Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: January 3, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

BC Premier on log exports, Interior ‘super mills’ and the 2017 forest fire season

The Tree Frog Forestry News
January 3, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Premier John Horgan sat down with Tom Fletcher to talk about the BC government’s plans to tackle log exports, Interior ‘super mills’ and the impact of the 2017 forest fire season. On the latter topic, the Tyee has a feature story on how a “century of policy errors have set the stage for more deadly megafires“.

Other Forestry headlines include: why the recent extreme cold snap is unlikely to impact Alberta’s mountain pine beetle; why the plan to close Ontario’s Angus seed plant is short-sighted; and why thinning may be okay in some US spotted owl habitat.

In other news, the US Commerce Department lowered its softwood duty marginally; while US duties on Canadian newsprint makers could be worse than softwood.

Finally, three mass timber stories in The Architect’s Newspaper: lessons learned in 2017, how architects can rethink ‘basic services’ and Michael Green’s musings about the future of design.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

‘Is Silviculture a true Team Sport?’ Exploring New Information, Collaboration and Professionalism

Coastal Silviculture Committee
January 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Can we expect better silvicultural outcomes through collaboration? Our February 28, Winter Workshop at the Vancouver Island University will tackle this challenging silviculture issue like a “team player” – by exploring new information and ideas about professional collaborative efforts to improve the silvicultural scorecard. In any trial or research exploration, the key is defining the problem. Many questions need to be asked – collaboration and communication are vital. The CSC Winter Workshop will try to provide answers. The “players’ roster” for the CSC Winter Workshop includes a diverse, professional team of presenters who will discuss the challenges and successes of silvicultural trialling, research, and integrated planning.

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John Horgan on forests and fires

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
January 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Black Press legislative columnist Tom Fletcher sat down with Premier John Horgan to talk about his plans for 2018. Here are excerpts. Video of the interview is below, with a transcript of the premier’s comments on action need in the forest industry after the 2017 forest fire season. …”I appointed George Abbott, a former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister, member for Shuswap, so he knows the Interior, and Maureen Chapman, an indigenous leader from the Sto:lo Nation, to work together to provide us with some answers on not just what happened. We’ve had successive reports that have said we need to address the interface between the forests and communities and getting fuel off the forest floor is critical to managing fires.”

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Fungus threatens “giant, majestic” oak trees, as disease spreads in Mich.

CBC News
January 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Windsor’s majestic oak trees could be at risk of a spreading fungus that has already killed dozens across the border. Oak wilt appeared on Belle Isle in Detroit two years ago, and has killed more than 100 trees there already.  Windsor’s manager of forestry and natural areas, Paul Giroux, has been to the Michigan state park to check out the damage. “It was a little bit overwhelming, especially when you look over your shoulder and you see Windsor only a stone’s throw away,” he said. “There’s nothing better than actually going into the woodlot and to see the trees in decline yourself to really gain an appreciation for what a vascular wilt disease can do to giant, majestic trees.”

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Alberta’s mountain pine beetles likely survived recent extreme cold snap, experts say

By Andrea Ross
CBC News
January 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The recent extreme cold snap likely did nothing to diminish Alberta’s destructive mountain pine beetle populations, experts say. …Extended periods of temperatures like these can kill mountain pine beetles, if it happens at the right time. But at this point in the winter, it won’t do much. The beetles are just larvae and they’re perfectly prepared to ride out wicked weather. “At the moment, the mountain pine beetle is mostly going to be at its most tolerant stage in terms of cold. This is because as the winter begins, as it progresses, the beetles gradually produce antifreeze in their blood,” said Allan Carroll, a forestry professor at the University of British Columbia who studies Alberta’s management of mountain pine beetles.

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Plan to close Angus seed plant called short-sighted

By Brad Pritchard
Simcoe
December 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Area residents were caught off guard when the province announced its intentions to shutter the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in Angus come September of 2018. The decision was made public in late August, after employees at the historic facility on King Street were told about the impending closure. The province said the plant, which employs six people and has operated on the site since 1923, needs to be closed in order to move toward a “more efficient and modern native seed genetic archive.” But industry experts called the move premature and short-sighted. …In an open letter, Barb Boysen, general manager of the Forest Gene Conservation Association (FGCA), said the closure could be a “game ender.”

