Mono No Aware

Year 2020 / Disciplines: Product Design, Product rendering, Secondary research

This project was chosen to be exhibited at PRIVY; a LASALLE Product design showcase and The LASALLE design faculty showcase.


To select a chef from the popular Netflix Series 'Chef's Table' and design a product for the restaurant that embodies the chefs philosophy and identity through its rationale, design, detailing and manipulation of the given material.

The design must be limited to the following materials : Concrete / ceramics.

Chosen Reference

Niki Nakayama is a Japanese-American chef and owner of Michelin-starred restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles. She is famous for her ever-changing 13 course modern Kaiseki cuisine.

Nakayama views cooking as a meditative state and sees her 13 course menu as a melodic sequence - a progression of technique and flavour. As such, she always uses seasonal ingredients and never serves the same thing to you twice.


To not take each moment for granted.

Mono no aware (物の哀れ) is a set of 13 stacking cups designed to embody Chef Niki Nakayama’s philosophy of mindful eating and balance.

Each cup represents one dish in her famous 13-course Keiseki meal. Paired with the meditative action of stacking the ceramic cups, it serve as a physical representation of the passage of time throughout the 3 hour long meal.

The ring patterns left by the cups act as time stamps which indicates the number of dishes one has had, thereby reminding oneself to be more aware of how much has been eaten and how many dishes are left.

Product Renderings

Modelled in Rhino 3D, Rendered in Keyshot 9.

Physical Prototype

Hand thrown White Stoneware ceramics, Handmade Wooden Base and Fine grain sand.

Textured spray paint was used to mimic the intended finishing.

Making Process

  1. Using the Throwing method to make tiny cups.

  2. Glaze tests

  3. Choosing final based on the glaze's tactility. Tested by multiple people.

  4. Final material choice





Click this link for a more detailed research process > RESEARCH PROCESS