We talk a lot about stepping outside of your comfort zone and innovating. I think handicrafts is one of the harder areas to innovate in as we are often held back by the traditional skills that are passed down to us. Functionally furniture doesn’t have to be edited that much, but there are certain details that can make them more tactile and offer a warmth that is not seen in the world of industrial production. This human spirit will be more important as technology takes hold.
One studio in Japan that’s been on my radar for a while is Yokohama-based Mokkou Yamagen headed by craftsmen Genki and Mizuki Nishiyama. Both studied woodwork in Tokyo and went on to start their own studio in Yokohama in 2012. Since then they’ve garnered a lot of attention online thanks to their brilliantly curated Instagram page that features pictures of them making and unique photos of their furniture.
It’s deserved considering their attention to detail and Yamagen’s focus on quality woodwork. Their forms are traditional in a sense but are very sleek and use a minimal amount of wood to achieve their overall function. They really are artists at stripping back any unnecessary elements and letting the beauty of the wood shine through. Here are some pictures that caught my eye from their portfolio. I especially like the moody ones with the darkness just behind as I think it brings out the warmth in these works and captures what’s best about these handcrafted objects. Enjoy.