It’s said that shutter speeds of around 1/1000th of a second are necessary to really capture the detail of moving water in photography. So you can imagine the technical challenge of accurately capturing water as a three-dimensional object. Product designer Masahiko Tanoue has dedicated the last several years of his career to just this: creating glass tableware that beautifully replicates not only the shape and form of water but the way its transparency refracts light.


Minanowa is a new brand of glass tableware that seeks to bring Japan’s ancient appreciation for the beauty of water, into the contemporary home. The design team, which includes artist and producer Kaori Kobino, product designer Masahiko Tanoue, glass sculptor Naoki Kimura and art director Shoko Wakasaki, have spent years experimenting with the properties of glass in order to replicate way water interacts with light.

And the journey has been arduous, to say the least. The concept began as a prototype back in 2019 and received a positive response from industry insiders and consumers but large-scale production proved difficult and the initiative hit several snags and delays. Four years later, the team is back and ready to deliver their shimmering product once again.

The glass tableware is currently available through Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake. There are 4 different shapes available with each piece ranging between 14,200 yen – 24,200 yen (about $100 – $175 usd)

the 4 different shapes (clockwise from top left): still, fill, lake and bowl