14.01.2021

INSIGHT PRODUCTION: KARIMOKU FURNITURE

High-quality, sustainable production and high-end materials are at the heart of all our clients’ businesses. In our INSIGHT PRODUCTION series, we take a look behind the scenes of our clients’ production, showcase the hand-made nature of the products as well as the love and dedication that goes into them. Focus today, the Japanese furniture manufacturer Karimoku Furniture, with its high-end sub-brands Karimoku New Standard and Karimoku Case Study.

 

Karimoku Furniture Inc. is Japan’s leading wooden furniture manufacturer with origins dating back to the 1940s. Under the manufacturing concept of „high-tech and high-touch“, Karimoku has been looking for the most ideal balance between machine-made and man-made, producing highly crafted, industrial objects with the Japanese sense of beauty, that will be loved as lifelong partners. Each of their factories in the prefectures of Aichi and Gifu in Japan is specially developed to create and work with specific furniture categories, ensuring to produce the best quality furniture in the most reliable and efficient way.

 

Over the past 11 years, Karimoku successfully launched a series of new collections, as a result of thecompany’s open, innovative approach.With Karimoku New Standard (KNS), the company developes unique contemporary
designs through collaborative work with international designers, thus creating innovative furniture of the highest quality, imbued with a sense of joy. More recently Karimoku also developed KUNST by Karimoku, representing a completely different design approach and style to that of KNS. With KUNST by Karimoku the most advanced, state-of-the-art wood processing technology and craft is applied. With Karimoku Case Study, Karimoku launched a new lifestyle brand in collaboration with Danish design studio Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa Design in 2019, ultimately trying to improve spaces with high-end furniture.

The Kiara forest in Japan.
Unprocessed logs are transported from the forest to a nearby sawmill to be used for furniture making.
Each individual log is checked for its condition. The central core of a log is referred to as the “heartwood”, while the outer edge is the “sapwood”; the ratio of each is carefully examined.
A healthy forest produces healthy wood, which is eventually transformed into beautiful furniture. ⁠
Tree trunks can be divided into three parts: the „pith,“ which is the center from which buds and growth points originate, the „wood,“ which is the main part, and the „bark,“ which is the outer layer. Pictured here is the process of peeling off the bark. Removing excess moisture and finding a balance with temperature and humidity to minimize the risk of deviations in the wood are among the basics of furniture making.
The natural drying process takes 3-6 months and can vary depending on the type of wood.
Growth rings or annual rings get their name and appearance from the observable difference between the rapid growth from spring to summer and the slower period from fall to winter. These rings indicate the age of the tree, while the shape reveals how the tree has grown.  Once the wood has been dried sufficiently, it is taken in to be cut. Experienced factory staff make sure that only the necessary amount that is needed for furniture production is procured. Karimoku takes great care to ensure that no splits or knots are left in the wood. ⁠ Under the manufacturing concept of „high-tech and high-touch“, Karimoku has been looking for the most ideal balance between machine-made and man-made, producing highly crafted, industrial objects with the Japanese sense of beauty, that will be loved as lifelong partners. The Panorama chair, designed by German design studio Geckeler Michels for Karimoku New Standard in the making. 



Photo credits: Tomooki Kengaku