Is it a cabbage or a bowl?

Yasuhiro Suzuki takes the ordinary object and makes the extraordinary.

A zipper or a boat? A tree stump or a bucket? Pencil shavings or valued art? Paper or a pillow of leaves? A cabbage or a bowl?

This designer is no ordinary designer, just wait and see.

Yasuhiro Suzuki is a Japanese designer and artist born in Shizuoka, Japan in 1979. He graduated in 2001 from Tokyo Zokei University having studied at their Department of Design. His skill and knack for design was proved to the world not long after because in his graduating year he won the NHK Digital Stadium Grand Prix Award for his jungle gym for children called Perspective of Globe-Jungle. Since then Yasuhiro Suzuki has been included in and invited to participate in numerous exhibitions and art festivals. Since 2002 He has been working in the Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology at The University of Tokyo. He has also won many awards.  Visit his profile on his website to find a comprehensive list of all the exhibitions and awards and collections he has done.


Photo:Kiyoshi Obara / Vda / amanagroup

Cabbage Bowl


15 × 20 × 20cm

Material: paper clay

Here we have a stack of bowls that looks exactly like a cabbage. Yasuhiro Suzuki designed this in 2004. The bowls are moulded from real cabbage leaves using paper clay. They can be stacked up into a cabbage shape and they can be pealed off the same way you would a cabbage leaf. The similarities between a bowl and a cabbage is that they both have roughly the same concave shape, and Yasuhiro cleverly used this feature to create his bowls. Straight away this made me think of the asian dish, san choi bow. It literally uses a lettuce leaf as a bowl for the filling and you eat it all together. The cabbage is almost like natures own bowl and interestingly enough Yasuhiro in his research found out that the cabbage leaf was “designed” by developing varieties that could be conveniently grown and used in cooking. Another clever link between the two is that a bowl and a cabbage both have very strong associations with food and that they both can be stacked. You can see his processes and sketches by going to his Cabbage Bowl page.


Yasuhiro Suzuki sketch

This object is beautifully made and cleverly designed and the way he has merged the two into one is quite impressive. He truly has made something quite ordinary into something extraordinary. However some miss the magnificence of Yasuhiros design. A journalist from the Scotsman writes this about the Cabbage Bowl – “when art, craft and design begin to overlap one another’s boundaries, practicality ceases to be a guiding consideration.” Yes, you might not see everyone using these bowls because of their practicality or lack of, but there is something much deeper than that happening here, He is bringing poetics into design.

Some of his other famous works include Blinking Leaves and his Zappy Zipper motor boat. Blinking leaves is simply lots of paper cut out in the shape of a leaf with one eye open printed on one side and an eye shut on the other. When they fall it makes a beautiful the illusion of blinking. The Zappy Zipper motor boat turns the original motor boat into something quite poetic. The lines a boat makes in the water as it passes through looks like a zipper being opened, so Yasuhiro simply made the boat look like a zipper. check out this video and watch it zip off right towards the end.

I wonder what he’ll do next to make this world a little more extraordinary.

Yasuhiro Suzuki has done many other exciting and intriguing designs and you can find them all in his book Blinking And Flapping.