Material Meets Creative Team: #6
Shape Memory Sheet × Taku Sasaki (KOKUYO CREATIVE CENTER)

“UNFRAGMENT” – The Vase That’s Already Broken



Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.

Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Tokyo: 4183; President & CEO: Tsutomu Tannowa) has revealed the sixth project under “Material Meets Creative Team”, a creator-based collaboration project that aims to promote the appeal of materials from an all-new perspective. For this latest project, Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello, Inc. (Representative Director & CEO: Takeshi Kaide) collaborated with Taku Sasaki, a member of KOKUYO CREATIVE CENTER, using a newly-developed material by Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello - Shape Memory Sheet. The collaborative effort resulted in the creation of “UNFRAGMENT” – the vase that’s already broken.

When touched, the Shape Memory Sheet softens at normal temperature and gradually returning to its original shape.
(Photography by TORU OSHIMA)

The Shape Memory Sheet offers flexibility, shape memory, stress absorption, low repulsion and a range of other characteristics. Further, the material’s temperature dependence makes its firmness susceptible to change, especially at normal temperature ranges. This then gives the material an all-new feeling of suppleness and flexibility, which has been highly evaluated on multiple fronts.
When used to create UNFRAGMENT, the material’s shape memory characteristics provides the product the ability to return gradually to its original shape. The resulting product pays homage to the traditional kintsugi technique of fixing broken pottery to bring new value. When the vase is spread by the human hand, the vase will gradually returning to its original shape over time. UNFRAGMENT expresses a product timeline like nothing else before.

* More information on the ideas and concepts behind UNFRAGMENT can be found on this specially created webpage:

Shape Memory Sheet

The Shape Memory Sheet, a new product developed by Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello, takes a special Mitsui Chemicals polymer, foam it, and turning it into a sheet. A wide range of people have gave high evaluation, particularly for how the material feels to touch.

Becoming more flexible from normal temperatures, any part of the material that is held grows softer, while other parts remain somewhat harder. This then produces the feeling of support by the material. The Shape Memory Sheet is garnering attention for its contributions to product development, and can be applied to suit consumers in the health care, medical, nursing, sports, seating, cushion and other such sectors.

Taku Sasaki (Creative center, KOKUYO Co., Ltd.)

Born in Tokyo in 1985, Taku Sasaki graduated from Tama Art University with a major in product design in 2008 before joining KOKUYO. Sasaki previously won the KOKUYO Design Award in 2005, as well as a special category of the same award in 2014. He now works at THINK OF THINGS, which KOKUYO opened as a directly managed store in 2017 in Sendagaya, Tokyo. His work here includes being in charge of direction and design for original products. On his days off, Sasaki works on the B6studio product design project.