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 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.
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The Zwarthout | Shou Sugi Ban Team
Captain, architect, visionary, inventor, concierge.
After 20 years of experience in architecture, a major accident propelled Pieterto 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!”
Marketing Communication, sales, Jack of all trades, hobby guitarist, beardless.
“I am truly the odd man out at Zwarthout. I am the only one with no background in technology, architecture or wood industry (and no beard). But I won't let that stop me! I stand my ground among these men. I am eager to learn and as a marketer I have an eye for design and beautiful things. And how beautiful is Zwarthout! The power and contradiction of fire fascinates me. Partly because of that reason I like being part of this team. I also like to make beautiful things myself. No real art, but beautiful marketing communications. For Zwarthout. That is also a little bit of art.”
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.”
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!” ”