“Kozai” is the translation of a technical term used by Japanese woodworkers to denote hardwoods, particular solid hardwoods. It’s a fitting name for a Vancouver-based importer and retailer of finely crafted furniture and lighting from Japan. Kozai Designs, supported by workshops spread throughout Japan (often in smaller towns or the countryside), celebrates the unique character and personality of solid hard and soft wood. Partners Ron Cromie and Hideki Shimizu take as their inspiration George Nakashima — the Japanese-American innovator of 20th-century furniture design and a father of the American craft movement — who, in his book The Soul of a Tree, talked about giving trees a second life.
Here in Canada, Kozai Designs supports the Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking, located on B.C.’s Sechelt Coast, by hosting an annual exhibit of works by the school’s students and resident craftspeople. The company has now expanded its collection to include outstanding West Coast artisans: Brent Comber, Seiji Kuwabara, Hyun Soon Hong, Arnt Arntzen and Ian Godfrey, on the furniture side; Jeff Trigg and Meagan Schafer, on the lighting side.
The company’s collection, Kozai Modern, reflects a mid-century-modern “less is more” aesthetic. The Kozai Modern showroom is located in the South Granville gallery area of Vancouver.