Nothing is created, nor destroyed, but everything is transformed.
Law of conservation of mass - Lomonósov / Lavoisier
Research & Japanese Influence
We do nothing new. We don't innovate or re-invent.
We spend many and many hours researching. We love museums and historical places, ancient and traditional objects. We learn from all of these, and steal tiny bits from each. We build a puzzle that has infinite combinations and which, using our common sense and aesthetic sensibility, we can solve again and again in many different ways.
Another known quote says that "originality comes from origin". We agree on that.
Functionality & Aesthetics
For more decorative objects we have let ourselves be carried away, by the wood itself, searching how to reflect its qualities in interesting ways.
For other products the design process has been more elaborate. We've thought them so that, in addition to fulfilling their main traditional functions, they could solve some more modern problems.
From the good ergonomics of our meditation benches, to the way our Kamidana are assembled, all the details of each design have gone through multiple iterations and prototyping. The fact is that the pieces of the puzzle can be put together in many ways, but only really fit in a few ways.
We love simplicity because it is intuitive. We also know that, if we really want to be proud of the result, it is best to ask and listen carefully to the rest of the design team: our clients and friends.
Traditional Joinery & Structures
We've learnt that there are many traditional ways of joining elements, made of wood, that allow us to make interesting, portable, and refined objects. They are old solutions that apply perfectly to today's new problems.
In addition... you always win ... not only can we send you some of our larger designs more easily, but we have created interesting assembly forms so you can also enjoy the magic of well-made joinery.
A small description of what makes our products special.
We use solid wood exclusively. Chestnut trees from controlled logging forests in northern Spain and France.
We wanted to make sure that our project has a positive environmental, and social, impact in every way posible. So we decided to work with wood from trees whose plantation favors the survival of the native forest, while ensuring a source of income for people living, like us, in rural areas with fewer labor options.
In addition to solid wood, we use cotton, rice paper, leather, and brass.
We love mixing natural materials because they provide details with different textures. They also always age interestingly and make our objects improve even more over time.
Which, how and why
Machines help us with the toughest part: cutting and milling wood. But it is the human who defines the final result. Knowledge and experience are the tools to make objects that really vibrate with the beauty and natural grain of the wood.
We believe that the quality of our work depends on our ability to improve every day and understand that no one is alone in their expertise. Of course, we are nothing more than the sum of the work of generations and generations of people dedicated to their Art.
We use them whenever we can, because they are efficient, pleasant to use, and don't make noise or dust. Working with them is what has transmitted us the most intimate knowledge of our raw material.
They are so versatile and functional that they have hardly changed in centuries ... if, in fact, neither the material has been changed so much that they are perfectly designed, nor the body and hands of who uses them.
The different methods we use to protect wood.
Most of our objects are finished only with a mixture of oil and varnish, which protects the wood, mixing with it without creating a “plastic film” on top. Just enough, so you can still enjoy the touch and organic beauty of this material.
Ebonizing is a curious natural process. We take advantage of the fact that some woods are very rich in tannins, that react in contact with a solution of vinegar and iron. When we wet the wood with the resulting liquid, the chemical reaction activates the tannins, causing the color of the wood to change in just seconds.
In some cases, especially when we work the surface of the wood only with sharp tools (see below), it's not enough to just wet the wood but necessary to leave the object submerged for some hours in the ebonizing solution.
We find it very interesting that, the final aspect achieved with this technique, is the one that it would have acquired over the years under the protection of the swampy mud.
For some products we have chosen a finish that, although much more laborious, is better suited to naturally protect the wood from contact with water (like our bowls) or hand sweat (like with bokken and jo).
This finish lets us enjoy a natural satin touch and shine incomparable to any other method. It works because linseed oil hardens (polymerizes) naturally... although it does take some time. How is it done? Too easy. Simply apply once and wait... 5 days. Apply again and wait... 3 days. From there it will be enough to rub a little oil every 3 days... four more times, up to a minimum of 6 applications in total.
Those who like maths will have it already calculated... 5 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 20 days!
When we want to apply some color to an object we use another natural finish.
Milk paint consists of the mixture of a pigment (color) and a casein base (a protein found in milk) that also hardens naturally (ever tried making “crafts” with milk?). This type of paint is not particularly resistant to scratches and is by nature quite matt and dull.
That's why we always apply an oil finish (“Danish” or linseed, depending on the design) that protects the surface and makes the color come alive. It certainly gives a very striking result!