Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts FurnishingsWe would like to convey the allure of wood.
Woodworking Specialists Group at Tokyo Mokkoujou
Arts & Crafts Furnishings
January 12, 2018
They built the cypress-wood stage of the Kabukiza Theater,
the lecture hall at the University of Tokyo (Yasuda Auditorium), and the International Conference Hall in the Keidanren Kaikan. Shimizu is the only major general contractor in Japan that has its own woodworking facility. This facility, Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts Furnishings, creates a wide variety of wooden products that require a high level of skill in woodworking.
The Allure and Complexity of Wood
Hayato Ide, the director of Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts Furnishings, says “There is an allure and complexity that is unique to woodworking.” For example, the photo above shows
a wall in the reception room at Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts Furnishings. This pattern was created by attaching a plywood veneer (wood sliced to paper-like thinness of 0.25 mm)
to composite board.
Sheets printed with a woodgrain pattern are often used when building a woodgrain wall nowadays, but the print always ends up having a completely uniform woodgrain pattern. The patterns of the annual growth rings in natural wood, however, vary slightly. These slight variations are proof that it is real wood.
It conveys the beauty and warmth of wood that cannot be mimicked in a print.
It takes long years of experience and expertise to install woodgrain with its gradual variations without it appearing odd. The work involved in installing it while carefully discerning the characteristics of natural wood that warps, expands, and shrinks with the weather, temperature, humidity and air conditioning is painstaking work. Finely honing woodworking techniques accumulated over its long history and passing them down to young woodworkers—that is also one of the roles that Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts Furnishings plays.
Wood and Environmental Protection
Japan is one of the most forested countries in the world. Proactive use of wood is essential to the utilization of Japan’s abundant forest resources. Generally speaking, the harvesting of trees conveys the image of destroying the natural environment, but that is
a misperception. The forestry industry is shrinking and this will create a serious problem if the mountains and forests are left unmanaged. Mature old trees do not perform photosynthesis and do not absorb carbon dioxide. Their large leaves and branches also block the sunlight and this prevents new grass and trees from growing which would preserve the health of the soil. This makes it easier for landslides to occur.
Old trees that have stopped growing are properly thinned. This is necessary for young trees that will absorb a lot of carbon dioxide and generate oxygen to grow. That is essential in order to have enough wood resources for the next generation. Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts Furnishings engages in activities that convey the allure of wood based on the concept of wanting to rejuvenate
the mountains of Japan.
Familiarizing Others with Wood
One of the activities that Shimizu holds is a woodworking class. For example, students participated in cedar tree thinning of the forest behind their school in a class held at the Shizugawa Jr. High School in the town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture in January 2016. The harvested trees were transported to a lumber yard where they were dried to produce lumber. The students who were able to experience the lumber-making process worked intently to create crafts under the guidance of the young employees from Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts Furnishings who serve as instructors.
Shimizu has also gifted Kino Style product made at Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts Furnishings to shareholders each year since 2011.
Searching for New Activities
We are preparing for participation in a “Woodstart” project sponsored by the nonprofit Craft and Toy Manufacturers Association as a future project. The goal of Woodstart is to make it possible for children and all others to be able to experience the warmth of wood in their lives. Woodstart projects were underway in 34 communities, 23 companies, and 14 daycare centers as of November 2017.
Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts Furnishings is considering
a business to congratulate people on the birth of a child
by giving them a wooden toy when they come to their local government office to register the birth as part of the Woodstart project.
“The process involves creating round logs from a rectangular block of wood. When the central axis of the round logs on the left and right differs, it won’t move in a way that delights babies,” explained the person in charge of the project. “We pay attention to the characteristics of the wood and the accuracy in each of the steps in producing them.”
Tokyo Mokkoujou Arts & Crafts Furnishings is still active in a wide variety of activities that will enable even more people to experience the warmth and allure of wood.
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