A Japanese startup is combining tech with artisan craftsmanship to create bonsais that levitate using embedded magnets
Bonsai plants, for the most part, look pretty adorable. But the novelty of caring for these miniaturised trees wears off real quick once you take into account how much of a pain in the ass it is to cultivate them.
The guys behind Japan-based startup Hoshinchu, however, perceive them differently from the average plebeian. Keeping bonsais, for them, is like nursing the lovechild of Mother Nature and the Andromeda Galaxy.
And that is no exaggeration. Just look at their pitch on its Kickstarter page.
“This is a story from the past. The atelier was on a small island, a little star at the edge of the Galaxy. It was a space to create stars…”
You see, to truly appreciate the beauty of the Air Bonsai, you need a shift in mindset; look within yourself, and feel, the essence of the world seep into the deepest trenches of your soul.
Right, I’ve about exhausted my faux Zen speak. Now let’s get down to the technical stuff.
For the bonsai plant to levitate, it has to rest on a base called the “little star”, which is powered by a built-in magnet. The maximum weight it can hold is 250 grams, and the bonsai must be no wider than 6 centimetres in diameter.
As long as bonsai falls within these parameters, the “little star” can levitate 2 centimetres from the “energy base” – a porcelain base with a built-in magnet and a rotating mechanism. The Air Bonsai then sits on a Japanese style cushion (which looks like a drinks coaster)
The fascinating thing about this product isn’t just about its technical capabilities either. It is how the artisans – Masanori Imayoshi and Hikaru Hoshi, are committed to using traditional craftsmanship techniques.
Each of the “energy base” is handmade in a process that takes three months. The patterns of each base are also hand-painted with a Japanese brush, after which it will undergo blaze firing to complete the process. Each product is then packed into a traditional “Kiri box” and covered with a layer of fabric.
Their commitment to authenticity may be admirable, but is it translating into monetary success?
Since the campaign’s launch on January 21, it has garnered US$562,706, far exceeding its goal of a mere US$80,000. My guess is it is hit with many new age yoga practitioners.
One of them may have even pledged US$10,000, which would entitle him or her to an all-expenses paid pilgrimage to the Bonsai Garden and Air Bonsai workshop.
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