance

The design concept of the exhibition space is “picture scrolls.”
To contextualize this,  designer Motosuke Mandai envisioned a space filled with floating picture scrolls.

The key to implementing this design was in the realisation of picture scrolls. The “picture scrolls” are fabricated with paint coated steel sheets and supported by wires and legs in various places.

actualised by the metal sheets sinking in various places from the asymmetrical support

Gentle curves actualised by the metal sheets sinking in various places from the asymmetrical support

Quality inspection of the tables at Kikukawa's factory in Chiba

Quality inspection of the tables at Kikukawa’s factory in Chiba

The 3.2mm steel metal sheets, painted white with acrylic resin, are supported by 8mm diameter stainless steel rods and 19mm diameter silver painted round pipes.

Each steel table undergoes careful inspection by Kikukawa's employees and the designers

Each steel table undergoes careful inspection by Kikukawa’s employees and the designers

This exhibit will tour Japan House galleries worldwide, from Sao Paulo to Los Angeles to London.

At Kikukawa, we accommodate interiors, interior construction, and decorative hardware by applying our expertise and know-how built through bespoke metal architectural constructions.

*Japan House – a project supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in hopes to nurture deeper understanding and appreciation of Japan by introducing Japan, its culture, and its charms.

To find out more about Japan House, click here

To find out more about Motosuke Mandai, click here

September 11, 2018

Metal Craft News

Flexible Panel System

When installing variously shaped panels with varying angles, the quality of the product and installation precision is key to the project’s success.

Kikukawa’s “flexible panel system” is a system of a backing-frames designed for smooth installation of panels with different shapes at varying angles. The differences incurred during installation on-site can be absorbed with this system of pipe cradlings and flexible brackets.

A mock-up to test the "flexible panel system"

A mock-up to test the “flexible panel system”

A drawing of mirror polished stainless steel panels with "flexible panel system"

A drawing of mirror polished stainless steel panels with “flexible panel system”

The “flexible panel system” was developed for a project – known as the kaleidoscope – to install the triangular mirror polished stainless steel panels of varying shapes, sizes and angles.

Mirror polished stainless steel panels for the architectural kaleidoscope

Mirror polished stainless steel panels for the architectural kaleidoscope

The tips, the joints and the angles are installed with high precision.

Exterior view of the kaleidoscopic mirror polished stainless steel

Exterior view of the kaleidoscopic mirror polished stainless steel

Interior view of the kaleidoscopic mirror polished stainless steel

Interior view of the kaleidoscopic mirror polished stainless steel

As planned and as drawn, the high-quality mirror polished stainless steel panels were installed successfully.

This kaleidoscopic project is “Tokyu Plaza, Omotesando Harajuku”.
For more information, click here

August 29, 2018

Metal Craft News

Implementation of BIM and Kikukawa’s Accommodations

At Kikukawa, we are supporting the implementation of BIM* by accommodating 3D design data from consultation, designing to fabrication.

Here, we introduce such an example, an interior ramp that was built using 3D data. The largest panel of this ramp is up to 2600mm(W) and 2731mm (H). Given the hypotrochoid shape of the ramp and the size of the panel, the details of the panels needed to be designed three-dimensionally.

3D design data of the interior ramp.

3D design data of the interior ramp.

A panel is extracted from the 3D data to consider the detail designs.

A panel is extracted from the 3D data to consider the detail designs.

From the receipt of the design data to the approval of the drawings, all communications with the client were done using 3D data.

The detail designs are written in 3D.

The detail designs are written in 3D.

Internally, the 3D data was used to consider design details, to draw production designs, to assemble the panel and to plan packing.

3D data used to assemble the panel. Communications are smoother with a visual description.

3D data used to assemble the panel. Communications are smoother with a visual description.

The benefits of BIM is recognized worldwide. Within Japan, the adoption of BIM is becoming more common to accommodate complex designs and to increase efficiency.

Since the introduction of a 3D-CAD dedicated machine in 1990, Kikukawa has worked to build our expertise in 3D design. This shaped Kikukawa to be an expert in 3D-CAD designs and BIM accommodations within the metal-crafting industry.

