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Japanese Cedar, Reinvented

Architecture Design Furniture Interior Japan Lighting Tableware

Japanese cedar wood has a complicated history. On the one hand, it’s one of the most traditionally common woods in Japan and has been used to make furniture for centuries. Planted in great numbers to replenish forests depleted during WWII, the Japanese cedar grows quickly and is considered a sustainable resource. The wood is well known for its rich, textured color that gives furniture with a strong sense of presence through its pleasant scent and its resistance to decay. The Japanese cedar is iconic, covering the forests of Japan’s most famous landmark, Mount Fuji. 

On the other hand, the Japanese cedar comes with its share of problems. In spring, the trees infamously produce tons of pollen that trigger allergies in a significant portion of the population. In terms of furniture making, Japanese cedar is a soft wood, which isn’t very desirable for indoor furniture expected to be used often and to last a long time. And to top it all off, despite being a domestic wood, it isn’t commonly used in furniture today as it’s cheaper to use imported wood, which also tends to be more durable.

So why, if Japanese cedar can be so troublesome, would any high-end furniture maker want to use its wood?

For one, it’s a point of pride for Japanese furniture makers to utilize one of their most abundant natural resources. A famous saying in Japan is kusarenawa mo yaku ni tatsu, which translates to “everything has its use.” Japanese craftsmen are driven to discover new uses in all the resources that surround them and feel a sense of shame if things aren’t used to their fullest potential, especially if it’s a resource iconic to the Japanese spirit.

While many Japanese furniture makers opt for imported wood, a select few make it their mission to craft furniture that not only maximizes its Japanese spirit, but also reaches new levels of innovation. These craftsmen want to capture the beauty of their natural surroundings in a way that also embodies a competitive edge in today’s global market. They know that high-end furniture today can’t simply be made with beautiful wood: it must be durable, ergonomic, and designed to fit a modern lifestyle.

The Kisaragi collection is one such result of the effort to make high-end furniture that is proudly Japanese. Its designers have innovated a new treatment and processing of Japanese cedar that compresses the wood and imbues it with much needed strength and durability into the furniture. Kisaragi is the Japanese word for February and literally translates to the “renewal of plants.” This collection is named for the sentiment of breathing new life into a domestic resource, and the result is a furniture collection that not only features the natural beauty of Japanese wood, but also a unprecedented durability perfect for everyday use and a processing method that is ultimately sustainable.

More about Kisaragi Collection: https://ookkuu.com/collections/kisaragi


By OOKKUU team


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