BUNAKO / ブナコ


Aomori Prefecture
Material: Buna (beechwood)

Shirakami-Sanchi is a mountainous expanse of unspoiled beech forest straddling Aomori and Akita Prefectures that has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sino-Japanese character for buna (beech) combines the radicals for “tree” and “nothing”; as this suggests, beechwood is hard, yet warps easily, so it is unsuited to woodworking and was considered to be of “no use.”In the mid 1950s, however, efforts were launched in Aomori to utilize this abundant resource as a handicraft material by exploiting its flexibility. Beechwood was cut and processed into thin, ribbon-like strips and coiled, which could then be extruded to create various shapes. This is a unique and ecological production technique that generates almost no waste