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Mediagene’s Visit to Hida

Mediagene, who manage web media like Gizmode and Lifehacker that relay exciting information, are currently undertaking an “office remodeling plan.” Yesterday, on January 23rd, we visited Hida with the Trail Heads team who are in charge of the design, with the intention of making use of Hida’s broadleaf trees.

Heading for the sawmill on a cold Saturday morning with the snow piled up.

 

First, we watched the process of the logs becoming boards.

 

Incidentally, the sawdust is taken by the local dairy farmers and used for the cows’ bedding. The wood is domestically produced, so the people and the cows can have peace of mind.

 

Boards of wood from various broadleaf trees, collected and taken in all together.

 

It was everyone’s first time to see and touch this many different types of tree. Even though they are architects, planners, and designers, they very rarely procure the trees directly.

A splendid Japanese zelkova.

 

This is a Japanese horse chestnut.

 

A pink colored cherry tree.

 

These holes have been made by a woodpecker. Because it’s got holes in it, apparently it can’t be sold (actually, it’s rare, so they won’t sell it).

 

But, the aim of this trip is not these fine, outstanding boards. Today’s project is to take the local materials produced by sawing logs in a sawmill, and to “edit” the unique boards that are odd and have uneven breadth and length, and make them into materials for furniture and interiors.

 

They’ve kindly kept back the wood for Mediagene that they would usual give away cheaply or make into fuel.
There was a lot of Japanese horse chestnut wood waste. Out of the broadleaf trees, the Japanese horse chestnut is one of the softer woods. The trees grow to be very tall, so from ancient times tables and things have been made of a single board. Along with the Japanese zelkova, the Japanese horse chestnut is famous for being one of Japan’s representative trees. Normally the white colored wood is preferred, and those that aren’t white have less value.

 

Checking lots of different timber leftovers.

Perhaps the little pieces of wood waste for fuel could be used for something as well… An ideas workshop in a sawmill.

 

Taking inspiration from a giant log.

 

Taking a photo of the lovely cross section of the timber.

 

The next thing that everyone started to take photos of was…

…the pile of wood laths. When drying out the boards, this thin square timber is laid in between. It’s not usually for sale, but… maybe it can be used for something in the office.

While we were there, we took a look at the floorboards and the roof slats.

 

We learned about timber outside in the cold, and while thinking of a way to use it, we looked around for nearly two hours.

 

A spontaneous briefing meeting, and checking which materials it was possible to procure.

 

And then after that, some detailed brainstorming and design planning at Fabcafe Hida. With some creative power, can these pieces of wood, which usually wouldn’t be distributed, be made into nice furniture? Three hours of trial and error.

 

Thank you very much! We were excited by everyone’s curiosity and creativity. Hidakuma will carry out support for the procurement and processing of the materials so that the ideas can take shape.
We will report again on what fantastic transformation the timber from Hida makes in their Shibuya office. I’m looking forward to it!