Aizawa Wood Works was founded in 1974 in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, as a woodturner specializing in making wooden vessels for lacquerware. They produce various items using a wide range of wood processing techniques, including sashimono (joinery), magemono (bentwood), rokuro (spinning lathe), and kurimono (hollowing). They also place emphasis on their original brands, which are popular for the natural wood texture. These includes “KITO,” allowing people to enjoy the comforting feel of solid wood in their daily lives, the luxurious tableware series “SUI,” where the charm of wood is brought out through advanced craft techniques, and “ara!,” designed to be user-friendly for children and adaptable through reformed after they grow up.
This fall, after about a year of construction, the “Aizawa Wood Works Factory’s Gallery” opened next to the studio. It is a newly built facility that takes advantage of the site where a warehouse was originally built. The architectural plan and interior were designed by Tomotsugu Yamakawa of CORARE ARTISANS JAPAN, an architect actively involved in operating a business that connects crafts and accommodations in Inami, Nanto, Toyama Prefecture. Aizawa Wood Works has been following Yamakawa’s endeavors, not only architectural design but also urban development, which ultimately led to the current commission. The signage of the building, door handles and tables in each room were designed by Masanori Oji, who has been involved in product design and direction for Aizawa Wood Works for some time. The space, completed with the efforts of many people from Toyama and Wajima in terms of design, construction and implementation, is filled with the charm of the wood itself, much like the appeal found in the company’s products.
The most impressive feature of the building is the wood street at its center. The tunnel-like space, surrounded by trees, is constructed using Noto Hiba wood, a tree native to the Noto region and was cultivated in the mountains by the previous generation. The foundation stones and benches placed outside reuse stones from the previous garden, echoing the history of Aizawa Wood Works throughout the space. Elaborate details, such as door handles adorned with impressive traditional motifs and signage utilizing the company’s placemat, were manufactured in-house and finished with careful attention.
In the Gallery & Shop space, a complete collection of the original brand products will be available, along with special items exclusive to this location. These includes products that were not commercialized due to color issues but were experimentally dyed with plant-based dyes, as well as one-of-a-kind products with unique knot and grain patterns. The building also features a kitchen where customers can learn how to use and handle the products. In the Salon Room, various events are planned, including woodworking workshops, food and tableware events, seminars on trees, forests, and afforestation. Aizawa Wood Works is seeking solutions to the challenge of afforestation for the broad-leaved trees that serve as the source of their products. They are also considering future initiatives that involves participants in enjoyable outdoor activities to contemplate valuable forest resources and nature.
Anticipation from the local community and beyond the industry is high for the creation of pleasant space where people gather, and new encounters are born. This is a must-visit destination when visiting Wajima.
Aizawa Wood Works Factory’s Gallery
Address: 3-8-1, Hori-machi, Wajima-city, Ishikawa Prefecture
Open: Monday to Saturday (Please check before visiting as Saturdays are irregularly scheduled for closure)
Closed: Sunday (End of the year and new year, summer holidays, other holidays will be announced on SNS)
Opening hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
* This article was written in December 2023. We would like to express our heartfelt sympathies to those who were affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake in January 2024.