Project Case

June 11, 2023

Two forests residing in a single tabletop, the “Forest Bank”

Takeya Shida

Hidakuma Inc., Forest Producer

This is a reposting of an article that was originally featured on the website of Hidakuma Inc. The initial article was written in Japanese by Takeya Shida (Hidakuma Inc. Forest Producer). This English version was translated by Sarah Burch and edited by Judit Moreno (FabCafe Global Editorial Team).

The Nagoya Office of Asanuma Corporation is brightened by the colorful tables made from Forest Bank, a material especially developed by design firm studio yumakano and Hidakuma Inc.

The Nagoya Office is the first step of Asanuma Corporation’s GOOD CYCLE BUILDING project, which aims to create “environments that are beneficial for both people and the earth.” The office design is a joint venture between Nori Architects and Asanuma Corporation’s design department and utilizes raw materials and technologies to emphasize resource recycling.

As a part of its efforts towards greater sustainability, Asanuma Corporation approached Hidakuma to request the development of a new material for the tabletops of its Nagoya Office. Hidakuma partnered with Creative Designer Yuma Kano, founder of studio yumakano, to develop together a unique forest aggregate they named Forest Bank.

Unlike regular wooden boards or other crude wood materials, Forest Bank was developed as a material that utilizes all aspects of a forest. This includes woodland residue from logging sites such as nuts, decayed wood, roots, and other forest elements. In this particular project, the Forest Bank boards were made with materials coming from two sources: the first being Hida Forest, and the second being the Yoshino Cedar logging site that had provided the wood for the façade of Asanuma Corporation’s Nagoya Office. The Hidakuma team as whole collaborated with studio yumakano’s Design Director, Yuma Kano, and other project stakeholders to oversee all aspects of production from procurement of forest materials to details of the design.

Read on to learn more about the research and development process of its innovative material!

About Hidakuma Inc.

Situated in Gifu Prefecture, 93.5% of Hida City’s area is covered by forests mainly composed of hardwood trees. Hidakuma, Inc. is short for “Hida no Mori de Kuma wa Odoru”, which roughly translates to “Bears Will Dance in the Forests of Hida.”

This Public Private Partnership involves Loftwork/FabCafe, the Hida City Council and Tobimushi Inc., and aims to create circulation and value for local forest resources through research, design, production and distribution of underutilized woods.

Website (in Japanese)

Project Details

  • Project Support:

Design proposal, production, production direction, procurement of forest materials

  • Period: June – August 2021
  • Project Organization:
    • Client: studio yumakanoYuma Kano
    • Production Direction: Chikako Kadoi (Hidakuma)
    • Production: studio yumakanoYuma Kano TAKT PROJECTChikako Kadoi, Takeya Shida, Hideaki Asaoka, Kosuke Kuroda, Takeshi Matsumoto, Kotaro Iwaoka (Hidakuma) Nori Architects Hida Shokunin Seikatsu Artistry Co., Ltd.
    • Collaboration: Nishino Lumber Co., Hida Forestry Association, Kamioka Forestry Association, Yoshinori Okada

GOOD CYCLE BUILDING is an environmentally conscious building renewal project to realize Asanuma Corporation’s “ReQuality” brand, which is based on the concept of creating “environments that are beneficial for both people and the earth.” The first endeavor in this flagship project involved renovating the Asanuma Corporation Nagoya Office. By utilizing the existing framework of the building and employing environmentally conscious building materials, Asanuma Corporation demonstrated how it is possible to implement sustainable construction that builds a good cycle for the earth.

GOOD CYCLE BUILDING 001 Asanuma Corporation Nagoya Office Renovation Project

Reference website:

Forest Bank is a material that encompasses all aspects of a forest, from large and small branches to leaves, bark, and nuts. It is made by hardening a mixture of “Jesmonite,” a reactive mineral base and water-based acrylic resin that uses no organic solvents or volatile organic compounds, and forest elements added as aggregates. One of its major characteristics is the visual of various aspects of the forest that can be seen in its cross section. These elements produce countless patterns and contours that change depending on the degree of processing, giving the tabletops a distinctive view of the forest that cannot be encountered anywhere else.

Perhaps the sense of comfort and familiarity these tabletops emanate is due to how often we encounter nature in our daily lives. On the other hand, the unique contours of branches, leaves, and pinecones displayed within the cross section of the material stimulate the imagination. It is almost as if each board has copied and pasted one section of the forest onto its surface, whether it be a pool of forest water, topsoil, or what lies nestled beneath the earth. Instead of being called by its functional purpose of “tabletop,” it almost seems like “window into the environment” would be a more appropriate name.


