• June 29, 2020
    • October 25, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: How to Make a Wooden Chair #4

      Collaboration with Riki Watanabe The above is the full-scale drawing of the RIKI WINDSOR collection. The development started in 1981 as the first collaboration project with a late renowned Japanese product designer, Riki Watanabe. In the following year, the designer used it for a hotel project he worked on. It is still a mystery why Riki placed such an offer to us, a nameless and young furniture maker that just started up. When receiving an offer from him, CondeHouse’s president at that time was so moved and thought the company finally got recognized as a quality furniture maker. The designer later said as his first impression “CondeHouse has already had a strong policy of working closely with designers, and every member, from the president down to craftspeople, has shared the same.” Perfect balance by Riki’s magic One day, Riki visited our factory with the above full-scale drawing. To our […]

    • June 25, 2020
    • June 7, 2022

    Early Summer Night’s Dream

    I have always been a city kid since I was born. I used to walk through a concrete city and barely get any chance to see nature. One of my hobbies at that time is to go to concerts in a stadium holding thousands of people. Once in a while, I went to outdoor music festivals where I always ended up being squashed into a meat pie by the crowd. For me, a live show has always been a combination of joy and pain. Last summer I accidentally walked into a mini grassland concert in Higashikawa town, which really took me into a new field. I didn’t know that watching live concerts can be such a relaxing thing.  This picture was taken right in front of the town’s library. People were scattered freely on the grass, walking around, or just sitting at random. They just threw their bodies into the […]

    • June 24, 2020
    • September 27, 2022

    The Background of Production in Japan: We May Care Too Much about Small Things

    The characteristics of the Japanese people I know it might be pointless to generalize national characters. Inherently people are all different. Even so, I can’t help thinking that we Japanese people are generally too detail-oriented. This national character might be one of the reasons for the low labor productivity. Currently, Japanese labor productivity has been least in the G7 countries for these 50 years. Don’t worry. Today’s topic is not about Japanese working environment or structure to create such low productivity. I’m just sharing how the national character influences our furniture production. Detail-oriented anytime, anywhere in Japan Drugs, guns, counterfeit goods, etc. I often displayed such contraband goods neatly and carefully. When I worked as a customs officer, my bosses always gave super-detailed instructions on how to display such goods. I though everyone did it but recently found it was not. Furthermore, we can see the difference of national characters […]

    • June 22, 2020
    • October 25, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: How to Make a Wooden Table

    The one and only piece of furniture “Could you engrave the names of all family members on the back of the tabletop?” This inquiry well expresses the character of IPPONGI, one of our table collections. People who order this collection seem to want something more for furniture. Something more than what mass-produced products can offer. In order to make IPPONGI, we use trees over a hundred years old. It is popular especially among people who can enjoy the figures and knots of such trees as their unique characters. Sometimes, customers come to our factory to handpick their own special pieces out of the pile of wood materials in the drying process. Every piece of wood has its own expression: cracks, holes, etc. Such characters are made under severe natural circumstances. Customers choose special pieces, and we change them into the one and only piece of furniture in the world.   […]

    • June 18, 2020
    • June 7, 2022

    Sudden Rain

    While I was walking to work, it started raining cats and dogs. The road became muddy and suddenly the walk to work felt longer than ever. Just like the majority of the people, I personally dislike rain since I was a kid. Rain ruins plans, and especially with the pandemic going on right now, this day just felt extra gloomy. Walking up the stairs, I took a glance at the window and realized that baby-summer leaves on the trees outside looked more stunning when being rained on. The logo of CondeHouse was being reflected on the window. The green leaves and the red logo together created a really beautiful color-contrasting picture, which might not be the intended result of the interior designer, though. It would not be everything for creators to convey what they want to express through their works, but it must be serendipity if we can feel like […]

    • June 17, 2020
    • October 25, 2022

    The Background of Production: How to Use 3D Data for Furniture Production

    Symbol grounding problem: CNC machines and a zebra When I first saw CNC machines working at our factory, what came up to my mind was the image of a zebra, funnily enough. To be more precise, it was a sense of superiority to AI that I had when first learning AI couldn’t even recognize a zebra. It’s called a “symbol grounding problem.” This was one of the biggest problems AI had. I don’t know if it’s fortunate or unfortunate, but 3D CG data had already solved the problem. Accordingly, my sense of superiority soon turned out to awe for AI, though. What is a symbol grounding problem? Professor Stevan Harnad named it as above. It is sometimes called “a zebra problem” from the example of a zebra he made. With its installed cameras, AI can process visual information. The problem is it couldn’t recognize a zebra because the verification data […]

    • June 16, 2020
    • September 21, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: How to Restore Furniture

    We restore it but don’t make it all new Our long-seller “BOLS” sofas often come back to us from around the country for restoration. The one in the above image was sent to us by a customer who fell in love with this sofa and purchased it several decades ago. Urethane foam cushions wrapped in cotton appeared from under the worn-out nu-buck upholstery. The cushions lost their resilience especially in the center part, and the color of the leather transfered. We are always glad to see worn-out sofas return because that means the users love them and want to keep using them further. We intentionally leave memorable scars as they are However, restoration could be somewhat challenging even for our craftspeople. In fact, it’s a lot harder than making one from scratch. Craftspeople must be able to determine the details of restoration. They must decide to what extent they need […]

    • June 11, 2020
    • June 7, 2022

    Yoshinori Coffee Shop

    Summer time in Higashikawa Town. Dark-roasted coffee and Japanese soft-cream from Yoshinori (ヨシノリコーヒー) coffee shop. No, this is not a barn, this is actually the coffee shop. Not a big fan of dark-roasted coffee, but this was exactly what I came for. Sit back, take a deep breath, relax and enjoy a moment of peace.

    • June 10, 2020
    • October 13, 2022

    Economic Psychology Trivia: Break Out of the Echo Chamber

    Google search results are different Your Google search results are different from mine even if we use the same search words. You may believe there are still some big general trends, and that news popping up in your computer screen (or smartphone) is something attracting many other people. As a matter of fact, it’s all in the past. This misunderstanding is called “Daily Me.” This misunderstanding makes people reinforce their ways of thinking and avoid to communicate with other people with different values. Consequently, freedom of choice in information will be lost. Echo chamber: Cass Sunstein, a jurist in the US, coined the words with concerns that the Internet may destroy democracy. The advantage of newspaper over the Internet People can get an overview of general social trends by browsing news headlines, even though the contents of the news are not very interesting. This is the biggest advantage of newspaper […]

    • June 8, 2020
    • October 25, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: How to Make a Wooden Chair #3

    A group of challenge addicts “Wow, this should be difficult.” This was the impression our product development team got when they first saw the sketches of the chair. At the same time, the stunningly beautiful design intrigued them. Someone said with enthusiasm, “We can learn a lot from overcoming the difficulties!” The chair, LAPIS, has a conventional Finnish look, designed by a Finnish designer couple, Sirkka and Timo Saarnio. This simple chair is composed of only three parts and is as light as three kilograms, with a backrest of beautiful grains, an ergonomic seating to fit the body line, and sturdy legs to firmly support body weight. The simple but strong structure was feasible by the latest technology (at that time) of wood molding press. Patience for the egos of wood pieces The product development team always struggles with wood warping even now. It was the biggest difficulty in developing […]