Kintsugi Upgrades

December 8, 2022

Ancient Artifacts Augmented With Enhanced Technologies

The Kintsugi Upgrades project imagines an alternate future where ancient artifacts are discovered by a more advanced civilization than us who rebuild and augment them with enhanced technologies.

The ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi – which literally translates to “join with gold” – perfectly embodied the spirit of these objects. Through the process of repair and reconstruction, we imagined these objects being even more valuable than the original.

The unearthed Kashan ware vessel

An alternate future where ancient artifacts are discovered by a more advanced civilization than us who rebuild and augment them with enhanced technologies

The vessel cleaned and ready to go through the upgrade process

In this first collection, we have reconstructed and reimagined an 11th century glazed ceramic water jug from Kashan, Persia. Renowned for its high-quality ceramic production, Kāshānware features delicate decorative motifs and is often decorated with luster.

Once the vessel has been unearthed and goes through the Upgrade process, it comes out similar but in many ways different. We preserved the object’s delicate beauty, healed its scars with gold while integrating new technologies into it to change what it can do. Instead of being able to just being a water vessel, the device can scan a a person’s body to better understand what minerals they are lacking and then regulate the contents within the vessel to provide a nutritional beverage that is perfectly tuned to keep their body and mind functioning at an optimal level.

This medieval ceramic jug now combines its exquisite design with 3d printed augmentations and enhanced digital functionality.

Kintugi Upgrade complete

The Process

This project began when we came across high quality 3D models of ancient cultural artifacts that had been scanned by internationally recognised museums. We saw huge potential and wanted to being to create objects that blur the boundaries between the very old and the very futuristic.

Our process to rebuild and upgrade the original object begins with an initial assessment of the piece. How is it damaged? What can be salvaged? What has been forever lost? How can we preserve and enhance its aesthetics and purpose? From here we establish the different stages of the project. The first step involves scanning the fractured parts to reconstruct all the pieces of the puzzle digitally. The scanned mesh serves as a reference for modeling the upgraded part in CAD. We then began to imagine what the conditions of a future civilization might be and the idea of optimizing our health and body felt like a natural path that humans would want to progress along. We delicately reassembling the fractured object and applied gold lacquer to celebrate the vessel’s scars.