George Nakashima
Kodansha, Tokyo, 1988, 1981, English
Nonfiction, Product/Industrial Design
ISBN: 9784770009685

From the Publisher. On a farmlike compound near New Hope, Pennsylvania, the Japanese-Amerian architect and designer George Nakashima (1905-1990), his family, and fellow wood-workers created exquisite furniture from richly grained, rare timber. Tables, desks, chairs, and cabinets from this simple workshop grace the homes and mansions and executive boardrooms of people who prize such excellence. In this lavishly illustrated volume, George Nakashima allows us in intimate look at his artistry, his philosophy, his life. It is the portrait of an artisan who strives to find the ideal use for each plank in order to "create an object of utility to man and, if nature smiles, an object of lasting beauty."

The author’s search for the meaning of life took him as a young man to Paris, Tokyo, and Pondicherry, India. In India, he found the inner peace for which he had been searching and began to find ways to work with timber. He writes movingly about the grandeur of ancient trees and stunning figured woods and explains how he selects and prepares his materials. Above all, he impresses us with his devotion to discovering the inherent beauty of wood so that noble trees might have a second life as furniture. The Soul of a Tree looks at the world through the eyes of an artist and evokes the joy of living in harmony with nature.

On 2 book lists
Richard Sachs

I bought this book in the late 1980s when it first was published. I wanted more from my trade, and from the time spent at the bench, and found bicycles dull. When I started to cast a net out to try to catch inspiration—this book fell right in my lap, and has remained there ever since. Similar to what I write about Acquired of the Angels, the more I learned about Nakashima, the harder I tried to channel it into the work I was doing with metal.

Billie Tsien

Thoughts about making things.

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