Japan has one of the highest percentage of the forests in general. Almost 67% of the forests is the surprising information, when we remember that Japan is one of the most progressive industrial countries in the world. Tradition, care and natural love of the land are only three factors to mention, why so many beautiful forests are in Japan.
The traditional craft based on the use of the natural wood is related to it. In Japan, wood was always one of the most usable materials for production of decorative and applied arts. So when we see the ultimate reverence for the artistic and philosophy tradition in Japan, we can not be surprised that most popular material in contemporary Japanese design is also wood. Used in the different, sometimes more or less experimental design projects, the wood leads the dance in the new Japanese design, as well as architecture.
We looked deeper into the theme and selected some of the projects, that are characterized by the beautiful craft production and use of the wood. For example decorative object called Short by Short by Hironobu Yamabe for the special Edition Horizontal by Tokyo-based company E&Y comments craft itself. Because this conceptual craft object includes the frame made to display the wood waste generated during its own production. The theme of the craft and woodwork is the main concept of the object which was created only for it. At the other hand, quite famous project of the folding wooden screens called Join by Japanese-Dutch studio BCXSY which has presented it at the last year Salone del Mobile in Milan also explores new possibilities of the traditional craft. For Join they worked with a craftsman called Mr. Tanaka, a master of Japanese Tategu wood joinery. The result is the the series of the distinctively modern screens that introduces angles and shapes that are not commonly used in the traditional Japanese craft. New contexts are explored, too.
About wood in Japanese design we can talk more and more including work of the minimalist guru Naoto Fukasawa and his revitalization of the classic wooden chair by Maruni company, new production lines of the furniture company Karimoku or collaboration of the Bouroullec brothers with the Japanese craftsmen using the tradition of the wood lacquer. In the addition we have here some less known examples also including architecture. The wooden clad interiors are also contemporary reincarnation of the traditional use of the wood in the Japanese domestic architecture.
Last but not least we can mention project called More Trees which explores new possibilities of the usage of the Japanese natural assets. They asked some young Japanese designers to make intimate design objects from the wood. Result in a series of the kitchen accessories or lamps is very pure and decent, as well as wooden creations by Jin Kuromata or Kana Nakanishi.