Japan has a remarkable way of taking everyday products from pet food to coffee, applying an extra layer of thought and attention to detail, and creating extraordinary experiences in product design. We recently stumbled upon a beautiful line of fireworks that are so colorful and well-made that, frankly, it’s a damn shame to light them on fire.
The Japanese approach to fireworks (or hanabi) in general is rather different from what I grew up with. For me, fireworks (purchased in Indiana for maximum TNT), were always about power expressed in screeches and booms. Modern Japanese consumer fireworks, likely due to regulations, are primarily sparklers and fountains, making the focus on beauty over explosions. Unlike most of the U.S., small fireworks are available just about anywhere in Japan. Now, thanks to a new collaboration, they’re now for sale in design-oriented shops as well.
Produced by Tokyo’s classic fireworks maker Yamagata, these sparklers and assorted small fireworks are top quality and certainly invoke nostalgia, but it’s the additional coloring and concept by design firm Method that makes them truly unique.
Of course, fireworks with this amount of work put into them don’t come cheap. Sparklers range from around $7 for five large ones, and the traditional Japanese senko hanabi (shown in the last image) are over $30 for a full, beautifully made package.
Each stick is perfectly colored in pastel combinations, and brought together in a simple, minimalist paper package. None of the loud design and plastic that accompanies fireworks from convenience stores. These are fireworks, according to the shop staff, that are “for adults”. Let the kids stay inside with their fireworks projector.
We found these at the Roppongi Hills Art & Design Store, which graciously tolerated our photography, a rare luxury in these types of shops most of the time.
The products and their homepage is brand new and not quite finished, but you can find them online at enjoyfireworks.com.
It’s this attention to detail for everyday items, not manga or other “cool Japan” icons, that separates Japan in a globalized world. Applied across all industries, design that creates experiences for people, even in small ways, is where we should all be striving. Even if we blow it up in the end.