Today, we accommodate the following application software.
3D-CAD (Computer-Aided Design)
-Rhinoceros
-Inventor
-Vectorworks
-SolidWorks
BIM (Building Information Modeling)
-Autodesk Revit

Please contact us for more information, or for inquiries on the accommodation of BIM designs.

Click here to learn more about the spiral staircase of Bloomberg London

Click here to learn more about Kikukawa’s 3D processing technology

*BIM (Building Information Modeling): digital representation of a building, used to manage the project throughout the building’s life cycle.

August 7, 2018

Metal Craft News

Rough-tone Metal, P Series

Rough-tone metal is Kikukawa’s proprietary embossing technology, which implements cast-like textures. The produced panels are low in cost, light in weight, versatile in function and provide the stately aesthetics of metal.

Kikukawa’s rough-tone metal is offered in two series: P and R. The P series is a collection of sharp embossing and deep-drawn patterns, while the R series is a collection of roll embossing patterns implemented with proprietary machinery and dies. These patterns are suitable for a variety of occasions as both interiors and exteriors.

Here, we introduce 2mm black aluminium exterior panels, decorated with rough-tone, P series, KU-P513. This abbreviation stands for 12mm wide and 74mm long oval patterns.

A mock-up of the corner panel with rough-tone metal, P series

A mock-up of the corner panel with rough-tone metal P series

The embossing occurs every 86.6mm in width and 61.8mm in length. By controlling the frequency of the pattern, a horizontal pattern becomes evident.

Checking the level of embossing patterns

Quality inspection of the depth of embossing patterns

Suspending the panels for quality inspection

Suspending the panels for quality inspection

The quality inspection extends from the size of the panel to its flatness.

Inspecting the installation precision

Inspecting the installation precision

Rough-tone metal, P series, as transom cover and exterior panels

Rough-tone metal P series as transom cover and exterior panels

Panels with horizontal patterns require high precision in installation, as the flatness of the panels are easily observable. These installed exterior panels add a decorative touch to the facade.

Rough-tone metal provides textures that are not readily available and is a unique solution to lower cost requirements.

For more information on available patterns, click here (Japanese catalog)

July 27, 2018

Metal Craft News

Twisting

Twisting is a metalwork that elevates ready-made materials to implement various designs.
At Kikukawa, we are able to twist flat-bars, pipes and extruded materials of steel, stainless steel, aluminium, and bronze.

Here, we introduce two projects that employed twisted materials as its interior and exterior.

The first project, Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse, is one that used red painted twisted steel as its facade.

A design inspired by a red curtain, implemented with steel

A design inspired by a red curtain, implemented with steel

Inspecting the precision and angle of each twisted panel

Inspecting the precision and angle of each twisted panel

The 730 pieces of steel flat-bars are 9mm thick, 300mm wide and 12,000mm long. Having over 220 types of these twisting details, Kikukawa conducted numerous experiments to establish twisting and 3-dimensional metal crafting technology.

For more information on Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse, click here.

Next is a project that played with various twisting details for a decorative interior.

To the left is a checkered pattern implemented by employing twisting at different pitches. To the right, is a design that plays with alternating colour, implemented by painting one side of the metal bar.

The playful effect of changing the twisting details

The playful effect of changing the twisting details

Twisted metals are used as louvers, fences, gates, ramps, and partitions for its high versatility in design. For fabrication feasibility, more details or consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Contact us here.

July 12, 2018

Metal Craft News

Combining Ready-Made Products and Bespoke Metalwork

Kikukawa’s strength lies in bespoke metalwork, however, it is also able to produce high-quality products with ready-made materials. The added value from metalworking, finishing, installing, and the combination of bespoke products lead to an implementation of designs at a higher level.

Here, we introduce aluminium ready-made spandrels and bespoke aluminium panels to realize an exterior adorned with frames. As a renovation project, the dimensions and installation became complex, yet Kikukawa was able to implement this to realize a refined physique.

A refined facade that would be difficult to achieve without bespoke metalwork

A refined facade that would be difficult to achieve without bespoke metalwork

The aluminium spandrels are 23mm thick and 40mm wide. The added value of high-quality anodization, metal-craft, and installation translate to a refined facade.

The spandrel and frames are beautifully installed

The spandrel and frames are beautifully installed

A unique intersection of the curved aluminium panels and a corner

A unique intersection of the curved aluminium panels and a corner

The 10mm aluminium panels were double curved, welded then finished with fluorine resin coating. The joints between the spandrels and the walls are 6mm.