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Clearcutting forests adds much fuel to climate-change fire

By Peter Ritchie, Healthy Forest Coalition
The Chronicle Herald
December 29, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Regarding the Gary Saunders opinion piece in the Dec. 15 business section, suggesting that we should all “stop mourning yesterday’s forests,” I’d like to offer a different perspective on the perils of clear-cutting — a quick math lesson, if you will. (Don’t worry, your average junior high student could easily handle these calculations.) There are those far better equipped than I to point out the considerable flaws in Mr. Saunders’ ham-handed logic when it comes to defending the practice of clearcutting. For my part, I’d like to draw particular attention to the following facts, as they help define the intimate link between clearcutting and CO2 sequestration in Nova Scotia.  ….Therefore, on average, for every year since just 1990, about two million tonnes of sequestered CO2 has been removed from Nova Scotia’s forests, overwhelmingly by means of clearcutting.

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County wrongly blocks spray ban initiative

By Michelle Holman, member of Community Rights Lane County
The Register-Guard
January 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Michelle Holman

At the Dec. 19 meeting of the Lane County Board of Commissioners, people filled Harris Hall to protest County Counsel Steven Dingle’s decision to take the Freedom from Aerial Herbicide Alliance charter amendment off the May 2018 ballot. This initiative had already been given the green light after satisfying the “single subject” rule. Not only has Dingle created a new obstacle for the petitioners, he won’t explain why the measure doesn’t comply with the “separate vote” rule. …This and other hurdles are eroding the people’s lawmaking power, making it almost impossible to address any serious policy issues facing the public. The initiative system is how “we the people” legislate. When our representatives are deaf to our pleas, we turn to the initiative system for action. 

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Trump called for a ‘truly representative process’ for managing public land. One already exists in Idaho

By Keith Schneider
Los Angeles Times
December 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

President Trump flew to Salt Lake City this month to remove 2 million acres from two national monuments in Utah, and to rebuke “distant bureaucrats” for acting to safeguard the West’s public domain without adequately consulting neighboring communities. …Though the president’s critics questioned the administration’s fealty to more inclusion in managing the West’s natural bounty, one place that the president and his aides could look for a model of a “truly representative process” is how former foes have cooperated to manage millions of acres of national forest land in Idaho. “We do things a little different here,” said Rick Johnson, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, Idaho’s largest state-based environmental group. “In north Idaho, the timber industry is doing well. They are putting logs in those mills. They need us to get stuff done and we need them.”

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Smith takes close look at Chetco fire

By Jane Stebbins
Curry Coastal Pilot
January 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

David Brock Smith

State Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, said he is eager to tackle the problems created by the Chetco Bar Fire last summer in the upcoming legislative session, along with promoting cross-laminated timber, economic development and addressing the opioid crisis.  Smith’s biggest concern is how the U.S. Forest Service addresses the effects of the 191,125-acre Chetco Bar wildfire. Particularly, he said, in how it damaged local economies and how national forest policies, in the minds of many, resulted in mega-fires far worse than those of decades past.  Smith sits on the governor’s Chetco Bar Fire Recovery Council, formed to analyze the fire’s repercussions and determine the best ways to prevent wildfire in the future.

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Good news for spotted owls – and thinning projects

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
January 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Mexican spotted owls apparently love the canyons and pockets of big old trees on the watershed of the C.C. Cragin Reservoir – Payson’s crucial future water supply. The dozens of potential nesting territories for these small, deep-forest-loving owls has complicated and slowed the environmental analysis for a thinning project intended to prevent a forest-destroying wildfire on the 50,000-acre watershed. However, a series of recent studies suggest owl experts may have over-estimated the need of the owls for thickets of trees. Moreover, any way you figure it – a high intensity fire on the watershed will do far more damage than any combination of thinning and controlled burning, according to eye-opening new surveys of wildfire impacts on spotted owls.

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Sleepwalking into a Firetrap

By Crawford Kilian
The Tyee
January 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

By now, every municipal and regional government in North America should be compiling a large library of books and articles on wildfires — especially in communities, like most in B.C., with a substantial “wildland-urban interface.” That’s where forests and housing come in contact with one another, and where a new kind of wildfire has evolved — explosive, violent, and capable of covering thousands of hectares before it can be controlled. Michael Kodas calls them “megafires,” and his book shows that such fires are essentially our own damn fault. Kodas focuses on a handful of fires, mostly in Colorado and Arizona between 2012 and 2013. The 2013 Yarnell Hill megafire, just outside Prescott, Arizona, is the core of the book.

