Project Name: Shou Sugi Ban

Location: UK

Date Completed: January 2017

Company Name: Havwoods

Designer: Havwoods

Pioneering wood surface specialist, Havwoods International is pleased to introduce its latest innovative cladding collection, Shou Sugi Ban. Re-discovering the age-old Japanese art of Shou Sugi Ban, Havwoods has sympathetically translated this ancient technique of burning and charring wood into its new interior cladding range, creating a distinctive and design-led wall covering that is guaranteed to make an impact in any interior or exterior space.

Translated as ”the burning of Japanese cypress”, Shou Sugi Ban is traditionally used in Japan as an external siding material, yet this ancient technique is gaining new life as a unique and contemporary wood finish. The burning process is typically adopted as a weathering technique, to create a more durable and hardy surface, but this also works to emphasise the beautiful knots and grains of the wood’s natural surface, creating a material that is not only practical but aesthetically appealing too. The wood is carefully charred, misted with water, cooled, brushed to remove dust and debris, and then stained/sealed to create the unique designs. A top coat sealer is applied prior to shipping, and the charcoal barrier created through this ancient process preserves the wood, and is fire, rot and insect resistant. Available in seven distinctive wood tones, from warming mahogany and wenge hues to more vibrant accents of red, the burning process accentuates each unique characteristic of the individual Shou Sugi Ban wood planks and creates a spectrum of colour that changes when viewed from different angles and in different lights.

Centuries ago, driftwood recovered from the coastlines around Japan was highly prized for its appearance and durability, but demand was high and supply was short, so the Japanese devised an alternative weathering technique: fire. Shou Sugi Ban is Japanese for ‘burnt cedar board’ – cedar being a commonplace wood – and these charred planks became popular for residential sidings, fencing and decking. As timber fell into increasingly short supply in Japan, its usage was replaced with modern plastics and cement and Shou Sugi Ban became a ‘lost’ technique.

Recently, however, the technique has been rediscovered, but Havwoods’ interest is not in it as a preservative, it is for the wonderful way that the charring and cleansing process emphasises the grain structure and knots. Havwoods’ Shou Sugi Ban is actually produced from a Cypress pine, which is grown in the Kelford area of Pennsylvania – hence the names of each different finish, all of which are areas within the region. Havwoods also offers a version of its Shou Sugi Ban cladding for external use; a hugely popular material for contemporary buildings and eco constructions.

Established in 1975, Havwoods’ commitment to quality, expertise and service has cemented its reputation as Britain’s foremost wood flooring company, supplying architects, specifiers and individuals around the world with its superior-quality floor coverings. Concentrating almost exclusively on wood flooring, Havwoods’ collection of engineered and solid wood floors is available in an extensive range of species, finishes and plank dimensions, offering customers a selection of over one thousand different types of wood flooring to choose from. Continually researching new ideas and trend forecasts, Havwoods is renowned as a leader in its field, both technologically and aesthetically, and it is this quest for innovation that has led to the introduction of the brand’s most cutting-edge and revolutionary ranges. Havwoods understands its product, and it’s this unparalleled expertise and depth of knowledge for wood that truly sets it apart as a company. From installation, to performance and maintenance, Havwoods’ team of wood-flooring professionals is always on hand to impart its expertise, ensuring that your flooring is as durable as it is impressive.