"Mio Workshop - Sapporo Shimau Box Series" - Simple and long lasting products.
In May of this year "Workshop Mio," in Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo, will be celebrating its 15th anniversary! When it first opened, the workshop focused on creating handmade chairs, tables, and other furniture, but lately they have embraced a more playful spirit and begun creating other miscellaneous items.
"We're not really sure what kind of workshop we are anymore," laughs company representative, and Okoppe native, Katsushige Minami, "lately we've been focused more on creating home accessories."
As a leading wholesaler of furniture, Workshop Mio is made up of the workshop, a designing studio, and the store front. After so many years in the business they have taken the lead as a Hokkaido furniture manufacturer, however, at the age of 47, Mr. Minami decided to change things up. "There is a boundary to selling mass produced furniture. I prefer to meet face-to-face with the clients during the sales process. I was making furniture and selling furniture, but I really wanted to meet my customers face to face. I found that Tokyo was just too large to really do that, but Sapporo is the perfect size!"
The company manufactures original furniture, as well as made-to-order household goods. Today I'd like to introduce their unique "Sapporo Shimai box series" collection. This product is also an official "Sapporo Style" product! ※1
※1: We've introduced "Sapporo Style" on Hokkaido Likers before:
This box is made from Hokkaido grown Ezo Mountain Cherry Wood. Two shapes are available, square and circular, and sizes vary. According to Mr. Minami "Sapporo offers both the big city environment, as well as a residential areas. These boxes are extremely useful for storage, and here in Hokkaido there is plenty of space to kep them around the house! We've also taken into consideration the fact that many Hokkaido residents use floor heating for the winter months. This item helps out the family by opening up that valuable warm floor space."
The boxes can be arranged in a variety of ways, so they really fit the style of the buyer. This product isn't being massed produced, so during the ordering process each customer can pick the exact size they would like. Thinking of where you can keep the boxes, how you can use them, and what you can store is quite fun!
During my research for the article I visited the showroom where furniture and accessories were on display. The works were really beautiful and their functionality was quite evident. The width of the sofas, the height of the chairs, the handles on the drawers, even the detail on the tables, everything crafted has a meaning behind it.
Here is one of the items on display in the showroom. This is the same case used to present the Nobel Prize in chemistry to Hokkaido University Professor Emeritus, Akira Suzuki.
This piece is designed and made by "Workshop Mio" but the materials used are wood, leather, and iron. The woodwork is from Mio, the iron is produced in Hokkaido, and the leather is from Akabira "Itagaki." ※ 2
In fact the case is a great representation of Mr. Minami's way of thinking.
※ 2 : We've also introduced "Itagaki" on Hokkaido Likers before:
"My family has been in Hokkaido since my grandfather's generation. He first began woodworking to help development of the island. Using an iron ax to cut wood, which was then transported by horses geared up with leather. So my image of the Hokkaido frontier spirit is wood, iron, and leather, hence the design."
If you have the chance to visit "Workshop Mio" you can experience the beauty and feel of their furniture first hand. The products are also often shown at events, so if you hear about one near you be sure to go take a look!
■ 有限会社 澪工房 (Mio Workshop)
■ 澪工房facebook (Mio Workshop on facebook)
■ 澪工房ショールーム (Mio Workshop Showroom)
Hours of Operation: 10:00 to 6:00
Closed on Wednesdays.
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
(Photographs by Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Itsuki and 澪工房)