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Professional forester: Management is ‘art, science’

Letter by Laurie Burgess
Brown County Democrat
January 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Regarding timber harvests on state forests: It is easy to criticize something you don’t understand. And if you are not open to understanding, you won’t learn. Basically, the logic used by many people is: If it looks bad, it is bad. And that logic has also been stretched to imply: If it looks bad, it can’t be scientifically based. …As a professional forester, I know the objectives of my decisions — many of which will not become evident for many years. Too bad we can’t approach subjects with an inquisitive eye instead of a skeptical and negative eye. …And if “tree tops left to rot” is an offense (as written in a recent letter), I believe salamanders would beg to differ.

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Other ways of looking at state forest harvest

Letter by Tommy Gunn, Brown County resident and forester
Brown County Democrat
January 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Throughout the excitement of the back and forth over the timber sale on Yellowwood State Forest I’m afraid we may have looked over one major thing: common sense. So, for the sake of fun, let’s list a few common sense things when it comes to forests and forest management. Trees are made of wood, and we make many great products from wood — things like houses, wooden furniture, and best of all, toiletries we use every day. In the woods, if you cut a tree down, another will grow in its spot. The best way to prevent that from happening is to put a building or pond where the tree used to be. Living next to a dentist’s office doesn’t make you a dentist. Same goes for the forest and being a forest professional.

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Company & Business News

Commerce amends duty rates for Canadian softwood lumber

By Brian Bradley
American Shipper
January 2, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

The U.S. Commerce Department is amending countervailing (CV) and antidumping duty (AD) orders on certain softwood lumber products from Canada, effective Jan. 3, the department said in a statement. West Fraser Mills on Nov. 9, “submitted a timely, properly filed allegation” that Commerce made ministerial errors in its final CV duty determination on softwood from Canada, Commerce said. The department found merit in the claim, and as such, is decreasing West Fraser’s duty rate from 18.19 percent ad valorem to 17.99 percent ad valorem. Because the “all others” CV rate is based partly on West Fraser’s ad valorem subsidy rate, Commerce is decreasing the “all others” CV duty rate to 14.19 percent ad valorem. All other CV duty rates will remain unchanged from Commerce’s November final CV determination.

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Canadian newsprint makers fear US about to slap duties on its exports

By Mia Rabson
Canadian Press in The Toronto Star
January 2, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

The ongoing softwood dispute with the United States may not be hurting Canada much yet, but the industry is bracing for a new trade battle with the U.S. that could take a bite out of a part of the sector that is already facing sharp declines. Derek Nighbor, chief executive of the Forest Products Association of Canada, says heading into the new year, the industry is waiting for the U.S. Department of Commerce to decide if it believes Canada is dumping newsprint into the U.S. at below market value. “This is not something that people are talking about, but in our sector we are concerned this could be worse than softwood,” said Nighbor. The U.S. government has been investigating Canada’s newsprint industry since the end of August, after Washington-based North Pacific Paper Co., complained Canada was dumping newsprint into the U.S. market and unfairly subsidizing its industry at home.

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Fines against Lakeland upheld

By Mark Nielsen
Prince George Citizen
January 2, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

A WorkSafeBC review officer has upheld a decision to impose nearly $725,000 in fines against Lakeland Mills over the April 2012 explosion and fire that killed two workers and destroyed the sawmill. Glenn Roche, 46, and Alan Little, 43, died from injuries suffered in the catastrophe and more than 20 workers were injured, the majority of them seriously. WorkSafeBC subsequently ordered Lakeland to pay a claims cost levy of $626,663.28 and an administrative penalty of $97,500, adding up to $724,163.28 in total. Lakeland appealed the levies but in a decision reached Dec.19, review officer Melina Lorenz denied its request to rescind or reduce the amounts. On the claims cost levy, Lorenz noted that the overall claims cost from the incident added up to more than $6 million. Moreover, 16 of the claims from the explosion met WorkSafeBC’s  definition of serious injury or death.

