Gato Mikio Co., Ltd. was founded in 1908 as a woodworking factory in Yamanaka Onsen, Ishikawa Prefecture, a region known for its wood turning production. With excellent planning and sales capabilities, the company has actively developed products that combine traditional techniques with quality design to spread the charm of Yamanaka lacquerware both domestically and internationally.
The “Gato Mikio Laboratory,” which was newly launched this spring, is a studio established by Gato Mikio with the hope of passing on the Yamanaka lacquerware industry to the younger generation. Conventionally, traditional lacquerware was the mainstay of the Yamanaka lacquerware industry. However, its market competitiveness has declined due to the development of modern plastic lacquerware and an increase in imported lacquerware from overseas. The rapid decrease in the number of craftsmen is also a challenge. Gato Mikio has been actively expanding the market for Yamanaka lacquerware to new customer bases through effective design management and by promoting product development and branding with external designers. Moreover, the establishment of Gato Mikio Laboratory reflects their commitment to creating value and demand for Yamanaka lacquerware as a sustainable industry by improving the working environment for craftsmen and refurbishing workshops to eliminate old-fashioned images.
The laboratory incorporated many opinions of designers and architects from the planning stage, and any problems that arose during construction were discussed without compromise. Each work process is given ample space, and all partitions are made of glass to create an open space in the studio that tends to be enclosed. Each space is designed to be visible from the entrance. The clean and sophisticated image is fresh and unique compared to traditional lacquerware workshops. Even the common room and facilities were carefully considered to create an environment where craftsmen can focus on their work and support the future of the Yamanaka lacquerware industry.
Based on years of experience, Gato Mikio is responding flexibly to the changing modern environment and working to solve problems not just in their own products, but across the industry as a whole. They are accepting inquiries about job recruitment and facility tours through their website.
■ General information
Gato Mikio Laboratory