Dezeen Magazine

Nendo designs soy seasoning dispenser to rival iconic Kikkoman bottle

Japanese studio Nendo has created a ladle-inspired container for soy seasoning, which it hopes will one day become as popular as the red-topped Kikkoman sauce bottle.

Nendo was commissioned by Shimogamosaryo, a Kyoto restaurant dating back to the 19th century, to design a container for its Kona-Shoyu seasoning.

Unlike standard soy sauce, Kona-Shoyu comes in a powdered form. It was developed by the restaurant as a way of adding the taste of soy to dishes without dampening the other ingredients.

Existing sauce containers – such as the iconic Kikkoman bottle designed by Kenji Ekuan in 1961 – can't dispense this form of soy seasoning properly, so Nendo's task was to create a new container more suited to the task.

"Previous containers have small mouths and not only was it difficult to gage the quantity, but there was also an issue that the Kona-Shoyu could spout all at once, and were not fully adapting to the evolution of soy sauce," said the studio, which is led by designer Oki Sato.

Sato's team developed a new design that references ladles used in tea ceremonies, as well as water pails seen at chōzushas, which are the cleansing areas at traditional Japanese shrines.

"When cleansing oneself at the chozusha, you do not put your hand directly into the water, but first draw water with the water pail and then use the water from it," explained the studio.

As with this ritual, users are required to pour the seasoning into the container before gently shaking it over food. According to Nendo, this enables them to check the quantity beforehand.

To facilitate this, the dispenser is made up of two bowl-shaped sections. Users add seasoning through the "mouth", and it falls down into the second section.

This part of the container is flat, so that it can be set down upright on a table. However, the slant of the neck section is angled so that the powder doesn't spill over when in use.

"Maybe in the future, people might think of this container as a 'symbol' of soy sauce, as we regard the Kikkoman bottle as an icon for soy sauce now," the studio told Dezeen.

Nendo was the highest-ranking design studio on Dezeen Hot List in 2016, and the studio seems to be going from strength to strength.

The past year has seen the Japanese design studio working on all kinds of products, from slippers and notepads, as well as architectural projects including a department store in Bangkok and a public square in Kyoto. It also hosted a hugely popular exhibition during this year's Milan design week, featuring wobbly jellyfish vases and tables that melt into bowls.

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