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August 4, 2020

Metal Craft News

Copper Plating for Complex Designs

Copper or bronze alloys are consistently chosen for its luxurious physique in architecture, interior design, and furniture.
However, due to the high thermal conductivity of bronze alloys, they are prone to heat tints and deformation thus proving difficult for fabricating certain shapes such as grids.

In such cases, Kikukawa may propose the use of copper or brass plating steel or stainless steel to implement the design.

Copper plated stainless steel sample. 3mm by 6mm flat bars are welded in 8mm pitch to the 150mm long K shaped brace. As shown, copper plating accommodates designs requiring various welding.
Copper plated stainless steel sample. 3mm by 6mm flat bars are welded in 8mm pitch to the 150mm long K shaped brace. As shown, copper plating accommodates designs requiring various welding.

The benefit of the plating finish varies; for instance, stainless steel is stronger than copper, thus is more suitable for areas such as door handles. As the diversity of stainless steel is greater than copper alloys, it allows greater freedom in design implementation.

In close collaboration with affiliated companies, Kikukawa is able to accommodate up to 2500mm long plating. However, please confirm with us as these sizes vary depending on the shape of the product.

Left: Hairline (HL) and copper plated stainless steel. Right: Vibration (PHL) and brass plated stainless steel. Recognizing plated samples are a challenge.
Left: Hairline (HL) and copper-plated stainless steel. Right: Vibration (PHL) and brass plated stainless steel. Recognizing plated samples are a challenge.

Another benefit of copper or brass plating other metals is that it allows finishes that are otherwise limited to copper alloys – such as sulfurization. Kikukawa’s sulfurization (or FURUMI finish) accommodates varying shades of brown as required.

Above: Brass plated and sulfurized stainless steel. Below: Sulfurized brass. High-quality plated samples are difficult to distinguish.
Above: Brass plated and sulfurized stainless steel. Below: Sulfurized brass. High-quality plated samples are difficult to distinguish.

Certain designs face limitations in implementation, however, these may be overcome by plating. Based on our expertise and craftsmanship, Kikukawa is able to provide various solutions as required to implement the design. Please consult us on feasibility and detail design.

Click here to find out more about Kikukawa’s sulfurization (FURUMI) technology

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.