George Nakashima and the Soul of a Tree - DAMDAM

George Nakashima and the Soul of a Tree

Born to Japanese emigre parents in 1905 in Washington, USA, George Nakashima is considered as one the 20th century's greatest designers and craftsmen. With his ability to mix the unpretentious organic shape of timber with strong, sculptural shapes common to mid-century modern design, George Nakashima's timeless aesthetic maintains the raw beauty of a tree's natural form.

1905年にアメリカのワシントンで日本人移民の両親に生まれたジョージ・ナカシマは、20世紀で最も偉大なデザイナーと職人の一人と言われています。 気取らない自然な木材の形と、ミッドセンチュリーのモダンなデザインに共通する力強く彫刻的な形を組み合わせるジョージ・ナカシマの時代を超えた美学は、木が持つ自然な形の美しさを守ります。

We spent a couple of days in Shikoku where we made a day out of visiting the ateliers of George Nakashima and Isamu Noguchi. The artists were friends and contemporaries who also coincidentally set up respective studios in Takamatsu within reasonable driving distance from each other.


As a young artist, Nakashima was well-travelled, working and studying in Paris and frequented Africa and India. He often visited Japan, perfecting the woodworking craft of traditional Japanese joinery which he learned from a master at an internment camp during World War 2. 

It was in Japan that he began making furniture with Sakura Seisakusho, a manufacturer in Takamatsu in the island of Shikoku. Today, the maker carries on Nakashima's legacy, converting his old workshop into a museum which houses some of his works including the iconic Conoid chair. We arrived to view a good selection of his signature pieces and after our tour, we had tea on the grounds. 

若い芸術家として、ナカシマは旅に行き、パリで働き、勉強し、アフリカとインドを頻繁に訪れました。 彼は日本にも頻繁に訪れ、第二次世界大戦中に収容所で学んだ伝統的な日本の建具の木工工芸品を完成させました。

彼は日本の四国、高松の桜製作所で家具を作り始めました。製作所はナカシマの遺産を引き継ぎ、彼の古い工房を象徴的なコノイドチェアを含む彼の作品を展示する美術館に変えています。 私たちは彼の代表的な作品を見るために美術館を訪れ、そして作品を観た後に敷地内でお茶を飲みました。

Vastly reminiscent of his (albeit much larger) New Hope, Pennsylvania home and workshop below, George Nakashima's Takamatsu studio is likewise a testament to his reverence for wood and nature. Here, his love for trees is tangible, evident in every piece that bore his name and in the wild foliage that surround the area, making it an enduring legacy and a more than worthy visit when in Shikoku. 


"A tree is our most intimate contact with nature." - George Nakashima

「木は私たちと自然を最も繋げるもの」 -ジョージ・ナカシマ


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