Maruni is a long-standing brand with its precursor, Showa Mageki Kojo founded in 1928. The name was changed to Maruni Wood Industry in 1933 and ever since, Maruni had set out to apply industrial craft skills to traditional Japanese furniture production techniques. This allows Maruni to mass-produce hand-crafted quality furniture without relying on skilled artisans. 2004 marks the year of launching the “nextmaruni” project where renowned designers Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison were roped in to explore “possibilities inherent in the Japanese aesthetic” as what Maruni had said on its website. Enter 2008. Maruni launched the Hiroshima series of chairs and tables designed by their current Art Director, Naoto Fukasawa.
The Hiroshima Collection by Naoto Fukasawa for Maruni. (Pictures from Maruni Website)
Different views of the small armchair, showcasing the beauty of wood. (Pictures from Maruni Website)
The Hiroshima series is available in a variety of finishing. From top right to left: Beech in Mat Black, Beech in Mat White. From bottom right to left: Oak in Clear, Oak in Brown. (Pictures from Maruni Website)
The Hiroshima series were simple and subtle in outlook, yet manages to highlight the beauty of the wood used. This gave me the same feeling of a Carl Hansen CH24 Wishbone Chair finished in Soap Oak where the wood grains became the highlights of chair. The series was launched in the Salone del Mobile Milano in 2009. In my honest opinion, the Maruni Hiroshima represents Japanese Minimalism, at its best.
The Hiroshima Lounge Chair with Ottoman is perfect for your Minimalist Home. (Pictures from Maruni Website)
The vision for the Maruni Hiroshima was a collection that could be used in all kinds of settings. That is to say, the Hiroshima collection is versatile enough to be used in the Living Room, the Dining Room, Bedrooms, homes, restaurants and anywhere that I guess, are indoors. According to Maruni, the Hiroshima designs were conceived to remain “fresh in a hundred years’ time. I liked the way Naoto Fukasawa envisage warmth in Minimalism. Here is what Naoto Fukasawa had to say on the Maruni Hiroshima Collection:
“Chairs that have hitherto come to be regarded as standard internationally have been imbued with that distinctive sense of warmth of the hand-made that characterizes crafts products rather than emphasizing design qualities. What this collection is aiming at is the realization of a highly detailed and clean image, while at the same retaining this sense of human warmth.”
By Naoto Fukasawa’s design philosophies, quality and wood invokes warmth and simplicities help pulled the heart closer while complexities distances the heart. As a Minimalist advocate, I have to agree with him. 🙂 (Pictures from Maruni Website)
Technology and the knowledge of wood are deeply rooted in Maruni’s production of the Hiroshima series. The structure rigidity, lightness and delicate finishing were all the products of these attributes. Naoto Fukasawa again, on the integration of these attributes in the Hiroshima Series:
“It isn’t a question of ensuring that every whim of the designer is able to achieve realization. A perfectly finished product comes into being only when it incorporates knowledge and ideas rooted in the experience of engineers.”
I love the Hiroshima Chairs in particular, which amazingly presented the beauty of wood in such simplicity. The simplicity of the Hiroshima chairs ensured that the main accent and attraction of the chairs remained with the highlights of the wood works and not be overshadowed by the visual complexities of the chair. The result is a Minimalist form with luxury embedded in the quality and finishing of the wooden frame. Even thought the Hiroshima series were not the result of skilled artisans pouring in hours of delicate work, it gave the same kind of feel as a chair with such efforts put in.
Maruni Website shows how the collection works together.
Japanese Minimalism at it’s peak. (Pictures from Maruni Website). Simplicity Rocks!
It’s a pity though, that the Hiroshima chair is pretty pricey in Singapore, with an armchair costing more than a wood framed, leather-clad Maxalto side chair or wooden Modern Classics such as Herman Miller/Vitra’s Eames Lounge chair Wood. Japanese Minimalism may be a niche in Singapore, given that fans of Japanese Minimalism are likely to turn to the more economical Muji. If the Hiroshima chairs are 30% cheaper, I believe it will find a lot more owners pulling out their wallets to place an order. I will join in the queue if I find them on 30% discounts during the Great Singapore Sale. 🙂
Here is a video of the production of a Maruni Hiroshima Chair. Enjoy!