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〈MASSES×M&M Custom Performance〉 collaboration : An Interview With Kanji Maehara

The famous collaboration between MASSES and M&M is back again at DAYZ. This time, three types and three sizes of flower pots will be released. <This is a unique product born from the collaboration between Kanji Maehara of MASSES, Toshimi Murakami of M&M, and CHIKARA of STYLE OF CHIKA. Kanji Maehara tells us the story behind its birth.

An agreement with an old gardener friend.

——Where did you get the inspiration for this collaboration?

I have a great love for plants, and I started going all-out about 10 years ago. It was just a hobby, so I didn't really show it to the public. When I first saw an agave plant in the garden of a friend's house overseas, I was blown away. I thought "this plant is wonderful" because it has such a unique aura. I continued to think about it when I got home, and I did a lot of research and found “agave titanota”. When I was searching for it in Japan, that’s when I ran into Chikara-kun.

——It happened while looking for Agave, right?

He was trying his best to import on a small scale with his own sense of style, and was really struggling with a lot of things. We hit it off right away, and every night we would look at pictures of places that had agave and talk about it together. Chikara-kun talked about agave with the innocence of a child, and whenever we had a disagreement, since there was not much information at that time, we often wondered which was the right answer. I think there is meaning in that. I think there is meaning to serious discussions even if you don’t know the right answer. It's as if there is no answer. However, there were people who later twisted their beliefs when they went into business. That's why I didn't contact other people in the plant industry, and to this day I only talk to Chikara-kun. Sorry about that, Chikara-kun.

Photo : Kanji Maehara

Raising plants in flower pots. The charm of iron as a material.

——Please tell us about the upcoming releases.

I didn't have any pots that I thought looked good, and I thought the plastic pots from overseas looked the best, so I planted agave in plastic pots. I used to plant agave in my cracked Harley cylinders and pistons to shake things up. There was an indescribable atmosphere, and I really enjoyed looking at them. I've always been attracted to iron and wood as materials, and I remember seeing a cactus growing out of a rusty car in a photo book, which was really cool.

——If you ask me, iron and plants really go well together.

Iron is natural, and everything changes over time. I believe both iron and plants grow in different ways depending on how you care for them. For example, iron can get rusty, and on the other hand, if you care for it well, it becomes more and more beautiful. As it ages over time, a great depth comes out. That's why I wanted to make a flower pot that grows with people, so that they could decide how to make it their own, and they could have more fun besides just growing the plants.

——I don't think I've seen many iron pots. 

Well, I was wondering if I could make my own ideal pot with iron, When trying to figure it out, I decided to consult with Mura-kun. I love Mura-kun's approach to manufacturing and his use of iron and wood materials, so I told him, "I want to make a flower pot like this out of iron". He laughed and laughed, but I guess he found it interesting even though he thought it was a crazy idea. He said, "OK, let me think about it for a moment." Since he had been seriously working in the field for 30 years, I knew that he knew what he was talking about, and his ideas helped give shape to the concept in my head. Also, we had known each other for a long time and understood each other quite well. Thank you, Mura-kun.

——Even if you are not a plant enthusiast, you can appreciate the charm of this flower pot.

I plan to continue making them. I want them to reach the people who really want them. I want to sell it at a price that everyone can afford; it's not the coolest way to sell things, but that’s fine with me. It's something that Mura-kun worked very hard to make. I’m happy as long as people can feel and apprecitate the craftsmanship.

Interview : Yu Yamaki
Photography : Yu Inohara
Edit : Shu Nissen
Location : Tamagawa Diner