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Hida Sangyo is based in Hida-Takayama, a city in mountainous Gifu Prefecture, home to an abundance of native beech forests and a long history of prospering as a centre of wooden furniture production in Japan. 

The company’s furniture incorporates the age-old skills and craftsmanship for which Hida-Takayama is renowned, whilst continuously seeking out new methods of design and production. Operating for over a century, the company was the first in Japan to proudly display wood’s natural knots, going against the smooth lines which previously defined Japanese furniture making.

Today, collaborations with overseas designers allow Hida Sangyo to reinterpret western aesthetics in a Japanese style, creating new pieces which emphasise Japanese craftsmanship and materials. The company makes use of revolutionary techniques to give a second life to often-overlooked domestic wood. In their factory, cedar - typically too brittle and malleable for furniture - is compressed, producing a durability that allows designers to create silky-smooth, long-lasting chairs and tables which have cedar’s attractive, subtle scent.

Hara Kenya – TATAMIZA zaisu chair

Hara Kenya is the Chief Creative Director of Japan House London, a Professor at Tokyo’s Musashino Art University, President of Nippon Design Centre and Art Director of MUJI. His furniture designs aspire to create something akin to “an experience” rather than simply “an object”.

The TATAMIZA zaisu chair was born of Hara’s desire for an ideal chair to use in his den. Zaisu are low, Japanese floor chairs which are typically used in tatami mat rooms, often with a cushion on top for comfort. Though elegant in form, with a fluid design that recalls a one-stroke sketch, the TATAMIZA zaisu chair has been designed for practicality and back support. The chair was selected for permanent display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2017.

Kawakami Motomi - KISARAGI chair

Kawakami Motomi, founder of the Kawakami Design Office, specialises in interiors and environmental design. Since his debut exhibition at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1969, Kawakami has exhibited works across the world. He has accrued countless notable awards throughout his career, most recently the German Design Award in 2018.

The KISARAGI chair is the world’s first dining chair to make use of straight-grained cedar. The compression of quarter sewn cedar allows this usually soft wood to be used for durable, refined dining furniture. Kisaragi refers to the renewal or rebirth of plants – an ode to the native Japanese cedar, renewed for use in the making of these chairs.

Yanagi Sori – YANAGI COLLECTION – chair, arm chair and table

Yanagi Sori was a prolific designer whose skills spanned furniture, porcelain, utensils, bridges and cars. His creations, specifically his ‘Butterfly Stool’, lead to Japanese designers receiving global recognition for furniture production. Working well beyond retirement up until his death in 2011 at the age of 96, Yanagi’s works are now memorialised in esteemed museums across the globe, including the Louvre in Paris and MoMA in New York.

atelier oï – GIFOÏ chair

The founders of atelier oï - Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond - began production in 1991 in Le Neuveville, Switzerland. Their joint work encompasses architecture, interior design, scenography and product design, showing their multidisciplinary skill and dynamism. The team form a close-knit bond with their materials and display a reverence for natural forms, something which allows them to feel perfectly at home with Japanese design aesthetics.

Their GIFOÏ chair showcases the unison between Swiss talent and the masterful techniques of wood bending and cedar compression used in Hida-Takayama. The inspiration for this chair came from the polished rocks surrounding Gifu’s numerous onsen, hot springs. Using a combination of beech and cedar woods, the sensory and tactile pleasures of smooth rock have been recreated for these richly-coloured dining chairs.

Enzo Mari - HIDA chair

Italian designer Enzo Mari is considered not only a ground-breaking designer, but a prominent design theorist. His pieces aim to go beyond aesthetics, to be utilitarian, functional and do justice to the materials used. He has won the prestigious Compasso d’Oro design award on four occasions.

Mari’s HIDA concept chair makes use of compressed cedar for the purpose of sustainability. Japanese cedar forests require periodic thinning for maintenance purposes, making this an ideal material for environmentally-sustainable furniture craft. Mari’s HIDA chairs celebrate cedar’s natural knots, revealing the beauty of materials in their most raw, uncompromised form.