The three dimensionally curved corner was carefully and precisely welded

The three-dimensionally curved corner was carefully and precisely welded

Wavy spandrels cut in a double curve

Wavy spandrels cut in a double curve

With a design that required precision, both ready-made spandrels and bespoke panels were metal-worked carefully by Kikukawa.

To implement various needs and designs, Kikukawa is able to combine bespoke and ready-made products, from design to installation.

June 27, 2018

Metal Craft News

Minimal Distortion And High Strength Welding Brass

Brass is a popular material for interior use, for its chic gold texture and high workability.

Kikukawa is able to weld extra-long and 3 dimensionally curved panels with minimal distortion.

Here is a perforated brass metal product over the market available material sheet size. Finished with hair-line and clear coating, a texture that fully displays the beauty of brass.

Perforated brass panel, welded vertically between the second and third perforation from the bottom left corner.

Perforated brass panel, welded vertically between the second and third perforation from the bottom left corner.

To satisfy the requirements, welded brass metal sheets with high strength, minimal distortion and minimal discolouration were necessary.

While the final product size is 2140mm (W) x 1604mm (L), the largest market available sheet is 1250mm (W) x  3050mm (L). To ensure the necessary strength for perforation with typical welding methodology (TIG welding) would have required careful welding – and the carefully TIG welded sheets would have suffered from discolouration and distortion from the heat.

Kikukawa overcame this difficulty by combining the latest welding technology and craftsmanship.

The welded and finished brass sheets . Originally 1230mm (W) x 2500mm (L) sheet and 500mm (W) x 2500mm (L).

The welded and finished brass sheets. Originally 1230mm (W) x 2500mm (L) sheet and 500mm (W) x 2500mm (L).

Strength testing the sample. Welded area is marked with a black marker, then perforated.

Strength testing a welded sample. Welded area is marked with a black marker, then perforated.

Perforated brass metal sheet before assembly.

Perforated brass metal sheets before assembling.

The result is a flat perforated metal sheet, over the market available sheet size, without visible welding marks.

As shown, Kikukawa combines the latest welding technology, such as laser welding, to the classics, such as TIG welding, and craftsmanship to implement various metal crafting needs.

For more information on Kikukawa’s TIG welding, click here

For more information on Kikukawa’s welding technology, click here

June 12, 2018

Metal Craft News

TIG Welding Mirror Polished Stainless Steel

TIG welding is key to develop various high-quality metalworks.
Kikukawa’s expertise and craftsmanship allows the fabrication of metal products with both quality and design.

Here is a mirror polished stainless steel monument, formed by eight rings that are joint together by a belt to form a 1m spherical monument.

Stainless Steel Monument

The Stainless Steel Monument

Invisible TIG welding

Also known as the monument with invisible TIG welding

Rings cut from 3mm thick metal sheets are fixed together by a perpendicular ring, cut from a 6mm metal sheet.
The monument reveals a different impression depending on the angle it is seen.

TIG welding the joints

TIG welding the joints

Craftsmanship is essential for difficult areas

Craftsmanship is essential for difficult areas

Each joint has different fixing angles and conditions – and the finish must be done carefully so that the monument can be seen from any angle.

Complex joints prior the final touches

Complex joints prior the final touches

Before and after finishing the welded joints

Before and after finishing the welded joints

Each welding is checked carefully so that the necessary strength is achieved while no deformation or decolouration has occurred. The exterior rings are securely welded, yet the joints are hardly visible.

As shown, Kikukawa has the know-how to provide high-quality weldings. Additionally, we have the latest technology, such as FSW and fiber laser welding, to meet the necessary welding requirements.

For more information on Kikukawa’s fiber laser welding, click here

For more information on Kikukawa’s FSW (Friction Stir Welding), click here

May 28, 2018

Metal Craft News

Welding Brass Without Discolouration

Kikukawa has developed a new technology to weld brass without discolouration.

Previously, Kikukawa was able to minimize discolouration by refining its welding technology, however, it was near impossible to remove it. With this new technology, we are able to fabricate over-sized brass panels or weld extrusions without discolouration.

