Decorative Yakihaku Panels

Decorative <i>Yakihaku</i> Panels

Applying metal leaf to craft a new space

Office Nagasaki, an architectural firm in Kyoto, designed the office of a makeup manufacturer in Shanghai incorporating Japanese elements. Through consultations with the firm, we produced these panels. To add a sense of splendor to a relaxed space, three different colors of Kanazawa yakihaku foil were provided.
As the treatment was to be applied by the builders on-site, transportability and strength were considered, and a pattern was decided upon that took the application process into consideration. Foil wrapped from the back in washi paper was applied to an acrylic substrate and then set in place with a finish. This production method permitted no mistakes to be made even with shipping and application overseas.

TitleDecorative Yakihaku Panels
ThemePanels/building materials
TechniquesFoil application, finish
MaterialsYakihaku/irohaku, acrylic, washi paper, lacquer
ClientOffice Nagasaki
DesignKazuhira Nagasaki @Office Nagasaki
CoordinationYosuke Inui @YOSUKE INUI Design Office

Integrated traditional materials and techniques

A hard coat type acrylic that is resistant to scratches was used. As strength was required, the foil was placed behind a layer of the acrylic.
In order to affix the foil to the acrylic, a solution with stronger adhesive strength was used. Furthermore, the foil is protected by coating it with washi paper and a finish on back.

To meet the demands of a given use case or situation, INOUE offers methods for affixing foil to modern materials, such as acrylic or plastic.

  1. Gold plating (Hakuoshi, hakuhari, or hakuoki)

    Hakuoshi is a decorative technique for covering items with gold or silver leaf or platinum foil.
    While the material is called “gold leaf,” it includes a variety of types. These range from gold with a high degree of purity to silver admixtures that allow for an adjustment of the foil’s color. Techniques for applying the gold leaf include methods that bring out the luster of the foil as well as methods that create an elegant or refined appearance.
    At INOUE, veteran craftsmen employ a wide variety of methods for gold leaf application. We have also developed techniques for the application of gold leaf to modern materials, such as acrylic resin and glass.

  2. Finishes (cashew, urethane, etc.)

    At INOUE, the quality of our finishes is consistently and carefully scrutinized with a watchful eye. From sophisticated traditional techniques such as base coats of natural lacquer to cashew finishes made with the natural resin of the cashew tree, also a member of the lacquer family, to urethane finishes made with synthetic resins, we provide a wide variety of finishing techniques.
    Given our extensive network of craftsmen with unparalleled technical skill, we can fulfill requests for finishes of nearly any kind.

  3. Acrylic

    Acrylic resin is highly transparent, difficult to break, and can be painted with color or lacquer. As it is also thick and has a luxurious feel, we look forward to integrating it into more of our projects as time goes on.
    However, the surface of acrylic can be easily nicked, and it tends to yellow when exposed to the sunlight. We understand these qualities and use acrylic only when it is appropriate.