Furniture Inspired by Japanese Shipbuilding Techniques by Jin Kuramoto

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (10)

Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Takumi Ota

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (11) Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (12)

“Like huge Japanese lanterns, the harbors along Japan’s jagged coast sparkled at night last week with the blue fire of acetylene welding rods and the white glare of arc lights. The lights burned overtime as Japan worked to meet the greatest shipbuilding boom in its history. All 54 ways at Japan’s nine major shipyards are occupied; one ship is barely launched before a new keel is laid,” reported TIME Magazine in 1964.

Indeed, Japan used shipbuilding in the 1950s and 1960s to rebuild its industrial structure and the country dominated in the late 1980s, filling more than half of all orders worldwide. Japan has since lost its competitive edge to countries like South Korea but now, a group of artisans and designers are looking to revive shipbuilding but in an entirely different way – through furniture.

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (1)

“The heritage of many of the woodworking techniques used by Japanese carpenters originates from Japanese shipwrights,” said Jin Kuramoto (previously), who recently teamed up with a group of Hiroshima-based woodworkers to create a new furniture brand, MATSUSO T.

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (7)

The brand is debuting with 2 lineups; the first, designed by Kuramoto himself, is called Nadia. The collection features curved sections of wood for the back of the chair – an image reminiscent of the hull of a ship. Look underneath the chairs and tables and you’ll see frames of interlocked struts, a technique used by the old shipbuilders. In fact, Hiroshima is home to Tsuneishi, one of Japan’s larger shipbuilders. In a wonderful photo essay the Tokyo-based photographer Androniki Christodoulou documented the shipyard.

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (2)

The second lineup for MATSUSO T is a series of pentagaonl furniture called Five, designed by Swedish designer Claesson Koivisto. The entire series will be on display at Stockholm Furniture Fair.

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (8)

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (3)

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (6)

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (4)

Nadia by Jin Kuramoto (9)

source: press release


  1. What does any of that to do with ship or boat-building?
    A curved section of wood for the back – like the hull of a ship? They’re nice and interesting designs, but …. seriously?

  2. The second line up is actually called Five, by Swedish designers Claesson, Koivisto & Rune and the brand is called Matsuso T, with an s…

  3. Arisan – thanks!

  4. But are they comfortable?

  5. Sam, the Nadia chairs were, the Five chairs not so much…

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