Aero Concept was founded in Tokyo in 2003 and grew out of the philosophy, skill and passion of its creator, Keiichi Sugano. These beautiful and practical objects are testament to Sugano’s art and creativity – from taking his original idea to using his hands and vision to bring together materials and tools to make it a reality.
Aero Concept has its roots in a small precision engineering company called Keiswi that specialises in making component parts for Boeing and Airbus airplanes and for Shinkashen, the Japanese high speed bullet trains. Such clients require the highest quality materials worked to an exacting level of precision. Keiswi is a small family business with a long established reputation. It's present owner, Keiichi Sugano, born in Tokyo in 1951, took over the company from his grandfather, a highly skilled craftsman who was appointed chief builder for the replacement of the copper roof on Osaka Castle in 1931.
While modern manufacturing aims to create products as quickly and cheaply as possible, Aero Concept stands out for its fanatical devotion to the production of each individual item, working by hand to create components with a precision that is impossible on a production line. This is the heritage behind the Aero Concept products, created with the vision and passion of a master craftsman.
Aero Concept was born from practicality. From making his own case to making bespoke items for individual clients, Sugano built up Aero Concept’s reputation purely by word of mouth. “In the beginning, it was just a case of me building something that I wanted for myself. I really had no plan, it just happened naturally. I don’t have the talent to make a plan like that” Sugano says.
His first order was from an architect, who had come for a meeting at the workshop and spotted a case that Sugano was carrying. Using all the skills he’d refined in his day-to-day work with Keiswi, Sugano had made a specialised 'blueprint holding case' to hold his own designs. It was a case with a specific purpose that had a very strong presence. Aero Concept’s philosophy was sealed.
“He asked me to make one for him too, so I did. Then someone who had seen his case contacted me, and I made one for him as well and then gradually more and more people started coming to me with the same request. Whenever I had some free time, I’d be working on these projects a little bit at a time. My research into design and technique was also attained throughout this period.”
“Even though I was using materials that we had in the workshop, it still cost money. I used the same materials that go into making airplane and bullet train parts, so it is really expensive and I couldn’t make a lot at one time. I enjoyed myself, getting this far one week, making up to that point next week. One month I wouldn't have the money for extra materials, so I’d have to leave it until we received the next order for aircraft parts. It was like that.”