In Japan they have been doing it for centuries, in Europe it is becoming increasingly popular: Shou Sugi Ban, charred wood. Zwarthout introduced it in the Netherlands and developed a special oven to burn the wood.
Dutch magazine Houtwereld (‘World of Wood’) interviewed our founder Pieter Weijnen and published a beautiful article (in Dutch) with the title ‘The Art of Imperfection’. About the steps from improvisation to professionalisation and internationalisation.
In 2007 Pieter was very impressed by a design of Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori at the Biennale of Venice: "The charred wood gives beautiful effects. In every weather condition you see a different black colour: in the sun it's almost silver and when it rains it turns to jet black. This material is poetic! It tells the story of the power of fire. It is beautiful.”
Zwarthout controls the entire process of Shou Sugi Ban. This process differs per wood species. Pieter: "Think, for example, of the temperature of the oven, the speed of the planks passing through the oven and the amount of oxygen. With each value you can obtain a different effect. Both aesthetically, with regard to the material characteristics, and the hardness of the carbon layer. That's our craftsmanship!”