Creating and offering a vessel to house an "eternal flame"
[Japan] Mazda Motor Corporation
A Lotus Flower Vessel for Housing an Eternal Flame
Toyo Kogyo, the predecessor of Mazda, was founded on the aim of "Contributing to the world through manufacturing," and it is this very same spirit that inspires Mazda today.
Mazda was founded in Hiroshima in 1920 as Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. Since then, we lived through many historic events and grew together with the community of Hiroshima. Although at times we faced business crises, with the support of the people of Hiroshima and an unwavering spirit of determination, we were able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our founding in 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic began to sweep the world.
At that time, we had the opportunity to listen to people at Daishoin Temple in Miyajima and learn about the "eternal flame" housed there and the "light in people's hearts" that must always be preserved. To energize people at a time when the coronavirus was keeping them confined and somewhat isolated, we thought that the power of our legacy of manufacturing in Hiroshima could contribute in some way. With that in mind, we got together with other interested people from local manufacturing companies and organized the "Eternal Flame Monotsukuri Project" where it was decided that Mazda would be in charge of the production of the vessel for the eternal flame and the overall coordination of the design.
In the creation of the vessel, Mazda's design department aimed for "a form that transcends the parameters of time." Rather than a product design that looked 10 years into the future, the creators wanted to conceive of an enduring design that could exist for hundreds of years. This was their objective for not only the structure of the vessel but also the shape of the flame itself.
Through a process of trial and error, we sought to fashion a vessel that would create a flame which would rise straight and tall (initial study model)
Our thinking behind the lotus flower vessel
We wanted to express how the light of the eternal flame, like the light of a prayer candle, rises up from Mount Misen to the heavens. To do this, we began by attempting to create the ideal flame. We made many prototypes for the flame outlet and repeated the process of actually igniting and checking the flame.
For the vessel that would softly envelop the dignified flame, we developed a design on the theme of a lotus flower, which is closely associated with Buddha, with the intention of creating a beautiful shape that would communicate the warmth of the artisanship that fashioned it. Our modeler, whom we refer to as a "takumi" (artisan) at Mazda, laboriously beat the copper plate over and over again with his own hands, refining and honing it until he was satisfied with his work.
We hope that many people will come to Hiroshima and to Mount Misen in Miyajima to see the lotus flower vessel and the "eternal flame" that incorporates the ingenuity and ideas of Hiroshima's manufacturing companies.