UNITED ARROWS (Japan) x PROUD Furniture Collection

karimoku x Medicom Toy (Japan) Bearbrick Rosewood Paint 400%

Japanese furniture company karimoku partners up with Medicom Toy once again to present the limited edition Bearbrick Rosewood Paint 400%. The newest Bearbrick release is clean and simple in design and features a dark, rich wooden texture. The karimoku x Medicom Toy Bearbrick Rosewood Paint 400% launches April 24 at an approximate price of $545 USD (excluding tax).

Muji (Japan) furnishes Narita International Airport’s new Terminal 3

Japanese design firm SIDES CORE reduces the hair salon down to its essentials

House Industries x Karimoku x Medicom Toy Bearbrick (Japan) 400%

A new iteration of the ever-popular Bearbrick is here, this time, in collaboration with Japanese furniture brand, Karimoku and House Industries. The “House Industries” Bearbrick comes in a 400% size, and features an elegant, all-over wooden finishing. Emulating timeless furniture pieces, the Bearbrick features logos on its front and back courtesy of the type foundry.

Made in Japan and in limited quantities, make sure to pick yours up when it becomes available March 21, for ¥70,200 JPY (approximately $580 USD), for more information, check out the Bearbrick site here while House Industries work can be seen over at their website.

CLAE Perspectives explores the furniture design of Shin Okuda

Following the release of CLAE Footwear’s Early Spring 2015 collection comes a new and ongoing video series entitled, Perspectives. Created to give viewers an insight into the world of artists, designers and friends of the brand who “share CLAE’s aesthetic values and design sensibilities.”

The first installment of the Perspectives series features Los Angeles-based furniture designer Shin Okuda as he takes us on a tour through his design workshop, WAKA WAKA. Serving as a visual introduction of the Gregory Standard Premium Court Shoe and the new Hoffman Ballistic Nylon Runner, the video follows Shin Okuda through his design process from visualization through to completion. Having previously designed fixtures for the brand’s flagship store in Los Angeles, Shin’s design preferences and attention to detail effectively align themselves with CLAE’s ethos to create products that evolve and endure.

The full look featured above is available to shop here.

N.HOOLYWOOD (Japan) x arflex “Marenco” Armchair

Japanese brand N.HOOLYWOOD has teamed up with Italian contemporary furniture brand arflex on its iconic “Marenco” armchair. Celebrating the remodeling of Isetan Shinjuku’s home interior floor, the armchair features an all-over graphic print, boasting various sentences printed in black against cream, for a modern and eye-catching addition to any living space.

The “Marenco” armchair is known for its revolutionary system in assembling the the seat and armrest to the base. This special iteration will be available near the end of March at Isetan Shinjuku.

Kumiko: The exquisitely delicate side of traditional Japanese woodwork

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RocketNews 24:

A few weeks ago we introduced you to the world of traditional Japanese woodwork, a technique that uses no nails or hardware, just precise joints, to keep furniture and even buildings together. This technique is also used to create intricate, wooden, functional artwork, known as kumiko, which is used within Japanese style-rooms to create a stunning atmosphere.

The traditional handicraft has been passed down for centuries, however, the trade is sadly dying out. In response, artisans are taking the age-old concept and applying the designs to more modern-day household items, such as chairs and lampshades. The results are nothing short of exquisite!

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According to Tanihata Co., a kumiko workshop in Toyama Prefecturekumiko has been around since the Asuka era (600-700 AD). The craft was originally used almost exclusively for sliding doors, room dividers and ramma (the decorative wooden piece above many doors in traditional Japanese buildings). While providers like Tanihata still make these products, modernization has brought a decrease in demand for such traditional room components, so craftsmen are broadening their horizons.

Ramma, the decorative section above doors and walls

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Regardless of what they are making, the time and care put into each piece never changes. If you thought making buildings and furniture in the traditional Japanese style was painstaking, prepared to be wowed.

Just like furniture-makers, kumiko artists are very particular about the wood they use. While, it’s easier to use mass-produced particle board, you lose the ability to be as precise, the elegant atmosphere of real wood, and of course, the great smell! When choosing wood, they prefer to use that of coniferous trees, namely cedar and cypress, because they grow straight and the wood has a high-quality fine grain.

▼ Kumiko is often made of wood from tall, thin, Japanese cypress trees.

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Once the wood is picked out, cut and planed, they make the frame for the piece, whether it be a coaster or a ceiling lampshade. Next comes the difficult and intricate part of the process, which makes kumiko what it is. Hundreds of small pieces of wood are thinly sliced and shaved with a variety of tools, such as old-fashioned knives and saws, plus new machinery too. These tiny pieces have to be precisely cut down to the micron (1/1000 mm) or they won’t fit together perfectly! Once cut, the pieces are carefully assembled by being slid into place in an elaborate design within the frame.

▼ A variety of machinery and hand-tools are used to make and assemble the delicate pieces.

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The designs for kumiko pieces aren’t chosen randomly. In fact, many of the nearly 200 patterns used today have been around since the Edo era (1603-1868). Each design has a meaning or is mimicking a pattern in nature that is thought to be a good omen. The designs are not just pretty, they also distribute light and wind in a calming and beautiful way.

▼ The Shippou design. In Buddhist scripture, shippou refers to a set of treasures (which includes gold, silver, lapis lazuli, quartz, coral and agate), and the never-ending, circular design represents harmony.

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▼ The goma design is suggestive of nutritional and abundant sesame flowers, which are thought to promote longevity. This design is often used for ramma.

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▼ Sanjyu-hifu is a design that utilizes thin strips to create diamond shapes. It’s thought to mimic very fertile water plants, a good omen for prosperous offspring and good health. With this is mind, sanjyu-hifu is often used in hotels and wedding halls.

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▼ The Asanoha pattern takes after the hemp leaf. Hemp plants are known for growing quickly and straight-up, as well as for being sturdy plants. For this reason, the design has come to be used commonly with baby clothes too.

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▼ These are some of the more common designs.

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As we mentioned earlier, artisans are turning their focus to bringing their trade to the modern world, while still sticking with the traditional roots of kumiko. With this in mind, they have been creating beautiful art that can be used on a daily basis in any home.

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▼ You can even get kumiko chairs!

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Due to the drop in demand for traditional Japanese interior decoration, such as ramma,the kumiko trade has also seen a decrease in the number of young craftsmen. But hopefully, with the technique being applied to modern living, more young people will step up to the challenge and carry on this intricate and beautiful craft for future generations.

ChocolaTextureLounge Installation by Japanese design firm Nendo

A closer look at Alexander Wang’s lounge furniture collaboration with Poltrona Frau