From the same tree— Hiroshima


The winds of fortune had been both kind and cruel to family-run business Maruni Wood Industry over the years. Then one member of the clan reluctantly went back to his roots – only to discover he was the natural saviour of the company.

Jasper Morrison, Kazuyo Sejima, Masayuki Kurokawa, Naoto Fukasawa, Ryue Nishizawa, Showa Bentwood Factory, Takeo Yamanaka

Takeshi Yamanaka already knew at the age of six that he would one day be running Maruni Wood Industry, the Hiroshima furniture company founded by his great uncle, Takeo. Takeshi’s father, uncle and grandfather all served as company president and in more than 80 years of business Maruni has only ever had one president, briefly, who wasn’t a Yamanaka. Takeshi tried to resist by going away to university, moving to the States and working as a banker in Tokyo, but nine years ago he bowed to the inevitable and came home just as the business was exper…

Monocle’s five favourites

Takeo Yamanaka founds Showa Bentwood Factory

Becomes Maruni Mokko

Production switches to wooden tails and propellers for airplanes

Maruni resumes furniture production, making desks and chairs for the homes of Hiroshima’s occupation force

Company begins exporting

Introduces bunkbeds

Begins production of bestselling Versailles series – demand for western-style furniture grows

Launch of nextmaruni – 12 chairs by 12 designers

Launch of Hiroshima series of tables and chairs in beech and oak by Naoto Fukasawa

Takeshi Yamanaka becomes president

Headquarters and factory merged on one site in Yuki

Collaborates with Tokyo design firm Nendo on the Cord Chair, which, with its spindly 15mm legs, is a testament to Maruni craftsmanship

Continues to release new pieces and new fabrics for the popular Hiroshima series

  • Ligne Roset, France

    Antoine Roset opened a wood-processing factory in the French town of Montagnieu in 1860, specialising in umbrellas, walking sticks and chair frames. Antoine’s grandson Jean moved the company into the contract and domestic furniture markets in the middle of the last century and his sons Pierre and Michel joined in the 1970s. Today they have 679 stockists worldwide and a fifth generation of the Roset family, Antoine and Olivier, have recently joined.

  • Cherner Chair Company, USA

    Norman Cherner was a pioneer of the American mid-century modern movement. With the rights to their father’s designs, brothers Benjamin and Thomas Cherner formed the Cherner Chair Company in 1999 to keep his legacy alive, adding to the collection with their own designs.

  • Arco, The Netherlands

    In 1904 Wouter van Ast opened a shop in Winterswijk selling books, prints and handmade frames. In the 1940s the company moved into small furniture and today Arco is one of the biggest Dutch furniture manufacturers, with Willem van Ast (Wouter’s grandson) at the helm. Willem’s son Jorre, an RCA graduate, has recently joined the company.


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