New to the shop | Saito Wood Co.

See the Waste Basket in Ayous White, Ayous and Walnut

Saito Wood Co. was established in 1948 as a woodworking factory in Kanawe, Shizuoka prefecture. The company produced all sorts of made-to-order items, but struggled to make an ordinary woodworking business work in a world that had rapidly changed.

Isamu Saito had worked during the war at a factory for the Japanese army in central Japan and due to the shortage of iron, explored ways to produce necessary items from unconventional raw materials. Experimenting with the idea of making wooden fuel tanks, he learned about molded plywood, and this became a formative experience that would later transform his woodworking business. Knowing that he would need to try something new that adjusted itself to a modern reality, Saito began manufacturing plywood ice buckets, wine casks and other round accesories that he began to sell out of a trailer for his bicycle.

The technique of molding plywood became an integral part of the company’s identity, and to this day continues to be at its heart. Saito Wood Co. products are a notable example of design innovation. This is true not only because Saito introduced the modern material to the industry of home and office wares in Japan, but also because the experimentation with the material led to the development of a refined aesthetic for plywood products. Discovering what a material applied to a new use wants to look like is perhaps the most remarkable achievement of Saito products.

Saito Wood Co. is a small yet efficient operation. Today it is run by Takuya Saito, Isamu’s grandson, with the help of his brother and uncle. Rather than having an interest in rapid growth and expansion, the family is focused simply on continuing to make baskets and try, putting quality and good design in front of all else.

See the Wooden Tray in Walnut, Ayous White and Black Ash

All Photo Credits: Stevenson Aung