Japanese Furniture Brand Trial with Canadian Hemlock

By: Lance Tao

Export Development Program, Canada Wood Group

Ishinomaki Laboratory is a furniture brand founded by the Japanese designer Keji Ashizawa in 2011. To support local communities’ recovery efforts in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, he initiated Ishinomaki Laboratory, a public DIY workshop. Inspired by the challenge of maximizing the shortage of resources from the disaster, their products are simple, yet functional, versatile and attractive.

In 2021, Ishinomaki Laboratory decided to enter the Chinese market. They cooperated with the furniture department of Goertek Co., Ltd. (Goertek Co., Ltd is a global leading high-tech company,
with a focus on the R&D, manufacturing and marketing of high-precision components). This department is authorized to use the “Ishinomaki Laboratory” brand for production and promotion in China. Talented domestic designers work together with the Ishinomaki Laboratory team to create a series of furniture and items with good design.

▲ “Ishinomaki Laboratory” studio in China, where all wood furniture is handmade.

Ishinomaki Laboratory’s products made of red cedar were on display at Design Shanghai from June 3-6, 2021, receiving a favourable response from visitors. This was the brand’s first public promotion in China. Canada Wood China saw opportunities for cooperation at the trade show and convinced them to try making the furniture by Canadian hemlock. After the trade show, they agreed to become a trial partner with Canada Wood China, replacing red cedar with hemlock for furniture.

Canadian western hemlock features a good strength-to-weight ratio, excellent working properties and good machining qualities. The lumber of this wood species is seasoned, kiln-dried and naturally resistant to decay. Highly recommended for furniture, solid doors, finger joint, mouldings, interior woodwork, etc., this wood species is primarily known for its even grain, its ability to polish beautifully, and durability.

▲ Trial Parcel Sent to Ishinomaki Laboratory. The aesthetic hemlock with straight grain.

The finished products made by Hemlock demonstrated a high-quality performance and appearance. After the successful trial, Ishinomaki Laboratory purchased more hemlock to continue developing new furniture designs.

The success of this trial offers a strong example to showcase Canadian hemlock in a range of furniture products in China. It encourages the opportunity to work with more designers for the trial program, to convert more companies to use Canadian Hemlock in their products.