• INTERVIEW
Questions to an Architect Ms. Furuichi, “What is so attractive about having the space with wooden materials?”

Here is a room in a large apartment complex.
This is 《 Kanamaison 》, a residential space created for creators by Loftwork. With Hida’s local cherry trees used as part of the room, the space is filled with the harmony of design and art, which nicely stimulate the creativity of human beings.
《 Kanamaison 》 was created with the collaboration of architect Yoshino Furuichi and Hidakuma Inc.
In this article, we interviewed Ms. Furuichi, reflecting how the project started and its process.
The talk covers how Hida’s wood is appealing, what comfort wood can bring to the space, and how Furuichi and Hidakuma interacted during the project.
We had this interview at FabCafe Tokyo, where she and Hidakuma first had met to renew the design of the interior. 

Tell us how you got involved in Kanamaison.
Furuichi

Originally it started with the owner of this room, who approached Loftwork asking if they had any idea on how to make use of the room. Back then, Loftwork had many different regional groups including Kyoto, and visitors, both domestic and international, used to come for gatherings. We thought it would be great to have a place where those creators and staff members could stay and make use of for work in Tokyo. That is how it started.

Full renovation is such a bold decision.
Furuichi

I always wanted to create a space where creators can use. The apartment was originally a regular “2DK” (2 rooms, dining room, and kitchen), in a residential apartment. We could have used the space as was, but I thought the room was too regular an apartment as a space for creators to work in. Also I thought it would be a shame to be stuck in one of the two rooms as the rooms were too small. That made me decide to make the full use of the entire apartment, so that the creators can enjoy the spacious area during their stay. While making the best out of the entire space, we divided the rooms by setting a few steps from one another, which also created depth to the entire apartment. This happened to be the time when Hidakuma was starting up their business, so we decided to use wooden materials from the Hida area, where Hidakuma is based on.

The walls are exposed concrete, which should give a cold impresion, but that is not the case as you stay in this room. Perhaps that is the effect of wooden materials in the room.
Furuichi

Yes. Once we have the walls exposed, the room was left with a rough impression, far more so than we originally had imagined. Then we thought using a variety of wooden materials and colors may bring the warmth to the room. We had known that the artist Akane Moriyama would be joining the project beforehand. With her approach of soft impression that hand dyed curtains and other fabrics of gentle colors and texture could bring, we had a good feeling that everything in the entire place should balance out.

Have you been to Hida?
Furuichi

Yes many times. The first project with Hidakuma was renewing this space here, FabCafe Tokyo. In that project, I knew very little about a variety of hardwood, so the best I could do was to use the wooden materials. Ever since then, I had opportunities to visit Hida, and got to know different types and characteristics of trees. Also having a chance to touch and feel the actual wood completely changed the way I feel about space. When combining different hardwood materials on the floor, the impression it gives differs from the conventional one-wooden-material flooring. I also used cherry trees for storage for a change. I carefully selected wood types to create the space.

I noticed that Kanamaison uses cherry trees in most parts of the apartment, if not all.
Furuichi

Cherry trees change their color into pink as they age. I wanted to use trees that you would enjoy the change the age brings to the wood materials. The thing is that the changes of colors in trees are not easy to predict: you may find some of the wood materials looking old and worn out after exposed to the sun for some time, even though you initially liked it. What I have learned since I created this space is that we could pick up the type of trees that best fit in the space and enjoy the way it ages. In fact, I am now a big fan of cherry trees. I find it very adorable!

I can see the true reasons why cherry trees are used in many areas in the space. How did you and Hidakuma work together during the project?
Furuichi

Hardwood trees can easily warp or colors don’t come out the way you wanted. Everytime I came across those challenges as a novice dealing with hardwood trees, I talked to Hidakuma staff members. For questions such as how the grains come out, or how water-resistant they are etc, Mr. Asaoka was a person to go to for me. I made sure that I had my design planned for furniture and fittings before I talked to Hidakuma members regarding the strength of the wood and characteristics of hardwood. Window frames are some of the ones I asked for advice, especially when I was unsure of their strength; I talked to the local craftsmen as well as the Hidakuma members to make adjustments, who would advise me on how to enforce the frame or set doors in place.

I can feel the warmth of the wood you mentioned while I am here at Kanamaison.
Furuichi

What I have found was that using wooden materials in the space offers the gentle feel wood would offer, leaving you feeling not so lonely. After this project was complete, I had another project that involved Hida wooden materials in the office, and a new project I am about to start is a renovation on an residential apartment, in which we have decided to use wooden materials. The residents are for single seniors, and I am hoping that the materials and texture would bring some warmth to the apartment, while I have very little change I can make on the spatial structure. And I thought Hida’s wooden materials give some comfort to the residents. When I was thinking about the space, the idea of people with wooden materials in the scenery popped into my mind. The more I use wooden materials, the more appealing I find the wood is.

Profile

Yoshino Furuichi
Born in Mie prefecture in 1985. Completed graduate school of Nagoya City University. After working at Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects and Naruse / Inokuma Architects, she established Yoshino Furuichi Architects in 2015. practices creating spaces from a wide range of viewpoints including management. Some of her works include the design of co-creation spaces in company. Part-time lecturer at Kyoto University of Art and Design since 2018. www.ysnfric.com

《Kanamaison》

Space Design: Yoshino Furuichi Architects
Fabric Design: Akane Moriyama
Furniture/Fixture/Interior Design: Sugishita Kobo and Hideaki Asaoka (Hidakuma)
Furniture/Fixture/Interior Design Director: Hideaki Asaoka (Hidakuma)
Photos: Gottingham (for Kanamaison only)

Interested in Creating Architecture and Design with Hida’s Hardwood Trees?

Hidakuma’s professional staff members are here to offer you a total support, ranging from consulting, designing to set up of wood space, building materials, and furniture. For enquiry, please contact us from here.