Yuma Kano creates terrazzo-like ForestBank material out of unusable wood
Japanese designer Yuma Kano has created a decorative material that resembles terrazzo from wood, foliage, bark, soil and seeds that was shown at Milan design week.
Kano, who showed his work together with fellow designer Sho Ota as part of the Touch Wood exhibition at the Alcova venue, says the idea behind the project was to find value in not just lumber, but all of the forest.
After gathering unusable wood and other forest materials, he mixes them with a water-based acrylic resin that does not use any reactive mineral bases or volatile organic solvents.
"In the Japanese forest industry, these small pieces of wood are a waste material," Kano told Dezeen. "I wanted to reuse the waste."
The technique invented by Kano creates a material with patterns that vary depending on the angle and depth of the cut into it, as well as on what ingredients – such as foliage, wood, bark, soil and seeds – were combined.
It means that the furniture made from the trademarked ForestBank material might also change how it looks as it grows older.
"The green leaves mixed in change to orange and brown as the seasons change," Kano said.
"In addition, earth from the forest floor can be mixed in, adding browns and blacks, you can see the complex patterns of the cross sections of roots and seeds ordinarily hidden in the earth, and take notice of the different coloring that different species of trees have."
Kano has made a collection of furniture from the material that includes a table, seats and a clothes hanger, and said the pieces can eventually be recycled to create more ForestBank material.
"I'm actually reusing the dust from the original pieces for future pieces," he explained.
The focus of the Touch Wood exhibition in Milan was to showcase ways of using wood that would have otherwise gone to waste.
Here, Kano's furniture pieces were juxtaposed with Ota's furniture collection, called Surfaced, which is made using wood that was scheduled to be discarded from workshops and factories.
The designers hoped that the exhibition would showcase designs that mass-production cannot achieve.
"The material can show the uniqueness of each little piece of wood," Kano said.
This year's Milan design week featured a number of projects by emerging designers. We looked at five emerging designers showing in Salone del Mobile's Salone Satellite section and rounded up ten standout installations in Milan as part of our coverage.
Touch Wood was on show from 17 to 23 April 2023 as part of Milan design week. See Dezeen Events Guide for more architecture and design events around the world.