Our story
While travelling through Japan, our founder, architect Pieter Weijnen, became fascinated with the beauty and sustainability of black charred wood. He then set out to master the traditional Shou Sugi Ban wood charring technique. In order to guarantee the quality of the black charred wood in terms of uniformity and sustainability, he even developed his own, highly efficient production process. This resulted in the founding of our company Zwarthout | Shou Sugi Ban in mid 2012. 

We were the first in Europe to develop our own collection of beautiful black charred wood species. Exclusive and each with their own texture, character and finishing. 

Beauty and sustainability 
We enjoy contributing to exceptional, aesthetically pleasing designs for exterior and interior design applications. It is our honour to put in the work to make our world more sustainable. That is why we only use certified wood species. 

Making exceptional things together
Every day, we enjoy designing and realising exceptional things together with others who love aesthetics, sustainability and perfect quality. All of our wood is charred in our own workshop. You can leave the perfect, invisible mounting of our exclusive Shou Sugi Ban charred wood to our Zwarthout Mounting Service.

The Zwarthout Team
Our team is made up of various specialists, including builder-architects, product developers, charring masters, carpenters, furniture makers, technicians, designers and artists. We all have a predilection for honest, natural materials: for wood that has character and, of course, for fire!

The Zwarthout | Shou Sugi Ban Team



Bert Kattenbroek

General manager, wood freak, beekeeper and brewer 

Bert is a woodman in heart and soul. He has more than 25 years of working experience in the wood industry worldwide. ‘’I had known Zwarthout l Shou Sugi Ban for a few years and found the natural products to be extremely beautiful. The structure of the surface is unique and the possibilities of applying Shou Sugi Ban are limitless. To be able to work within the team, to expand Zwarthout l Shou Sugi Ban and to realise many more beautiful projects worldwide, gives me a lot of energy. Besides my work I like to work with my bees as a beekeeper and when I have some spare time I like to brew a nice beer.‘’




Anne Marie Wieland

Administrative assistant, creative, animal lover, nature lover  

Anne Marie is a real number queen and therefore our administrative assistant. When she spotted Zwarthout l Shou Sugi Ban, it was love at first sight. Superbly beautiful charred wood, of high quality and also made in the traditional way. For someone who loves interior design and styling, it is fantastic to work for a company that makes these products. And to work with a nice and lovely team as well!



Sierk Zee 

Furniture maker, carpenter, graphic designer, DJ, home cook

After spending many years mainly behind a computer screen, Sierk developed a strong urge to start making beautiful things. “A friend of mine introduced me to Zwarthout, which was a good fit from the start. With my experience as a furniture maker, carpenter and graphic designer, I felt right at home. At Zwarthout, I am responsible for the mounting service. Along with my colleagues, I ensure that our products are assembled and mounted just as they should be. In my spare time, I mostly find myself looking for obscure music and preparing interesting recipes.”


Thomas Dumesnil

Thomas Dumesnil

Advisor in France and abroad, colour expert, Zwarthout nomad

After working as a technical graphic artist for many years, Thomas wanted to achieve greater harmony with the environment and mankind. “I came upon the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique by chance and I became fascinated by the quality and beauty of the charred wood. These days, I am Zwarthout's very own nomad, as I travel through France to meet passionate people, who, like me, want to know everything there is to know about this special wood, which is then used to clad the most beautiful buildings! The fire is not the only place you can feel warmth at Zwarthout, you feel it within the team, too.”

Frank Ruijs

Stoker, architect, technical expert, dragon boat helmsman, home cook

He holds degrees from the HTS Architecture and the Academy of Architecture. With more than twenty years’ experience as an engineer and project leader, Frank is our architectural expert for various architectural firms. His duties include preparing technical drawings for the wood profiles. “I want to deliver high-quality work, based on traditional methods, as though it were for myself. I combine technique with craftsmanship, which enables me to 'read’ a design and think about the suitable finishing for the final product. I like to use my hands to create a special product.”


Milou van Lokven

Marketeer, creative and foodie

“Wow!” That was the first thought that went through Milou's mind when she first saw Zwarthout's stunning black charred planks. We like that a lot. “I was fascinated by the structure and look of the wood as well as the pure craftsmanship from the get-go. And all that in Leersum, a town very close to where I live. As the team's marketeer, I want to broaden Zwarthout’s international presence as much as possible. That way, as many people as possible can enjoy our beautiful black charred wood. Besides my work at Zwarthout, I also spend time sharing my own healthy recipes online. I create and develop these recipes myself, and I also take the accompanying photos. I share my recipes on my own Instagram page, hoping to inspire whoever comes across my posts.”


Miranda Wilbords-Slopsema

Outdoor lover, account manager, polyglot, mountain biker 

After a career in tourism, I started looking for a company where sustainability is paramount. My search didn’t last long, because less than five minutes cycling from my house I came across Zwarthout l Shou Sugi Ban. I was immediately excited when I saw the fantastic products, the smell of charred wood and the beautiful working environment surrounded by one of Leersum's forests. And the icing on the cake for me was daily speaking French, English and German everyday with clients all over the world. Advising customers and then working together on a beautiful project, that gives me a lot of energy as an account manager! In my spare time, I use this energy while mountain biking around the Amerongse Berg or walking  one of the ‘’Lange Afstands Wandelingen’’ in the Netherlands.

Portret Paul

Paul Vriend 

Sales Manager, Ski'er, outdoorsman and architecture expert  

For several years, Paul worked at well-known architectural firms, increasing his construction experience and interest in architecture. ''Translating the architect's drawings into a manufacturable product that meets all requirements,  is what I enjoy working on''. It is great that as the Sales manager of Zwarthout l Shou Sugi Ban, I can apply my knowledge and skills to work with the whole team on new special projects.
What else does Paul enjoy? ''In my spare time, I really enjoy being outside doing sports. Cycling, boot camp and skiing are my favourite!''



Freek Wüthrich

Forestry technologist, fire master, adventurer, living encyclopaedia

Freek always had a passion and affinity for nature, especially forests fascinates him. He felt a calling to both preserve ecosystems and work more with sustainable wood products; this led him to study forestry technology in Canada. 

''I really love working with my hands and so do I within the team at Zwarthout l Shou Sugi Ban as a true fire master. What I love most about working with wood as a material is that the grain in each piece has a natural and unique character. And so too when the wood is fired in the oven. Each board has a different texture and look. I think it's fantastic!''

In Freek's spare time, he enjoys practising the art of Bonsai and you can see him gardening, cooking, walking or cycling through the woods.



Jan Leppers

Moped enthusiast, handyman, fire master and early bird

From truck driver, aluminium sawyer, to Zwarthout l Shou Sugi Ban fireman. 

Jan is always busy and an early bird. Getting packages of wood ready to burn, keeping track of our sample stock or brushing, staining and packing charred wood. Nothing is too crazy for Jan, he does it all. 

And don't think he's sitting on the couch during weekends, because even then he is at work as a handyman. Installing glass at a neighbour's house, making birdhouses or a flagpole bracket. 




Want to know more about our team? Feel free to contact us!