In his search for renewed harmony at IWA, Richard Geoffroy pursues the dream of a grand Japanese Sake. A Sake absolutely true to Sake—with its salient flow of sensations—yet embracing and expanded in character. A radiant Sake. Such a paradoxical proposition cannot come from a single brew. It can only be achieved through Assemblage, by design. Assemblage adds a paradigm to the established paradigm of rice polishing. The more Assembled, the more harmonious. 5 is the universal number of balance and harmony, a symbol of union and quintessence. For IWA, 5 represents Assemblage.
オーケストラのように緻密な構成のもと、様々な醸造の技法を駆使し、異なる産地で栽培された山田錦、雄町、五百万石の酒米、5種類の酵母がIWA 5の旋律を奏でている。アッサンブラージュとは多くの楽器をコントロールしながら演奏するようなものだ。可能性を見極め、追求に値するエレメントを抽出し、心地良い音楽に仕立てていく。全てがそこにある。然るべきところに。然るべき瞬間に。
Through precise orchestration, five classes of elements sing in unison to create IWA 5. The rice class, for instance, comprises three varieties: Yamada Nishiki, Omachi, Gohyakumangoku. In the yeast class, five strains are brought together. Also brought into play are the origin of the rice, the yeast propagation method (moto) and the regimes of fermentation. The Assemblage is the controlled interplay of these many instruments to define a world of possibilities and select the few worth pursuing and refining into euphony. It’s all there. In its right place. At the right moment.
IWA 5は完成されたレシピを持たず、実験的なプロセスを辿りながら、少しずつ、絶妙に進化していく。1年、そしてまた1年と新しい異なった特徴が生み出され、新しいIWAが現れる。
The making of IWA 5 is not a stable recipe but an experimental process reconsidered every year. IWA 5 evolves subtly – one year to the next, new traits emerge and new facets appear.


Richard Geoffroy’s pursuit of beauty propelled him to the highest reaches of his profession. Born in the heart of Champagne country, he became the fifth chef de cave for Dom Pérignon Champagne and charted the course of the legendary wine for 28 years. He is now launching into a new experiment, hoping to contribute to a story started in Japan a thousand years ago: Sake.
リシャール・ジョフロワの美を追求する姿勢は、彼を匠の最高峰へと導いた。シャンパーニュ地方の中心に生まれ、ドン ペリニヨンの5代目醸造最高責任者となった彼は、28年にわたって伝説のメゾンを率いた。そして今、1000年の歴史を持つ日本酒の物語に新たな一章を刻もうとしている。
To Richard Geoffroy, Japan has never been an abstraction. Following an initial spark in 1991, countless trips have stoked his love for the country, its culture and its people. IWA, therefore, could never be a project simply engineered from abroad, a Sake bereft of center. In order to be true to Sake, and become a fully international proposition, IWA has established strong roots in Japan, tracing a methodical yet adventurous throughline to Assemblage in a brewery of its own design.


IWA has a definite point of origin: the site of Shiraiwa, located in the town of Tateyama (prefecture of Toyama). Hence the company name, Shiraiwa, and the brand’s name, IWA. Or “White Rock” and “Rock”. In the Spring of 2021, a contemporary kura designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma opened; harmoniously slotted into the landscape, in profound dialogue with the history of rural architecture, it channels the core principles of IWA: inclusivity, horizontality, community. It stands between mountain foothills and arable flatland, with access to pure local water straight from the rooftop of Japan, amidst some of the heaviest snowfall in the world.
To the south, the Hida Mountains extend across the entire region. They are dominated by Mount Tate, one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains”. To the northwest stands the city of Toyama, an entrepreneurial centre with ambitions of sustainability and a distinctly progressive spirit. On the horizon: the Sea of Japan. Mountains, land, sea, village, city: a quintessential Japanese landscape melding industry and agriculture, urbanism and rurality, tradition and modernity, purity and hybridity.
With the belief that his project needed a womb from which it could emerge fully formed, Richard Geoffroy chose this location primarily for its beauty.


