Furniture for people ”Wood Craft Artist  Hideki Saito”

Furniture for people
”Wood Craft Artist Hideki Saito”

Valuing the characteristics of wood

”Kino Shigoto Juju” is a workshop in Ishinomaki-shi, producing wooden furniture that soothes people’s hearts. Woodcraft artist Hideki Saito states, ”I’m not just making furniture. I want people to know how interesting wood is as a material.”
His pieces have minimal decorations, so the charm of wood itself can be felt more. The pieces utilize the original colors of the wood, so there are variations, and on closer examination, they even smell differently. Saito values the characteristics of the wood, and makes chairs, tables and cabinets, that are used in everyday life.
After finishing school, he worked as a car salesman, but one day he met someone who cleared a piece of land in the mountain, built a log house and was living there. Saito was very inspired by him, decided to quit his job as a car salesman, went to a training school to learn woodcraft, worked as a trainee in a workshop, and now he has a workshop of his own.

Furniture that highlights people

Saito’s works are not vivid or eye catching, but rather have a gentleness and blend naturally into everyday life. What he aims for is ”furniture that highlights the people”.
”Think of a picture decorating a room. In that scenario, people are the picture, and the frame that decorates the picture is the furniture. It’s all about how to highlight the picture. I think furniture should also be something that highlights the people.” said Saito.
After looking at many pieces of furniture, Nakata commented, ”You know, I’m always looking for a good coat hanger. I can’t seem to find a good one that maintains the shape of coats. Can you make a good coat hanger with wood?”
”I think I can,” said Saito, ”but handmade products are costly to make. Maybe that’s the reason why no one makes it.”

Creating with local wood

Of course, it is a business, so calculating cost is very important. However, he also said, ”when we start calculating cost, we might give up on making the product altogether. However, when we go beyond that, we may end up making something very interesting.”
These words come from his experience. Saito also teaches at Tohoku Institute of Technology as a technical expert, and the students often come up with reckless projects. ”The students think about the design first, so they are reckless. But I learn a lot from their freedom of ideas.”

He is always trying to have flexibility with his ideas about what kind of furniture he wants to make. A special chair for a leather craftsman when he sits working at a sewing machine. Shaving wood very thin and dyeing it to make colorful strips to be woven together into a chair. He takes up sparks of ideas and carefully produces the designs, and allows them to take shape.

As a woodcraft artist, he can’t help saying a word or two when he sees someone cutting down a tree. He’s made many acquaintances this way, and he has started collecting many kinds of wood. It will still be some time before he can make them into actual products, but he enjoys collecting local wood so that in the future, he’ll hopefully be able to make products out of locally produced wood, Saito told us.


Kino Shigoto Juju
Sendai-shi, Miyagi