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Nendo's kona-shoyu container All photos: Courtesy of Akihiro Yoshida

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Shimogamo Saryo, which opened its doors in 1856, is one of the best-known restaurants in Japan's former imperial capital, located in one of the city's most picturesque neighborhoods.

They recently called on cutting-edge design studio Nendo to devise a dispenser to serve soy sauce in a wholly new way.

The restaurant brief was for a container for "kona-shoyu", a powdered version of soy sauce, which unlike liquid soy sauce, does not dampen the crispy texture of fried dishes.

Having noticed that traditional sauce bottles were not suitable for powdered seasoning, the studio sought inspiration in the utensils used in traditional tea ceremonies and the chōzuya ablution pavillions in Shinto shrines.

(Related: Me@OUE Brings Together Three Great Minds For Its Japan Fiesta)

The new container has twin rounded compartments, one of which can be opened to allow diners to spread an even layer of soy powder over their plates.

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Kona-shoyu (powdered soy) next to a traditional liquid soy sauce bottle

Since its inception, Nendo has has received commissions from major brands and  been recognized by numerous awards. The studio's founding designer, Oki Sato, was named designer of the year at the January 2016 Maison & Objet design fair in Paris.

The list of brands that have collaborated with Nendo includes Cappellini, Moroso, Bisazza, Tod's, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Baccarat, Camper, Puma, Starbucks and Coca-Cola.

(Related: What The Louis Vuitton Collaboration With Jeff Koons Really Looks Like)

Tags: design, japan, Nendo, Maison&Objet, Oki Sato, design thinking, Shimogamo Saryo