A lightweight cast iron skillet that is as innovative as it is practical.
JIU is a multi-functional, lightweight cast iron skillet that transforms the cooking experience – especially while camping – into pure joy. And like many revolutionary designs, this one has a fascinating story behind it. In the spring of 2016, design studio TENT and family-owned and run factory Fujita Metal MFG got together with a simple plan: to create an innovative frying pan. The idea seemed straightforward enough at first. However, the two teams soon realized that even a simple product can be incredibly challenging to perfect. Located in Yao City in Osaka, Japan, Metal MFG was established in 1952 and has been run by the same family since the beginning. The factory produces handmade, traditional Japanese cast iron kitchenware and cookware completely in-house, with members of the family each overseeing different stages of the production. This expertise became a crucial part in the saga of bringing JIU to life.
With the first meeting in 2016 underway, TENT and Fujita Metal came to the realization that a new type of frying pan would need to solve a problem previously not addressed by similar products. Efficiency became the guiding principle of the concept stage. Soon, the team came up with a solution. A frying pan that the cook can use to prepare a meal and then enjoy it. Combining ‘cooking’ and ‘eating’ in one product, JUI is the perfect cast iron skillet for camping. It features a standard rounded shape but a detachable handle that allows the user to convert it into a plate.
A detachable handle with a cutting-edge mechanism.
Finding the perfect mechanism for the detachable handle took some time, as the team wanted to create a completely new system made only with metal and no resin. And the result? A beautifully simplified yet complex metal mechanism that uses the shape of the pan itself and the wooden handle to create a secure connection between the two. Apart from making the pan look similar to a plate, the wide edge of the lightweight cast iron skillet also allows the user to easily attach the handle. The user can connect it to the rim from any direction.
The patent pending system is simple as well as easy to use. Sliding the top of the handle separates the two sections, allowing the user to attach the bottom half to the skillet. Sliding back the top part over the edge of the pan locks the mechanism in place. Easy to detach and attach while cooking, the handle is specially designed to slide and open only when needed. It stays securely in place while attached, both during the cooking process and when moving the pan onto a table.
Versatile and practical, for breakfasts at home or in the middle of a forest.
JIU suits everything from meat and eggs to vegetables, noodles and pasta, curry, and even bread. The cast iron keeps the meat juicy, the vegetables crunchy, and the bread crispy on the outside. Furthermore, this product can last a lifetime. Because the perfect cast iron skillet for camping is one you can use for years without worrying about a replacement. Each pan is handmade from 1.6mm thick mill scale steel with a metal spin forming process. A proprietary hardening and tempering process makes this lightweight cast iron skilled resistant to rust as well as non-stick. Plus, JIU is suitable to use on all stovetops, including induction stoves.
Cleaning is also easy, as the skillet only requires hot water and a scrubbing brush. With use, the cast iron “matures” and becomes even better for cooking. The ideal cast iron skillet for camping or for family breakfasts at home, JIU comes in two sizes, M and S. Both of them come with a beech wood or walnut wood handle carved out from one piece of solid wood. You can now find the JIU lightweight cast iron skillet in the Gessato Design Store. Photography© TENT and Fujita Metal.