Press release -
Tokyo 4. A Study in Craftmanship and Materials
Yesterday is tomorrow today
For everything that’s new, there are roots going back in time. We find inspiration deep in the soil to be able to create anew, like the birch searches within to project new twigs the next spring. That’s called eternal values. Or sustainability if you prefer.
ASPLUND turns thirty years this year. We might not hope for eternal life, but it has always been important that our furniture, carpets and items have a beautiful life source that is stronger than passing trends.
Our new project Tokyo 4 is both yesterday, today and tomorrow.
A furniture series for todays storage requirements. You may place it in the middle of the room or against a wall. Designed by Anya Sebton and Eva Lilja Löwenhielm it’s actually the precursor to our popular Palais series.
”We are combining a minimalistic interpretation of colon shapes with selected handmade skills of craftsmanship to be the speaker in these four pieces. And we want to show the material values in a beautiful combination between different types of wood used by the furniture industry, for the last 100 years”, says Anya Sebton .
The furniture series is our collective celebration of our craftsmen, manufacturing methods and often material. Sweden’s talented furniture men and women deserve both appreciation and support these days. Over the last years we have seen too many dedicated souls closing down their small factories when the industry has deserted them for mass production.
Tokyo 4 started in the basement of just such a factory - Jonsons Fanér AB outside Tibro, one of Sweden’s last remaining veneer masters. There is the dark basement were a rare stock of sixty year old veneer from exclusive trees such as Brazilian rosewood, bird’s eye maple, ash heartwood and walnut root.
Could we perpetuate these old and noble trees with a century of craft skills and a design that is current, to create something new and valuable for the future? May we give every unique pieces of wood a new lease of life in a specific furniture?
Yesterday is tomorrow today.
Because today the furniture series exists in reality. Tokyo 4 consists of four minimalistic volumes where the surface and opening detail defines the expression. Tall – a higher, turnable shelf. Tori – a lower storage unit that calls the pedestal to mind. Cool – A cube that hides a small refrigerator. And Box – a low coffee table / sideboard with a sunken area for flowers, fruits or favourite letters.
The premiere takes place during Stockholm Design Week 4 – 9 February at ASPLUND.
We welcome you to a tribute to furniture craftmanship.
Anya Sebton, Eva Lilja Löwenhielm and all os us who work at Jonsons Fanér och ASPLUND.
In short about our four different veneers
Brazilian rosewood (also known as Rio or Bahia rosewood) originates in the Brazilian rain forests. It was much used by the Swedish and Danish furniture industry until the 1970s, when it became scarce.
Jonssons Faner AB holds a CITES certificate issued by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, showing its stock of Brazilian rosewood is felled prior to 1969. CITES certification is a requirement today for showing or selling Brazilian rosewood.
Bird’s eye maple
Bird’s eye maple veneer originates from the silver maple and is a patterned, yellow coloured and very valuable wood that is both heavy, hard and strong. The pattern has tiny, swirling eyes and has been used in British and Amercian furniture at least since the 19th century. The pattern is creted when the tree attempts to start numerous new buds to get more sunlight, but with poor growing conditions the new shoots are aborted, and afterward only a number of tiny knots remain. The magnificant porcelain room at the Hallwyl House (built 1893-98) in Stockholm is clad with bird’s eye maple.
We have selected a lightly pink tinted veneer to our Tori variety (Tori means bird in Japanse).
The best walnut root is found in north America. It’s usually at the root of the tree that a so called burr grows, but they can also appear higher up on the trunk, and they do not appear on every tree as these deformations are the result of stress to the tree. The beautifully patterened wood has been used for furniture at least since the 19th century, and also for the dashboards of many famous British car brands such as Jaguar, Rolls Royce and Bentley.
The American walnut root veneer we use for our furniture dates from the 1980s, when it was used by the company Möbelboning in Tibro for making reproduction rococo furniture.
The ash tree doesn’t form a genuine heartwood, but a dark coloured false core. This is called ash heartwood or olive ash, and appears in older trees.
According to ancient Norse mythology, the first man and woman on Earth were Ask and Embla, created from ash and elm trees.
The veneer we have selected originates from a unique tree that has a decorative brown colouring, but it also has a burr, which is very rare. The ingrowing buds creates an eye like pattern, sometimes called eye burr. The veneer has been selected to fit the cabinets shape and function, a detailed work that requires many hours and years of experience.
What is veneer?
Veneer is a thin slice of wood that is clad on top of a solid material to highlight a decorative pattern and grain in the wood. In difference to solid wood, veneer is also not prone to warping and splitting. The sheets of veneer are sliced or cut from timber from varying types of wood. The technique dates back at least to Egyptian times, and the Romans also used veneer.
Cutting veneer is achieved by heating the wood either with hot water or hot steam air. For horizontal veneer cutting with knives, the tree trunk is split in half or quarters, and then clamped to a frame with a veneer knife going back and forth; the knife blade can be as long a 4-5 metres. There are also rotary slicers that spins the trunk, making longer section of veneer, which can be used for making plywood, when several sections of veneer are glued back perpendicular to each other. Afterwards, the veneer is dried. With horizontal veneer cutting, the result has the appearance of a cut plank, showing the annual growth rings. Knife cut veneer is used to cover furniture or to make hardwood plywood. The thickness can vary from 0.5 up to 3.0 milimeters.
To select, cut and apply veneer is a true craft that only a select few in Sweden are still capable of today.
ASPLUND - one of the most prominent Scandinavian design companies founded in 1990 by brothers Michael and Thomas Asplund. Starting as a gallery, the company have transitioned into a one of a kind design institution. Many customers have described what makes ASPLUND different to other Nordic companies and that is that the Collection shows its own essence of Swedish functional and minimalistic style with an International elegance and a little touch of playfulness. The company consists of ASPLUND Collection (furniture and carpets assigned the ASPLUND brand), The ASPLUND Store (a high-end design store, were you can find both pieces from ASPLUND Collection among with other prominent design brands), ASPLUND KÖK (kitchen assigned the ASPLUND brand), ASPLUND Studio and ASPLUND Contract, which offer customized interior solutions for all types of projects.