Story of Charcoal Eskimeit
One French, one Japanese, both interior designers, we founded the brand Charcoal Eskimeït® in 2004. We create contemporary jewelry and decorative objects using the traditional art of binchotan, the Japanese wood charcoal. We found a new function for this exceptional material, giving it a new life after centuries of unchanging traditional use in Japan.
We met while studying Interior Design in Paris, at l’école Camondo. A common passion for all materials and their possible alternative uses has always boosted our creativity. In 1998 we set up the Eskimeït agency, offering limited series of decorative objects as well as some interior design. Craft and craftsmanship are the heart of our inspiration and ideas.
The brand Charcoal Eskimeït® started when we first encountered Binchotan, the Japanese wood coal whose beauty fascinated us, along with its incredible hardness and special properties. In 2004, we went to meet the coal makers in the Kishu region in Japan and learn about an ancestral skill.
Binchotan is the result of the complex two-week long firing of an extremely dense wood in a clay oven, occasionally reaching a temperature of 1300°C; this process transforms the wood into an incredibly hard water resistant mineral. Originally developed as a most efficient fuel reserved for the imperial family, it is used today mostly as an air and water filter, and to absorb odours, humidity, and negative ions. Back in France, we set out to experiment with this material and find ways we could work with it, cut it, polish it and finally turn it into a work of art.
Each branch of Binchotan has a unique shape, lines on the bark, ring design, imperfections, a natural vegetal beauty, and a deep black colour which gives each piece its individuality, and a life of its own. We are inspired by its natural beauty. Each piece is unique, designed and individually crafted in our workshop in Paris using the innovative skills needed to work this unusual material.
In Japan, Binchotan is never used to create work of art. We had to develop new skills to work, cut, sculpt, polish, and mount it, to display it as one would a precious stone. We have learned to work withit and use our craftsmanship to turn each individual piece into an equally unique piece of jewelry.
Each collection follows our inspiration and new ideas, and bear Japanese names : Kuro (black), Hime (princess), Edo (copper), Sumidaya (silver) and so on…
Some of our pieces have had 22 carat gold leaf applied, or platinum or copper, to contrast with and enhance the deep black of the Binchotan.
More recently, with the Kofu collection, traditional Japanese decorative skills are used, with each piece of binchotan hanging and nestled in antique Japanese textiles.
Charcoal Eskimeït is the combination of our passion for Binchotan and our double national heritage. Our brand embodies our desire to ally tradition with contemporary craft and the creation of unique pieces.
Design : Lorène & Hirohiko Kamiya for ESKIMEÏT®
Members of Ateliers d’Art de France since 2015