Zwarthout | Shou Sugi Ban, is produced by Pieter Weijnen and the Zwarthout Team. The beauty and durability of the charred wood greatly appealed to Pieter and he familiarised himself with the technique. He then developed his own efficient production process in order to ensure the quality of the charred wood. This resulted in the founding of our company Zwarthout | Shou Sugi Ban in mid 2012. By now we have developed a number of beautifully charred wood types with different textures and finishes which makes us very proud.
The Zwarthout Team
Our team is made up of specialists in various disciplines and ranges from builder-architects to product developers, technicians and artists. We all have a great liking for honest and natural materials and we thoroughly enjoy designing and realising beautiful and unique creations. We also accept the responsibility of keeping our footprint as small as we can which is why we work in a CO2 neutral manner as far as possible. You will find our attention to detail, our passion for wood and sustainability in all our projects, each with their own very unique look.
In 2019, we planted a total of 1,500 trees in the Netherlands and France, which means that our company has been generously CO2 positive in recent years. In addition to the use of wood, this also includes our energy consumption, commuting and the transport of our wood. We want to leave more behind than we use; we plant one tree for every ten square metres of blackwood! So for an average house with a facade of about 120m2, 12 trees will be planted on one of the estates surrounding our company. Every customer will be invited to this in due course, without obligation.
The Zwarthout | Shou Sugi Ban Team
Captain, architect, visionary, inventor, concierge.
After 20 years of experience in architecture, a major accident propelled Pieter to make a career switch from sustainable architect to craftsmanship. Pieter is the founder of Zwarthout | Shou Sugi Ban, bringing black wood from Japan to the Netherlands and Europe. He first utilized the black wood in his own sustainable home. Developping a deep interest in the practice, Pieter strated burning the wood himself. He became acquainted with the traditional Japanese technique and added modern technology. "I think it's burning the wood in the furnace of our oven, still the most beautiful thing."
Navigator, industrial designer, connector.
Our operational management director is, of origin, an industrial designer whose passion is to convert an idea into a business. "My focus is on sustainability, responsible entrepreneurship and consumption. Quality is number one for me and the basis for satisfied customers. I am proud of the artistic beauty of our black wood. My ambition is for Zwarthout to grow internationally, respectful of mankind, society and the environment."
Stoker, architect, dragon-boat helmsman, amateur chef.
Background: HTS Architecture and Academy of Architecture. More than 20 years experience as an engineer, project leader and technical expert at various architectural firms. “I want to deliver high-quality work, based on traditional methods, as if it were for myself. I combine technology with traditional methods enabling me to 'read' a design and think about the suitable finishing of the end product. I like to use my hands in creating a special product.”
Fire master, strategist, know-it-all, chef.
After a study in Political Science, he soon realised that inactivity did nothing for him. As a chef he learned that fire does more than just destruct, it also helps create things of beauty. Zwarthout was the logical step towards something new. “I find it very exciting to be part of a growing and ambitious company. I would like to be part of the Zwarthout journey.” Ruben likes to take on anything and doesn't mind getting his hands dirty.
Diederik van Haaften
Organiser, wood professor, guitarist.
My interest in wood began when I, as a guitarist, developed an interest in guitar building. This was one of the reasons for studying Forest and Nature Management, aimed particularly at the international wood trade. It was during my studies that I first became aware of this ancient Japanese preservation method. I found the singed wood incredibly beautiful and started using it in guitar building. During and after my studies I further increased my knowledge of the use of wood and its technical properties through experience. Once I found out that a company in the Netherlands had introduced the Shou Sugi Ban technique into Europe, I started following them. And now I have the great pleasure of working for them
Advisor in France and abroad, colour expert and fascinated by Zwarthout.
After working as a technical graphic artist for many years, I wanted to achieve greater harmony with the environment and mankind. I came into contact with the Japanese technique Yakisugi by chance and I became fascinated by the charred wood, both in terms of its quality and beauty. These days I am a nomad for Zwarthout, as I travel through France to meet passionate, like-minded people who want to know more about this special wood. This is then used to clad the most beautiful buildings. At Zwarthout you don't just feel the warmth of the fire, but also within the team.
Furniture maker, musician, business clown, medieval mercenary.
“From high school I ended up at the conservatory as a drummer, but I stopped after six months. I could not fully express my creativity in that framework. After a year of exploring and various jobs, I started at the furniture makers vocational school. Making furniture is my thing, but I'm looking for more challenge than just making squares. Zwarthout is a company where I can really express myself and where every unique assignment challenges me to explore the limits of possibilities. In my free time, I am regularly on the road as a knight to explore my limits when acting out medieval battles. That is a bit like working at Zwarthout: working hard and having a beer together when it's done. Glorious!”
Timber handler and handyman. An all-rounder.
“With a background of theatre technology and visual arts, captivated by this unique company. Here we work with attention to more than just your wallet. The earth is dear to us and must be passed on well. We do not run with banners, but with a black overall.
As an artist, I strive to use materials and techniques that are more or less handed to me. And here is Zwarthout. The next project will be a portrait burned to a wooden panel, under the motto: “Set it on fire!” "
Sarissa van Hal
All-round worker, bookworm, bassist, coffee enthusiast.
“I accidentally stumbled in at Zwarthout, at a time when I was hopping from student job to student job. Before that, the only trees I had ever held in my hands had already been processed into books. Today, with piles of planks on my shoulders, I walk across the grounds of the most beautiful workplace that you can find; a historic farm.
The great thing about Zwarthout is that it offers me the space to observe and learn how a company is created, developed and grows. Equality between colleagues is central here. Something I had never experienced before with previous employers. Every day that I walk into the Zwarthout site, I know that I have learned something new at the end of the day.”
Go-getter, optimist and prankster.
“"After working at large companies for many years, I saw a unique opportunity to use my experience and interests as a Sales Manager at Zwarthout. Together we ensure that the goals and wishes of our customers are transformed into beautiful woodworks. With my honesty, customer focus and trust, I want to contribute to the growth of Zwarthout.
In the weekends I like to go to beautiful places with my children. "
Milou van Lokven
Marketer, creative and sports fanatic.
“‘’Wow!” That was my first reaction when I saw the beautiful black burnt boards of Zwarthout. I was immediately fascinated by the structure and appearance of the wood and the pure craftsmanship. And all this in Leersum, a village very close to where I live. As a Marketeer within the team, I want to give Zwarthout as much international fame as possible. So that as many people as possible can enjoy the beautiful black wood.
In addition to my work at Zwarthout, I am also active in distributing my recipes online. I think up, make and photograph healthy recipes. Then I place them on my Instagram page to inspire others. ”
Carpenter, graphic designer, DJ, home cook.
“After many years of working mainly behind a computer, my hands started to itch to make beautiful things.
Through a friend I came into contact with Zwarthout, where at the very first moment a click arose. With my background as a furniture maker, carpenter and designer I immediately felt at home. At Zwarthout I am responsible for the assembly service and together with my colleagues I ensure that our beautiful products are assembled in the best possible way.
My spare time is mainly spent looking for obscure music and cooking special dishes.
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