At Time & Style, our woodworking approach is distinguished by the harmonious integration of hand-processing tools and techniques with cutting-edge high-technology equipment, setting us apart in the industry. Collaborating with renowned woodworking factories across Japan ensures our products embody the finest craftsmanship. Our Hokkaido factory embodies the essence of “Made in Japan,” skillfully combining cutting-edge technology with deep-rooted craftsmanship, resulting in an unmistakable uniqueness that exceeds the demands of discerning customers. We are committed to preserving the artistry of woodworking while embracing the advantages of modern technology, driving our success and creating exceptional products infused with the essence of Japanese heritage and innovation.
In Japan, sand casting exemplifies exceptional craftsmanship passed down through generations, originally employed for meticulously crafting Buddhist altar items and statues by hand, now encompassing contemporary art objects and monuments. The process involves placing an original mold in a box filled with sand, creating identical molds for male and female dies, and pouring molten metal into the box, solidifying in the mold’s shape. After removing the external sand mold, the metal retains the precise form of the original mold, showcasing the artistry with grainy traces from the sand. Bronze, renowned for specific gravity and sturdiness, is the preferred material, reflecting Japan’s aesthetic sensibility with its distinct rust. A thin lacquer finish preserves its brilliance, aging the bronze gracefully over time. This timeless elegance symbolizes the fusion of traditional craftsmanship and modernity, narrating Japan’s cultural heritage and artistic prowess through exquisite art pieces.
Lost-wax casting, also known as rōgata, is a captivating metalworking technique renowned for its precision and fluidity. The process involves creating a wax model, encasing it in a mold made of sand and clay, and then removing the wax by heating the mold. Molten metal is poured into the cavity left by the wax, resulting in a faithful reproduction of the original model with intricate details. This technique allows for the creation of complex forms, producing unique metal objects that captivate with their graceful elegance and meticulous craftsmanship. The artistry of lost-wax casting lies in the skillful execution and creative vision of the artisans who bring metal to life through this ancient and revered method.
The history of Japanese ceramics can be traced back to ancient times, starting with Jomon earthenware and evolving through various periods with the introduction of new techniques. During the Kofun period, Haji ware and haniwa terracotta figures emerged. The influence of Korean Peninsula pottery led to the development of Sue ware with natural ash glaze. The Asuka and Nara periods saw the creation of colorful green glazed ware and Nara sancai. In the Heian period, ash glaze ware from the Sanage kiln gained prominence. From the end of the Heian period to the mid-sixteenth century, practical yakishime ware was mass-produced in different regions. During the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, Chinese ceramics inspired local imitations in Seto and Mino regions. The Momoyama period witnessed the rise of tea bowls and utensils production, like Raku, Kiseto, and Oribe wares. In the Edo period, Kyo-yaki stoneware from Kyoto decorated in polychrome enamel gained popularity.
In the early 1600s, Japan’s Arita region achieved a significant milestone in the realm of ceramics by producing the exquisite Imari ware, a fine porcelain that gained worldwide fame through European trade. Arita’s artisans continued to refine their craft, leading to the development of diverse styles like Early Imari, Ko-Kutani, Kakiemon, and Ko-Imari, which found widespread admiration across Japan. Among these masterpieces, the exclusive Nabeshima ware, crafted solely for the Shogun family, stood out for its delicate body and refined motifs, solidifying Japan’s position in the world of porcelain artistry. The legacy of Arita’s ceramics endures as a testament to the country’s artistic prowess and cultural significance in the realm of pottery.
Wood cannot be used unless it is dried. Typically, wood is first naturally dried (for about two years in a natural outdoor environment). Then, it is forcibly dried (in artificial conditions of approximately 80°C) to make the material suitable for furniture or construction.
In 2018, we began using an original artificial drying method that uses low-temperature biomass drying at 40°C. We reevaluated the idea that wood should be quickly and efficiently dried at high temperatures in an artificial, forced manner.
Instead, we chose to return to a more “primitive” construction method that involves “slow aging at low temperatures.” In today’s world, where efficiency is critical, one reason to consider such a time axis is the existence of the oldest wooden building in the world—Japan’s Horyuji Temple. The temple’s 1400-year-old columns and structures maintain their quality to this day.
In terms of rigidity, tenacity, flexibility, and constriction, the method used for the temple’s construction continues to be the best method available. We believe in the need for incorporating lessons from the past in refining the craftsmanship of the future.
Higashikawa Town in Hokkaido, known as a “photography town,” has designated April 14 as “Chair Day. Forty percent of the town’s population is involved in wood manufacturing, furniture, and woodworking, and the town produces about 30 percent of Asahikawa’s furniture. In addition, the city has established Japan’s first design museum with the Oda Collection by Kenji Oda as its primary collection.
In Higashikawa, we will continue to exist as a company with roots in the community, producing chairs and desks for children at Higashikawa Elementary School.
Also, in partnership with the town of Nakagawa and Hokkaido University, we aim to collaborate with local governments, sharing our knowhow to promote new ways of working, “workcations,” outdoor styles, internal migration, and regional revitalization via the high-quality hardwoods and conifers that grow in various parts of Hokkaido.