Nature has always been a source of interiors inspiration around the world. Increasingly growing cities has further deepened our yearning for the natural environment. Common to both Japan and the Nordics, is the availability of wood and a tradition for good craftsmanship. This has made it a defining characteristic to both these two geographically distanced parts of the world.
Wood is organic, contemporary and timeless. It has a warm feel that makes it the decorator´s antidote to the noise of modern living. Refined, yet accessible, it evokes a calm backdrop for an easy day to day lifestyle. What makes it particular to these parts of the world is the modernity, the absence of ornaments and carvings. More complex and decorated wood may exist, but it it not what is defining current design, nor the icons of the postwar era.
Current Japanese society is being described as post-luxurious. This relates to consumers´ appreciation for a value that goes beyond a mere price tag, including artistry, craftsmanship and experience. As in most areas of this elegant culture, fine dining is a place where taste has prevailed over the ostentatious. In Tokyo, a city peppered with Michelin stars, presentation is key and tableware is selected to compliment the dish. Plates and bowls that are made using both modern and traditional techniques are combined with exquisite craftsmanship and represents an ode to Mother Nature. Different kinds of wood are mixed together, complimented by glass, stone and metal. It exudes confidence over pretentiousness, and it reminds the diner of the natural origin of their food.
The popularity of wood has increased as the modern kitchen has become part of our dining and living room. The utensils we use are now part of the decorating scheme and made to be on display. Major trendsetting Nordic brands are producing showpiece cutting boards made of wood. Finnish Iittala has utilised their signature Aalto vase pattern. Georg Jensen has a cheese platter in a wavelike Helle Damkjær designed shape. Whereas Danish Skagerak has utilised the herringbone pattern. We are also seeing more variation in the wood, from traditional Oak to Cedar, Teak and Olive.
An additional element to the current interest for wood, is the ongoing international backlash against plastics. Hailed as safe, wood can be made light and to a degree unbreakable. Wood has always been there. It is part of our past, present and future. And not unlike a neighbourhood park. It is appreciated as a means to balance our lives. Like an indoor plant or a vase of flowers, it deserves a place in our home and on our table as a reminder that nature will always be part of who we are.
Would you like to read more?