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Millar Western Forest Products acquires Spruceland Millworks for undisclosed sum

Canadian Press in the Chronicle Herald
January 2, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON — Millar Western Forest Products Ltd. has bought Spruceland Millworks Inc., including its manufacturing operations in Acheson, Alta., and its woodlands assets. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available. Spruceland is expected to operate as a division of Millar Western under its existing management team and brand. It has more than 100 employees and a 12,000-square metre manufacturing facility. Millar Western says the deal will allow it to integrate its existing sawmill operations with Spruceland’s value-added manufacturing capabilities.

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‘No layoffs planned’: Staff back at work after massive fire at Kenora Forest Products

CBC News
January 3, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Officials at the Kenora Forest Products say staff are back at work after a massive fire roared through two kilns this past weekend. About 20 firefighters and volunteers were called to the lumber company just after midnight on Saturday to find two drying kilns engulfed in flames. …On Tuesday mill manager Glen Hansson said all employees are at work this week as they dry lumber with one kiln and try to determine what to do with the excess wood. He said they will look into finding different business strategies to selling lumber in a green state as opposed to a kiln dried state. “So we’ll look at that first and then we’ll look at [if] there’s air drying options for our lumber and things like that,” Hansson said. 

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Partners to buy South Carolina wood pellet plant, build Mississippi port

Associated Press in Idaho Statesman
January 2, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States

A company that makes wood pellets and sells them to power plants overseas says it’s forming a new joint venture with an insurance company to buy a plant in South Carolina and build a port in Mississippi. Enviva Holdings of Bethesda, Maryland, on Tuesday announced the deal with the John Hancock Life Insurance Co. The joint venture will buy a wood pellet plant in Greenwood, South Carolina from Navigator Co. SA, a Portuguese paper company. Terms weren’t disclosed. Navigator opened the plant in 2016, and Enviva says it will increase production.

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What happens when cities like Seattle detach from the hinterland

By Jon Talton
The Seattle Times
January 2, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

The New York Times recently published a think piece about how a small number of American global cities, including Seattle, have disconnected from their former inland connections, contributing to the sharp divide in fortunes between the two. About San Francisco it states, “Douglas fir trees logged in the Pacific Northwest were turned into lumber schooners here. …That’s mostly gone now. It offers this hypothesis from Temple Professor Ram Mudambi: “The more globally connected a city, the more prosperous it is. And as such cities gain global ties, they may be shedding local ones to the ‘hinterland’ communities that have lost their roles in the modern economy or lost their jobs to other countries.”While this offers a tempting theory… it has some holes.For example, the parts of Washington that aren’t completely dragged down by the legacy timber industry are doing fairly well.

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LBM Journal Names Three Winners in 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Program

By LBM Journal
PR Newswire
January 2, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

LAKEVILLE, Minn.—LBM Journal, the leading magazine for lumberyards and building material dealers in the nation, has announced three winners in their annual Entrepreneur of the Year Program for 2018. Stine Lumber, headquartered in Sulphur, La., has received the award in the category of “Sales Over $50 Million.” Wehrung’s Lumber & Home Center, headquartered in Ottsville, Pa., is the winner in the category of “Sales of $10 Million to $50 Million.” And, Limeberry Lumber & Home Center, headquartered in Corydon, Ind., has received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2018 in the category of “Sales of Under $10 Million.”

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Finland increases exports to Asia by 59%

EUWID
January 3, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

 Finnish exports of softwood lumber and planed lumber increased by 15% in the third quarter vis à vis last year’s comparative quarter to 2.07m m³. According to the Finnish customs authority, deliveries to customers in Europe rose by 9% to 812,148m³. At 646,006m³, exports to East Asia were 59% above the figure of the previous year. Exports to the Near and Middle East increased by 5% to 224,091m³. Deliveries to North Africa, in contrast, at 370,533m³ fell short of the preceding year’s figure by 12%.  Classified according to ranges, in the third quarter Finnish suppliers exported 1.92m m³ rough-sawn softwood lumber, constituting a value of €359.0m.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

A fossil fuel technology that doesn’t pollute

By Pam Frost Gorder
The Ohio State University News
January 2, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Liang-Shih Fan