Two brass samples, welded at the center. Left: New welding technology Right: TIG welding. As the picture shows, discolouration can only be observed from TIG welded sample.

Two brass samples, welded at the center. Left: New welding technology. Right: TIG welding. As the picture shows, discolouration can only be observed from TIG welded sample.

Brass is a widely used material in architecture, as door handles, handrails, faucets, signboards and others. From the gold hue of new brass to the rich brown hues of patinated brass, the changing colour is part of the material’s appeal.

However, it has not been a common choice in larger products for various reasons.

For instance, casting, extruding or machining brass to the necessary quality meant longer fabrication lead time and higher costs.

To combat discolouration from welding brass, brazing was used for products that required less welding strength. However, brazing requires experience and the filler material lead to slight discolourations.

With the new technology developed by Kikukawa, we overcame these difficulties so that fabrications of larger products or products that hope to utilize the original texture and hues of brass are possible. Furthermore, as the material is not exposed to discolouration, finishes such as sulfurization are also possible.

For more information, testing or manufacturing feasibility, contact us

May 8, 2018

Metal Craft News

Bespoke Louvers

At Kikukawa, we provide bespoke louvers regardless of the material and quantity. In collaboration with the architects, we provide metal architectural products with the required strength and quality.

The design louvers made of aluminium flat bars and stainless steel round pipes are woven to create an elegant façade.

The design louver, as the face of a building

The design louver, as the face of a building

The metal pieces are woven to realise a three-dimensional detail

The metal pieces are woven to realise a three-dimensional detail

The 70mm wide aluminium flat-bars and 50mm diameter stainless round pipes are assembled into 4000mm(L) by 1000mm (W) units within the factory. To ensure the unity of these units, the joints are designed carefully.

Flat-bars, precisely cut and bent

Flat-bars, precisely cut and bent

Pre-assembled design louvers

Pre-assembled design louvers

Multiple flat bars are precisely bent to create crests and impressions. These pieces are pre-assembled and inspected prior to the paint coating process.

Various small pieces ensure the unity of the units

Various small pieces ensure the unity of the units

The design louver in its final form

The design louver in its final form

By precisely metal-crafting flat bars, Kikukawa has realised an intricate louver.

At Kikukawa, we fabricate bespoke products to realise designs that are difficult with ready-made materials. Based on experience and expertise, we implement ideas from design to installation.

April 24, 2018

Metal Craft News

Fluting Stainless Steel Panels

At Kikukawa, we select the most suitable metalworking methodology required for the project.

For instance, this project required fluted panels that are difficult to realise with extrusion – the smooth curvatures and the rigidity were ensured by carefully metalworking each panel.

Cross Section of a Bespoke Fluted Stainless Steel Panel

Cross section of a bespoke fluted stainless steel panel

Inspecting Each Bespoke Fluted Stainless Steel Panels

Inspecting Each Bespoke Fluted Stainless Steel Panels

Bird's Eye-view of the Fluted Panel

Bird’s Eye-view of the Fluted Panel

By overseeing the fabrication from design to installation, Kikukawa is able to achieve the flatness and high precision required for the 600mm(W) x 3000mm(L) panels.

The photographed panels were coated with bronze sputtering and anti-finger coating.
Other metalworks or finishes are also available upon request.

For more information on Kikukawa’s metalworking technology, contact us

April 12, 2018

Metal Craft News

Fiber Laser Cutting

KIKUKAWA’s Single Mode Fiber Laser Cutting Machine can cut curved surfaces, or in other words, three-dimensionally. Based on the design data, the head of the laser cutting machine moves in three-dimensional axis (x, y, z) allowing it to be precise and high in quality.

Applicable materials include steel and stainless steel, as well as aluminium and bronze alloys.

Fiber laser drilled and cut SUS round pipe

Fiber laser drilled and cut SUS round pipe

Fiber laser cut SUS round pipe. The high quality cut allows the piece to be used as a lid

Fiber laser cut SUS round pipe. The high-quality cut allows the piece to be used as a lid

In this case, the round pipe was laser cut into a half-circle, then drilled. These cuts and drills are performed continuously based on the design data.

Single Mode Fiber Laser Cutting Machine

Single mode fiber laser cutting machine

The head of the machine is able to move three-dimensionally, allowing it to cut curved surfaces.

