Maruni Wood Industry Inc. began in 1928 as Showa Mageki Kojo (Showa Bentwood Factory). After establishing and mastering the art of producing bentwood timber, the company’s founder, Takeo Yamanaka renamed the company in 1933 when he started to blend traditional Japanese handicraft skills with industrial manufacturing of timber furniture.
Leading the way as one of the first Japanese companies to create mass-produced classic western furniture, Maruni continued to push the boundaries designing sophisticated woodworking techniques and in the 1960’s grew into the largest furniture manufacturer in Japan.
Maruni’s aim has always been to display the beauty of Western furniture, especially classic furniture, in Japan and it is no wonder that their popularity has spread worldwide.
In 2004 the “nextmaruni’ project was launched, an innovative concept inspired by the architect and product designer Masayuki Kurokawa.
Twelve designers from all over the world were asked to come up with their own designs tackling the design topic of “chairs conceived as a message directed towards the Japanese aesthetic.”
Designers including Alberto Meda from Italy, Jasper Morrison from the UK, and Naoto Fukasawa from Japan came up with materials, forms and ideas that explored the Japanese aesthetic.
This project was all about fusion between culture and industry that involved giving serious consideration to the physical form of chairs as art works, the nature of the aesthetics and of the method of production that would distinguish these items as intrinsically Japanese products.
Maruni focuses on the essence of everyday living, and their current product families ‘nextmaruni’ and ‘Hiroshima’ by Naoto Fukasawa showcase a union of today’s international design sense with Japan’s unique aesthetic and intricate timber manufacturing skills.