I’ve been following Japanese brand Ariake ever since 2017/2018 when I discovered that a designer I had been following by the name of Zoe Mowat had collaborated to make an exquisite indigo-dyed cabinet.
Ariake is a furniture brand founded by Legnatec and Hirata Chair, two factories from the furniture producing town of Morodomi in Saga prefecture, Japan. They have really set themselves apart by putting all of their energy in to asking contemporary designers to interpret Japanese culture and the expertise of the craftsmen at these two workshops and see what they can bring to fruition.
Their most recent collaboration with Swedish studio NOTE is much more subtle than Zoe Mowat’s interpretation, but through its function and ability to blend in to any space I thought it was an instant winner.
Inspired by Masu cups, which are square-shaped wooden boxes sometimes used when drinking sake, the team at NOTE decided to use the square, box-like structure for the main body of the table and make the top a simple tray-like circular shape that can easily be removed. This leaves a space inside perfect to store things.
The juxtaposition of the circular and square elements intrigued me, as well as the legs that angle outward at 45 degrees. As always with Ariake made furniture, they have thought about the construction and the joinery is exquisite. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Japanese woodworkers!
I hope Ariake keep asking designers to collaborate with them. I’m inspired to see more creative designs, especially how others explore form, material, and place craft at the forefront in our modern world.