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issue 30 | July 2022
Beppu bamboo crafts have developed along with the onsen-hot spring culture. The city of Beppu in Oita Prefecture is one of Japan’s favorite hot springs destinations, boasting the largest number of hot springs in Japan. In the Meiji era (1868-1912), when onsen tourism developed, kitchen utensils such as baskets and strainers made from bamboo became popular as souvenirs. The souvenirs brought back by onsen visitors promoted Beppu’s bamboo craftsmanship throughout the country.
Most of the Beppu bamboo crafts are made from high quality local bamboo. Products are crafted using eight basic techniques and over 400 knitting patterns. Practical and beautiful Beppu bamboo utensils integrate advanced techniques and have evolved into crafts that are beyond the realm of souvenirs.
The training center, which was established in 1939 as one of the first to train young craftspeople, continues to produce many artisans as the only specialized training school for bamboo crafts in Japan. Beppu bamboo crafts were exhibited in Paris and New York just recently to disseminate Japanese technology to the world.
After my very first meeting with Maruni, I thought a round table should be our joint project.
A chair is often considered the pinnacle in the hierarchy of furniture, but a table is such a vital piece of furniture: many situations in our everyday life unfold around a table: dining, playing, working, spending time with family and friends.
A round table gives rise to a certain atmosphere and a sense of ‘being together’ -simply by virtue of its circular shape. This, in a way, was my inspiration for working with a rounded atmosphere, using the embracing ‘klismos’ chair backrest and loop leg frames with chamfered details in a balanced soft-sharp appearance.
I have tried to keep the chair modest in size and expression but still with character and good seating comfort. Maple wood was chosen for its light tone and even structure, which works well with the subtle textile colours and natural tanned leather selected for the seat.
Maruni will be closed for the summer holidays starting August 11th and will reopen on August 17th, 2022.
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