  •  Materials:
    • Aggregates: Forest elements (wood chips, branches, leaves, trees seeds, roots, bark, Yoshino Cedar lumber remnants, splinters, soil, charcoal, lumber remnants from ceiling materials obtained during the renovation of Asanuma Corporation’s Nagoya Office, etc.)
    • Resin: Jesmonite
    • Size: φ800×1 φ1200×7 φ1500×1
    • Finish: Urethane matte finish

The Forest Bank created for this project included more than just forest materials gathered from Hida Forest. During production, Design Director Yuma Kano made a visit to the logging site of the 130-year-old Yoshino Cedar that was being used to create the renewed façade of Asanuma Corporation’s Nagoya Office. It was at this time that he decided to use parts of the cedar tree that weren’t traditionally used for building or furniture production such as lumber remnants, branches, and soil to create the tabletops.

As the manufacturing would take place in Hida, local forests were researched in June. The team made a visit to Okada-san’s Forest, a beloved community-based forest located in Hida-Furukawa. The forest elements that could be collected changed with the season, so Kano and the other members walked through the forest, hunting for various materials that could be used as aggregates.

Hidakuma’s Kadoi researches the amount of materials to be used with Kano.

After collecting materials from Okada-san’s Forest, the team arranged for the processing to take place at FabCafe Hida. One of the benefits of working with FabCafe Hida was that they would be able to freely cut their materials and try out any ideas that came to them on the spot.

Verifying the degree of liquid staining depending on the finish used.

It was also during this time that they were able to research various aspects of the production process such as the ideal density and volume of aggregate materials, the formwork depth that would produce an ideal outcome, and the coating used for the finish. The structure of the formwork was designed considering both safety and efficiency as well as various circumstances that could occur during the production process. After the Jesmonite was mixed and the tabletops hardened, each uncut slab weighed roughly 100kg. A forklift would be needed to move them, which is why the team designed a space that could accommodate it. Using manpower was another option depending on the situation, so the design also implemented crossbeams like those used to carry portable shrines.

Aggregate materials are stored in a drying space at Nishino Lumber Co. until production.

Hidakuma started full-scale material procurement as soon as they determined the amount of aggregate that would be used. With the assistance of local forestry associations and woodworking companies, the team was able to collect a vibrant and diverse selection of materials.

View of the production space at Hidakuma’s longtime partner, Yanagi Lumber.

It was now time for the “do or die” step of production to begin. The process involved mixing Jesmonite with the aggregate materials, pouring the mixture into the formworks to harden, and finally, finishing them into tabletops using CNC machining. This took place during July, when the temperature was starting to rise considerably. The project lasted for about a week and took place in the production space of Yanagi Lumber, which has a “doba” (dirt field) where whole logs are collected. In addition to Kano, who was staying as a creator in residence at FabCafe Hida at the time, all the members of Hidakuma participated in the process and took part in the repetitious mixing and pouring tasks each day.

Mixing the Jesmonite with the aggregate materials. It’s a race against the clock as the mixture begins to harden.

Fearlessly, yet carefully pouring in the mixture.

Coordinating the placement of aggregate materials. Materials meant to make an expressive impact were arranged after the initial pouring.

The formwork is tapped in order to pop any bubbles that may have formed inside. This step influences the outcome of the final product, so it can’t be skipped.

Weight is placed on top of the formworks. You can feel heat being generated as the Jesmonite hardens.

Everyone checks the finished product. The still slightly warm Forest Bank has captured their hearts.

While the mixture is being poured, the aggregate materials are caked in white as the Jesmonite clings to them. Although it’s difficult to tell what is what, the contents can be arranged by feeling their texture and size by hand. It may seem like a task that would produce similar results no matter who worked on it, but the detail with which Kano placed the forest elements and mixed in the soil greatly impacted the result of the final product.

Throughout the length of the project, local artisans would occasionally come by to help. Employees of local forestry-related businesses also stopped by to take a peek at the progress. Various parties involved in the project such as Asanuma Corporation, architect Norihisa Kawashima, and staff from the import agency that acquired the Jesmonite also came to cheer the team on.

Kawashima checks the finished product.

One of the now hardened tabletops was delivered to Hida artisans for test processing to identify any items that needed consideration before sending all the large diameter tabletops to Artistry for CNC machining. Since Forest Bank is a new material with many variables, it is hard to gauge its degree of completion, but project personnel participated in test processing to ensure that their perceptions of the material were aligned.

As Forest Bank is a highly flexible material, it’s possible to process it using the same equipment and methods that are used for woodworking. The team expected from the beginning of the project that various parties would take part in its processing, and that CNC machining was going to be attempted based on results achieved through manual processing. Therefore, the overall making process became a challenge to show Forest Bank’s potential as a material.

Processing at Artistry.

There are nine tables with tops made from Forest Bank that brighten the newly renovated Asanuma Corporation Nagoya Office. Containing aspects of both Hida and Yoshino’s forests, they are sure to tantalize the imagination and curiosity of anyone who sits at them. It is our greatest wish that they are the start of achieving wonderful environments that are beneficial for both people and the earth.

