Kagu Kobo Nishida in Fukuoka Prefecture

“I want to make furniture that is the one and only in the world”

After completing the training period, Mr. Nishida was employed at a company for a while but then became independent when he was 27 years old. At that stage, he produced mainly folk style furniture and related things. As his career progressed however, he realized a certain feeling had arisen. "I've come to a point where I want to create by myself, not as part of a shared work”. He was doing “monotsukuri” (manufacturing) himself as an aside from his regular work in order to satisfy this feeling, which is quite common among craftsman. “I was making furniture for my wife which was easy to use with a design I liked.” These works were not at the request of companies or acquaintances, so everything was just as Nishida wanted it. We asked him what kind of furniture he wants to make. “Furniture such as a Japanese chest of drawers or a cupboard have a general shape that people imagine. I don't want to make things that already exist in this world.” Mr. Nishida says. As he has explained; one off, unique works such as a chest on which two people can sit, a beautifully curved storage box with a twist, and a coffee table with a wave instead of a flat surface attract our eyes. While continuing to make his art-like furniture that wasn’t for sale, an acquaintance asked Mr. Nishida, “Why don't you hold a personal exhibition?” Despite being his first personal exhibition in Fukuoka, it was a great success from the first day to the last. "For personal reasons, I arrived at the gallery about two hours late. But there were so many visitors I couldn't get inside." Since then, Nishida has endeavoured to create his own furniture more than ever.

Wood can be formed into any shape. So I want to work on wood furniture exclusively.

Mr. Nishida is very particular about wood when making furniture. We asked him the reason why he exclusively uses wood and he answers, “Basically, I like wood. It's nice to be able to work it into any shape by planning and bending, so I make furniture only from wood.” When we were guided into the showroom, we had doubts if Mr. Nishida's words were exactly true. There was furniture that we could not believe was made from wood. Among the various work, there was a piece that looked just like a stone, so we touched it to confirm our suspicion. And we still couldn't believe it wasn’t made of stone. “Is this really wood?” we asked. "It's definitely wood. I cut it, processed it, and made the look and texture like stone." He kindly took us through the process. "When we go to a museum, we see a lot of things made to look very real, and I thought that I could do the same with furniture so I wanted to try it." We asked with interest if there was any furniture that he tried but could not make. Mr. Nishida then answered, “I’ve never had a work that I could not make. I would make everything I wanted to make. If I didn’t give up on the way, I would definitely complete the work. And that’s the same for anyone, if you don't give up."

Making furniture as a craftsman, not an artist.

As mentioned earlier, Mr. Nishida finds inspiration in various kinds of artwork, and this drives him to make unique furniture that has never been seen anywhere in the world. "There are works that strongly impress you when you visit an art gallery or a museum. I would like to make furniture like this." What drives him when making furniture is not that "I want to make this work", but rather "I do not want to lose against this work". We asked if he had ever thought of a way to be an artist instead of a furniture craftsman. "I'm an ingrained craftsman. I put on a drawer, put on a handle, and finally I make it for people to use," Mr. Nishida says laughingly. But there is another reason to make artistic furniture. Compared to days gone by, modern homes are made without the need for as much furniture as most furnishings are already built-in. "Some people think that putting furniture in a room occupies the space and can get in the way, so it's better to make artistic furniture. This artistic furniture can change the atmosphere of the room." As if to support his words, he gets a message of thanks from a customer who bought his cupboard, "My family used to gather in the dining room, but after we bought your cupboard, we now gather in the kitchen more often." This makes him very happy. We asked Mr. Nishida what work he wishes to create in the future and he says, "I saw an amazing piece at the Yamaguchi Art Museum the other day, and I want to create something which exceeds that work." As long as there is artwork in the world attractive to people, Mr. Nishida's creativity will never fade.

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