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Hokkaido furniture maker attracts big names with go-slow approach

Time & Style blends northern Japan's prized timber with old traditions

Time & Style factory craftsman Yu Yokoyama.

The first signs of autumn are stirring in an old-growth forest in Hokkaido, northern Japan, as brothers Ryutaro and Yasushi Yoshida, co-founders of Time & Style, carry out an inspection. The leaves of beech and oak trees have darkened; some are falling to the ground, dancing on the breeze that blows through the evergreen spruces. Soon snow will come and temperatures will drop significantly, slowing tree growth. This makes the timber harvested here particularly dense -- and perfect for use in furniture.

It takes five years for a spruce here to grow to the height of a hand; a harvestable oak is about 150 years old. The language of this forest has been written over centuries. Working here requires patience and sensitivity -- and this demand has had a magnetic pull on the Yoshida brothers. The products that their company creates are influenced as much by history as they are by the hands of those who shape them. From transforming the designs of bells made for Zen temples into homeware to helping to revive a lost textile-weaving method for furniture upholstery, Time & Style goes to painstaking lengths to imbue its products with authenticity. Its timber furniture is no exception.

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