狩野 佑真|Yuma Kano
studio yumakano Design Director / Designer

Born in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1988. Graduated from Tokyo Zokei University, Department of Design, specializing in interior architecture. After working as an assistant to artist Yasuhiro Suzuki, he established his design office, studio yumakano, in 2012. From a single screw to product design, interior planning, brand direction and material research, Kano combines an experimental approach with a prototyping-oriented process to design a wide range of things. He has received major awards including: Good Design Award, IFFT Young Designer Award, German Design Award, and the Maison&Objet Rising Talent Award.


I originally came up with the concept of Forest Bank as a method of expressing “the richness and beauty of the forest.” During this project, not only did we utilize materials from the forest, but we were also able to effectively mix in remnants from the construction site as well as surplus soil. The result were original tabletops with designs that melded “freshly gathered forest materials” with “artificially processed lumber from the site.” Beyond these two material sources, I also believe that the finished material was imbued with the memories of everyone who participated in this project.

Wood is a material that is essential to our daily lives. I am excited to see how Forest Bank will continue to be utilized in new ways through various projects from here on out.

大西 功起|Atsuki Ohnishi
Artistry Co., Ltd.
Head of Sales Development Department
Creative Director/ 5-axis machining operator

Born in Ise City, Mie Prefecture in 1985. After graduating from Nagoya University of the Arts, Ohnishi studied woodworking at Kashiwa Mokko Co., Ltd. before joining Artistry in 2015 where he moved into sales after working as a furniture craftsman and 5-axis machining operator. He has taken part in multiple challenging projects. He is striving to promote the appeal of craftsmanship as part of his lifelong goal of seeing wood-related work reach the Top 10 of dream jobs.


For this project, both Mr. Kano and Ms. Kadoi stayed at Artistry’s workshop for a few days which enabled them to participate in the sessions while we worked on finishing the tabletops.

As we scraped away at the surface, revealing the memories of the forest held within, they both remained serious, and yet, I could see a look of glee on their faces that reminded me of a young child fervently searching for beetles. Their excitement was contagious and made us smile as well. The experience reminded me of just how fun and exhilarating manufacturing products by hand can be.

Although Forest Bank was a completely new material to us, being able to face this challenge with Mr. Kano and Ms. Kadoi by our sides was a valuable experience. Thank you very much.

門井 慈子|Chikako Kadoi
Forest Creative Director

Graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of Fine Arts, specializing in Intermedia Art. Joined a spatial design company and participated in the spatial design and communication design for several events and store interiors. Drawn to the long-term communication and community/value creation stemming from the relationship between people and forests, Kadoi joined Hidakuma in 2020 with aspirations of creating a “rich forest where bears can happily dance.” Her dream is to dance with bears someday.

Just like a puddle in the forest, Forest Bank reflects scenes of what can be found in local forests and the seasons when they were collected. For this project, we were given permission to enter Okada-san’s Forest and freely gather whatever forest materials we wanted. There are people who are willing to bring forests and people together, and I think this material is also something that can initiate that relationship.

What’s more, aside from the machining, basically anyone who wanted to participate in the production process was able to lend a hand. I think it’s important to be a “user” of products that you’ve had a hand in creating.

Just imagining what kinds of Forest Bank will be brought to life through the contributions of various forests as we continue to produce this material makes my heart race with excitement.

Final product photos: Kenta Hasegawa

Hidakuma is currently holding a seasonally limited “custom-ordered hardwood for future construction projects 2021-2022” campaign aimed at connecting creators such as architects with the forest cycle. Participants can come to Hida and select their own whole logs to be used as lumber for crafting and product manufacturing (custom lumber can also be made to order). How about using Hida’s hardwood for your next project, and resting assured about the traceability of your materials?

For inquiries please contact here:


  • Takeya Shida

    Hidakuma Inc., Forest Producer

    Born in Tokyo in 1991. After graduating from Ryukyu University’s Faculty of Agriculture, he was assigned to the Republic of Peru as a member of JICA’s overseas cooperation volunteers. While in Peru, he engaged in environmental education at the Piura Branch of The National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP). After working as a reporter for a distribution trade newspaper and reporting on Chile’s salmon farming industry, he joined Hidakuma in June 2020 where he has been responsible for marketing and the planning and implementation of residency programs. He also is actively involved with local fishery unions. In addition, he conducts fieldwork on mountain stream fish in the Takahara River Basin, which is sourced from the Northern Alps and surrounding areas.

    Born in Tokyo in 1991. After graduating from Ryukyu University’s Faculty of Agriculture, he was assigned to the Republic of Peru as a member of JICA’s overseas cooperation volunteers. While in Peru, he engaged in environmental education at the Piura Branch of The National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP). After working as a reporter for a distribution trade newspaper and reporting on Chile’s salmon farming industry, he joined Hidakuma in June 2020 where he has been responsible for marketing and the planning and implementation of residency programs. He also is actively involved with local fishery unions. In addition, he conducts fieldwork on mountain stream fish in the Takahara River Basin, which is sourced from the Northern Alps and surrounding areas.

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