Named after the Ariake Sea in Southern Japan, Ariake is a furniture brand owned by Legnatec and Hirata Chair – two factories from the furniture town of Morodomi in Saga prefecture, Japan.
The word ‘ariake’ means daybreak in Japanese, and symbolises a new beginning for the two factories as they collaborate not only with each other (Legnatec is a cabinet specialist and Hirata Chair a chair specialist) but also with a team of international designers.
The Ariake brand and inaugural collection were born from an intensive workshop in Morodomi. Legnatec and Hirata Chair engaged Singaporean designer Gabriel Tan, whom they met at IFFS last year, to form an international creative team to create a new collection for the international market.
This international team consists of furniture designers Tan, Espen Voll of Norwegian design studio Anderssen & Voll, Japanese architect Keiji Ashizawa, and Swedish designer Staffan Holm with Swiss design studio AnnerPerrindesigning the branding and Swiss photographer Sebastian Stadler documenting the visuals.
The result of an eight-day intensive workshop in Morodomi is a collection of 18 furniture pieces that utilises the best of hand and machine.
Inspired by the spirit of Japanese culture and urban living contexts, Ariake collection is very much international in taste, with a Japanese twist. The collection mixes wood both imported (white oak, ash, cedar) and native Japanese (hinoki), pairs them with leather, paper chord and unique finishes such as sumi ink, indigo and burnt cedar.
Indigo is used for a dark blue finish while burnt cedar brings a smoky effect. Made from candle soot, sumi ink (a common staple in Japanese painting) is used to dye the wood black without diminishing its natural grain like paint can. The availability of sumi in Japan has also made it a more economical choice than black paint, lending to a reasonable price point for the quality. Ariake is the first brand to use sumi for commercial production.