drawing influence from Japanese traditional woodcraft
product designer kodai iwamoto introduces ‘pari pari’, a furniture series combining traditional woodcraft with modern technologies. the collection draws influence from the woodworking technique ‘hegi’, which has been used in japan since ancient times. the resulting pieces —which include stools, shelves, and tables— are composed of thin sheets of colored wood, glued in layers, forming a texture similar to the one of plywood.
all images by tomohiko ogihara
about the ‘hegi’ technique
mainly used in wooden shingles making, the hegi technique involves cutting logs into planks with a machete instead of a machine. although it is an analog method of splitting wood, it allows the wood to be made into thin sheets that retain the uneven feel of the wooden surface. in addition, it prevents the wood from bending or warping, often caused by using machines.
currently, the hegi technique is still used when making traditional wooden structures like roofs and shrine walls. in ‘paripari’, kodai iwamoto draws inspiration from the japanese technique, applying it to modern technologies in an attempt to search for a new form of expression in furniture design.
working with irregular and uncontrollable hand work
‘pari pari’ is an onomatopoeic japanese word that refers to the sound of a thin plate breaking, similar to ice. in iwamoto’s newly unveiled collection, thin sheets of colored wood are laminated and glued together in layers, similar to plywood. the surface layers are then peeled off before the glue hardens, creating a random pattern resembling the bark of a tree.
normally plywood is manufactured in a calculated and precise manner using specialized machines. by incorporating irregular and uncontrollable hand-work into the process, unique and natural patterns can be produced. ‘when we create something we usually move our hands with a vague idea of the finished product in our minds. by adding a process that cannot be controlled by the human hand, (…) we can touch a part of the beauty that is sometimes brought about by chance, as in the natural landscape.’ the japanese designer explains.