A poster of my choice / Hiroshi Namiki, CEO of TIMBER YARD
We interviewed the buyers about their work and life after they purchased a poster at POSTERS.
Hiroshi Namiki / Born in 1961. After graduating from university, he worked for a trading company specializing in imported lumber before joining his family's lumber wholesale business, Namiki Lumber Co. He has been the chief of the company since 1992. In 1995, in parallel with his lumber business, he established Cozy Life, which became his management company. In the same year, he opened the interior store TIMBER YARD. Later, he established a housing division to design and construct custom-built houses. His hobbies include traveling around Japan and abroad to gain experiences about architecture and interior design.
Q. Why did you choose the poster of Yoshie Watanabe of KIGI?
A. The interior design stores and housing projects I work on a daily basis focus on Scandinavian design. We had a lot of arguments with the staff about whether to choose something that would fit perfectly in those spaces or something with a different nuance. I felt that Watanabe's work might be a bit strong for our space, but at the same time it had the power to enhance the space when being displayed, so I took the plunge and went for it. The result was a jackpot. The soft Scandinavian design is sometimes a bit blurred, but the accent is wonderful and makes a statement.
Q. The TIMBER YARD logo was designed by Ryosuke Uehara of KIGI. Could you share about it?
A. We met KIGI back in 2017. While taking over my family's lumber business, I started my own interior design store, TIMBER YARD, and a housing business. I was introduced to KIGI by the buyer, Mr. Yu Yamada, who told me about the origin of the name "KIGI" and the nature behind their work. We thought they would be able to understand the essence of our ideas, so we asked them to design a logo for us. However, looking back on it now, I think that the bold design we received at that time allowed us to take on a variety of challenges in an effort to keep up with it. When choosing the posters this time, I suddenly remembered those days and felt the urge to be adventurous like I was then.
Q. What prompted you to open TIMBER YARD?
A. Before taking over the family business, I was trained at a lumber trading company. As I looked at life overseas, I felt that Japan's living environment was lagging behind. I decided that I wanted to do not only distribution business but also house building by myself. For example, dried lumber is now commonplace, but 30 years ago there was no such practice in Japan, and houses were built after the trees were dried. During the high-growth period, many houses were built immediately after the trees were cut down, and the wood dried after construction. When the moisture content of wood falls below 30%, it begins to shrink. Therefore, there were many inferior houses with a life expectancy of less than 30 years. I have a strong desire to make good products. Another thing that is actually not well known is the price of lumber. The price is about 10% of the cost of building a house. Now the price has gone up a little, so a 20 million yen house would cost about 2.5 to 3 million yen. You may have a vague image that good quality lumber is expensive, but considering the overall cost, the percentage is not that much. That is why we want you to use good wood. I wanted to convey this information to you as well.
Q. Why did you open the interior store before the housing business?
A. If I want to build a house, I want it to be built by someone whose sensibilities match mine. Through the interior showroom, we can communicate our ideas. We can also learn about our clients' sensibilities by first consulting with them about their interiors. We wanted to create a flow that would lead to the creation of a home. It has been 27 years since we opened our doors, and we are happy to see so many customers from the local community visiting our shop. After the pandemic of COVID-19, more and more people are concerned about the value of living at home. Although our pricing is not set low, and there is even an IKEA store nearby, we present a same pendant of light with a completely different glow. We feel that the number of people who are interested in our aesthetics is increasing year by year.
Q. In your daily interior design proposals, what do you think about the appeal of displaying posters?
A. When I visited the former chief of Fritz Hansen at his home, I was impressed by the way how he displayed posters at the entrance. Europeans are very good at making use of their walls. Especially in Scandinavia, where winters are long, there is a strong desire to enjoy the inside of the house. So, everyone can easily decorate the walls with whatever they like. In Japan, wall decorations are usually expensive paintings, which are usually out of reach for most people. I would like to see it becoming more common for people to hang posters and photos they like in a more casual way.