Age Design Co., a Japanese local firm, has crafted a brain-teasing masterpiece that’s both a testament to traditional craftsmanship and a challenge for the wallet. Part of the esteemed “Takumi” series, these Kogei Rubik’s Cubes, born from the ancient craft techniques of Kanazawa, boast a luxurious touch with all six faces lavishly coated in gold leaf.
The gold leaf, a renowned specialty of Kanazawa, undoubtedly elevates the cube’s prestige but comes at a steep cost. This 3-D puzzle, a true work of art, is being offered at a price of 300,000 yen ($2,000), tax included.
Age Design collaborated with MegaHouse Corp., a subsidiary of the Bandai Namco Group in Tokyo that distributes Rubik’s Cubes, to bring these special editions to life.
Yohei Inagaki, the president of Age Design, envisioned showcasing the traditional craft techniques of the Hokuriku region, particularly Ishikawa Prefecture, home to Kanazawa.
“Kanazawa is synonymous with gold leaf. I had always wanted to make a gold leaf-coated version,” Inagaki remarked. “I hope people can feel close to traditional arts and crafts and enjoy using them in their daily lives.”
Creating each cube is a labor-intensive process. Every one of the 54 panels on the cube’s faces receives a delicate application of gold leaf in six distinct colors, achieved through varying alloy ratios. This meticulous craftsmanship underscores the artisanal approach.
Age Design has previously introduced two other special Rubik Cube versions. The “Gosai,” a Rubik’s Cube adorned with Kutani-yaki porcelain from Nomi, Ishikawa Prefecture, was released in February 2022, priced at 99,000 yen. Following that, the “Oriihassyoku,” featuring traditional copperware techniques from Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, made its debut in November of the same year at a cost of 220,000 yen.
The latest offering, the gilded version, stands as a testament to Kanazawa’s unparalleled expertise in gold leaf production, accounting for 99 percent of Japan’s production. The prefectural capital and its vicinity are home to approximately 60 skilled goldsmiths, with only one artisan working outside the prefecture, as per the Cooperative Association for the Leaf Trade and Industry of Ishikawa Prefecture.
Photo credit : Asahi shinbun