Wood Under Pressure


The shady Japanese Cedar, or Sugi, has long been a symbol of that island's cultural and religious connection to nature. Japan's national tree, avenues of these giants can often be found leading to temples and forming entire forests in the mountains. Because of the wood's softness however, Sugi has never been considered suitable for construction or furniture. This has led to an overabundance of these trees, which have began to squeeze out other species and limit biodiversity.


Enter another iconic old tree: Italian designer Enzo Mari. After Japanese furniture company Hida Sangyo developed a compression process for Sugi wood, Mari was asked to design a set of furniture made from the wood. The process is like sous vide for trees, and compresses each piece to about two-thirds its original size. This leads to stronger wood with denser grain patterns, a unique material that Mari used to create a set of furniture that plays with traditional Japanese furniture techniques. Each piece puts the user's attention on the wood itself, and the joinery details in particular.


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