For more information on Kikukawa’s 3D processing technology, click here

March 27, 2018

Metal Craft News

Machining Brass

Metalworking brass comes with its own challenges. The characteristics of brass make certain shapes difficult to manufacture – welding would lead to decolourisation, and extruding or die-casting would involve costly and lengthy die fabrication process.

Machining brass is one way to overcome these problems. At Kikukawa, we are able to accommodate the production of larger three-dimensional shapes in small lots.

From the 3D CAD design data, our machine metalworks brass pieces with high precision. The maximum workable size is 2500mm(W) x 3500mm(L) x 400mm(H), and the workable materials include aluminium, stainless steel, bronze alloys, and wood.

Machining solid brass bar

Machining solid brass bar

Solid brass bars are grand to fabricate 15 handrail pieces, each with differing three-dimensional curvature. The lack of welding on these pieces ensures a high-quality finish, precise joints, and a smooth curvature.

A handrail piece that was machined from a solid brass bar

A handrail piece that was machined from a solid brass bar

Handrail pieces that passed the quality inspection are polished to a mirror-finish shine

Handrail pieces that passed the quality inspection are polished to a mirror-finish shine

For more information on Kikukawa’s three –dimensional metalworking technology, click here

March 13, 2018

Metal Craft News

Honeycomb Backed Curved Bronze Panels

Honeycomb backing curved bronze panels is Kikukawa’s proprietary metalworking technology that stems from honeycomb backing stainless or aluminium panels.

When consulted to fabricate bronze balustrade panels over 2m in width, Kikukawa developed and solidified two technologies – honeycomb backed bronze copper alloys and honeycomb backed curved panels. The resulting panel has high strength and the honeycomb backing upholds the panel’s flatness and curvature.

Honeycomb backing curved panels are applicable to other materials.

Honeycomb backing curved bronze panels

Testing the flatness, strength and the curvature of the panel with a mockup

Honeycomb backed curved bronze panels 2

Assembling the honeycomb backed curved panels

Honeycomb backing curved bronze panels were solidified by overcoming various challenges. This methodology allows us to fabricate products that are precise in dimension and high in quality.

Honeycomb backed curved bronze panels 3

Testing the strength of the adhesion

Honeycomb backed curved bronze panels 4

Measuring the dimensions of honeycomb backed curved bronze panels

The products are fabricated with care and each process has measures to ensure the quality of the products, such as jigs. However, the methodology of the final quality inspection is defined to ensure the bond strength and precision of the panels. Specialized equipment is used to test the bond strength.

Honeycomb backed curved bronze panels 5

Honeycomb backed curved bronze panels

Honeycomb backed curved bronze panels 6

Installing the honeycomb backed curved balustrade bronze panels

February 27, 2018

Metal Craft News

Stretch Forming

Fabrication of bespoke items comes with its own challenges – R bending complex shaped products is one example.

Typically, R bending corrugated parts requires welding pieces, which tends to compromise the aesthetics, consume time and add to the fabrication cost.

Stretch forming overcomes these difficulties. The produced products are stretched into shape, thus eliminating the need for welding.

Rows of various R bent corrugated louvres

Rows of various R bent corrugated louvres

The edge of R bent corrugated louvre

The edge of R bent corrugated louvre

Various corrugated louvres, with various R bending, show the versatility of stretch forming. The perforations at the edge, close to the bent corners, made this process more difficult.

The joint of R bent corrugated louvres

The joint of R bent corrugated louvres

The pointed area shows the joint of two R bent corrugated louvres. Joining R bent pieces are typically more difficult as it requires precision in the R curvatures.

R bent corrugated louvres placed side by side

R bent corrugated louvres placed side by side

Installed R bent corrugated louvres 1

Installed R bent corrugated louvres 1

Installed R bent corrugated louvres 2

Installed R bent corrugated louvres 2

The R bent corrugated louvres are installed, in line with the gentle folds of the facades.

The featured photos are from the Bloomberg project in London.

February 27, 2018

Metal Craft News Notice

Launch of Metal Craft News

The News page has been redesigned to help readers find the latest news from Kikukawa.

First of this change is the launch of Metalcraft News which will feature timely updates on our factory and metal-crafting technology.

Our top page will feature the latest 10 news. And the news page now has a filtering function by category.