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Smoke Signature uses the ancient Japanese art of shou sugi ban

Nestled in the heart of Esplanade Mall is Smoke Signature, the newly-opened flagship store of the Smoke brand by Shou Sugi Ban Gallery. The space boasts an expansive showfloor of recycled wood furniture, as well as a café furnished with their signature pieces.

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Here, you’ll find an extensive range of hardwood furniture that has been charred by hand in the ancient Japanese art of shou sugi ban, a wood treatment dating back to the 1900s and traditionally used on home exteriors. This method involves carefully charring and oiling the wood, rendering it both fireproof and waterproof, with the added bonus of preventing termite infestations.

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The founder, Marcus Wang, does each piece personally. “Shou sugi ban brings out the beautiful details of the wood and makes it very unique. No two pieces are the same,” he says. He has been practicing the art for eight years.

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The silhouette of the furniture is minimalist and organic, with allusions to local culture. “I was inspired by some aspects of local life, like the aluminium bucket that we used last time to get water in the kampong,” Marcus says. This resulted in creations like the Zen Oly Organic stool, which has a backrest shaped like the bucket handle. For customers who like the charred look but prefer to have it applied sparingly, the store has the mid-century-styled Orter collection, featuring pieces with charred accents that lend texture and character.

It’s not all just furniture — the art of shou sugi ban is also applied to paneling and art pieces, as well as their custom-made barn doors. Marcus is confident that the demand for the art is rising as more homeowners appreciate the uniqueness of the hand-charred detailing. “Charred is the new black,” he says.

Visit Smoke Signature at www.smoke.sg, or at #02-29, Esplanade Mall.