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Engineers at The Ohio State University are developing technologies that have the potential to economically convert fossil fuels and biomass into useful products including electricity without emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. In the first of two papers published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, the engineers report that they’ve devised a process that transforms shale gas into products such as methanol and gasoline—all while consuming carbon dioxide. This process can also be applied to coal and biomass to produce useful products. …The technology, known as chemical looping, uses metal oxide particles in high-pressure reactors to “burn” fossil fuels and biomass without the presence of oxygen in the air. The metal oxide provides the oxygen for the reaction.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Our studio visit with Michael Green Architecture

By Antonio Pacheco
The Architect’s Newspaper
January 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Michael Green

Michael Green Architecture (MGA) is a leader in the design of mass timber structures. The firm … has been a pioneer in mass timber construction since the early days of glulam. Now, as mass timber technologies proliferate and gain wider acceptance, MGA is poised to make the next great leap in mass timber construction: full-fledged mass timber automation and prefabrication. “All of our projects are made from wood,” Michael Green explained … adding that 95 percent of the firm’s work is specifically built using mass timber. The approach is due mostly to preference, as Green is a trained millworker who began his career decades ago working for renowned architect César Pelli designing “big buildings in steel and concrete around the world.” Those whirlwind experiences left the architect starved for ways to reengage with natural materials and craft, so after returning to his native Canada, Green opened his own wood-focused office.

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How mass timber can help architects rethink “basic services”

By Phil Bernstein
The Architect’s Newspaper
January 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

The topic this week in my practice class is “Scope of Services,” where we examine the architect’s relationship to the client’s work, to wit: What, exactly, does she have to do to deliver the project? …Nowhere is this more apparent than in the latest thinking about the use of mass timber as a fundamental building material for cities, work pioneered by my faculty colleague Alan Organschi of Gray Organschi Architecture. Alan argues persuasively that there is an opportunity to rethink the systems of carbon, energy, material production, design, and construction by the thoughtful and systematic use of engineered lumber—a renewable resource—in urban construction, where the forest is not just another source of raw material but also a place to store carbon. 

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Portland’s Celebrated Wooden Tower Comes With Another Big Price Tag for Low-Income Housing

By Rachel Monahan
Willamette Week
January 3, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced Nov. 7 he wants to use public housing dollars to build an 11-story building with an innovative design. The building would be the nation’s tallest made of wood and serve as a public relations boon for the timber industry, but it’s also attracting critics because it would be far more expensive to build than a traditional concrete and steel structure. …The Housing Bureau defends the project for a number of reasons: the advantages of getting units built quickly, the prime location of the project at Northwest 10th Avenue and Glisan Street, and the dividends of the new CLT technology. “In addition to the many known benefits of pioneering cross-laminated timber locally,” says Housing Bureau spokeswoman Martha Calhoon, “this new technology has the potential to innovate faster, more efficient affordable housing development in the future.”

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Learning from the 2017 global timber tower audit

By Matthew Messner
The Architect’s Newspaper
January 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Daniel Safarik, editor for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat re: “Tall Timber: A Global Audit.” The audit documented proposed, under-construction, and built tall buildings that use mass timber as their primary structural materials. …The first well-publicized tall timber building was Stadthaus in London, which was completed in 2009. We noticed what seemed like a spike in announcements of timber tall buildings being proposed and constructed about four years ago [2013], and everything that has happened since has re­affirmed this impression. When we saw the buy-in from the U.S. government represent­ed by the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition, in October 2014, that confirmed the impression that this really had momentum behind it, so we committed to tracking the two resultant projects through to comple­tion.

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Yoh Komiyama uses Japanese hardwood to create minimalist climbing toy for cats

By Natashah Hitti
Dezeen
January 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

This multi-storey cat tree by Yoh Komiyama was inspired by the modernist architecture movement and features a series of wooden dowels anchored by a marble base. The Neko Cat Tree was created by Japanese designer Yoh Komiyama for manufacturer Rinn and is designed to offer a private space for cats, while also acting as a decorative object for inside the home. The three-tiered tree is comprised of multiple rods of Japanese hardwood, sourced from the country’s Hida region. …Inspired by the aesthetic of architectural modernism, Komiyama chose to use minimal materials – opting for a warm-coloured wood that clashes with the cool white marble. According to Rinn, this mixture of marble and natural wood expresses a “cultural fusion between the wooden materials of the East, and the stone materials of the West.”

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