Sake is essential craft, endlessly perfected. In the thousand kuras dotting Japan, tojis and their teams perform an age-old, hands-on, highly sophisticated process. Rice is polished, washed, soaked, steamed, cooled, inverted, mashed, fermented, pressed – a miraculous transmutation of solid into liquid, cereal into alcohol. At a time when their number is in decline, it is a great privilege to create a contemporary kura. It is designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma.
The kura is called Shiraiwa, after the site that welcomes it. Harmoniously slotted into the landscape, in profound dialogue with the history of rural architecture, it channels the core principles of IWA: inclusivity, horizontality, community. Workers and guests, production and reception, live and work under the same roof, share the same accommodations, and gather around a unique hearth. IWA’s unique approach to production informed the layout of the Shiraiwa kura.


Ryuichiro Masuda

IWA was brought to life by a constellation of passionate and creative minds.
IWA は、情熱と創造力に溢れる人々によって命が吹き込まれた。
Designer Marc Newson carved IWA into glass. He created the shape of the bottle by morphing traditional Sake vessels and chose to finish it with an unconventionally dark, velvety sheen: such drama when the liquid is poured, like light emerging from deep shadows. Fused to the body as a thin layer of flat white glass, the mark drawn by calligrapher Mariko Kinoshita in collaboration with designer Hideki Nakajima breaks the stillness of the bottle. It’s an object made for pleasure, defined in relation with hand and skin, brimming with a warm humanity.
IWAのボトルはマーク・ニューソンによりデザインされた。彼は伝統的な日本酒のボトルに、今までにない深い色味をもたせ、ベルベットのような艶のある質感に仕上げた。酒が注がれる瞬間は、深く暗い影から光が湧き出ているかのようである。書道家 木下真理子とアートディレクター 中島英樹のコラボレーションにより生み出された、白い硝子の層からなる書は、ボトルに躍動感を与え、静と動のコントラストをもたらす。筆致によって喜びが表現され、温かな人間味がボトルに加わった。
When Richard Geoffroy met architect Kengo Kuma, he found a gracious initiator into the realities of Japan. Kengo Kuma introduced Richard Geoffroy to another invaluable facilitator of the project: Ryuichiro Masuda, CEO of Masuda Shuzo, a family-owned Sake company established in 1893. His native region of Toyama would become IWA’s hometown, and the place where Kengo Kuma would build his first Sake brewery, a rare opportunity, even for a Japanese architect of Kuma’s stature.
建築家 隈研吾との出会いが、リシャール・ジョフロワを日本へと導いた。隈研吾はリシャール・ジョフロワに、このプロジェクトの鍵となる重要な人物を紹介した。1893年の創業以来代々続く桝田酒造店の蔵元、桝田隆一郎である。彼の生まれ育った富山でIWAは誕生し、隈研吾によって酒蔵が設計された。長い日本酒の歴史の中でも、非常に稀有なコラボレーションが実現した。


Photography is one of the ways in which IWA makes sense of the world. Nao Tsuda is the first artist invited to create work in response to the landscape of Shiraiwa. The seasons, presented here, are the first installment of a greater study. In Tsuda’s landscapes, time appears as a function of the relationship between human and nature. His books include Kogi (2005-07), SMOKE LINE (2008), Storm Last Night (2010), SAMELAND (2014), NAGA (2015), and Elnias Forest (2018).
写真による情景の表現は、IWAの世界観を理解する重要な要素となる。津田直は、白岩のランドスケープを表す最初のゲストアーティストである。写し出された立山の四季は、白岩にとってのインスタレーションの第一弾となった。津田のランドスケープには、人間と自然を繋ぐ「時間」がとらえられている。彼の代表作には、漕(2005-07)、SMOKE LINE(2008)、Storm Last Night(2010)、SAMELAND(2014)、NAGA(2015)、Elnias Forest(2018)がある。

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