Bodo Sperlein

Craft Story: Wood

StudioBodo Sperlein

Invariably designing with carefully selected materials is at the forefront of our design ethos. Our Contour furniture and TANE silver and wood collection beautifully illustrates the individual grain qualities of Oak and Black Walnut woods.

Inspired by the 18th century Art Nouveau movement whereby Japanese art was prized as a major influence for its simplicity and clean lines, the Contour furniture advocates age-old materials using British fumed oak and American black walnut wood. 

Acclaimed for its exceedingly strong and durable qualities, Oak is a traditional hard wood generally associated with geometric forms. The Contour collection challenges this perception by demonstrating a unique combination of traditional methods of making and modern day technology. By constructing individual wood components, the Contour collection presents an unexpected fluidity to a time-honoured material. 

Prized for its natural resistance to insects and decay, Black Walnut’s unique colour and grain patterns are an exceptional material to design with. It’s unique qualities are strikingly contrasted by the highly reflective properties of silver in our TANE collection.  


Did you know An Oak tree can only produce acorns once it has reached 40 years old.

The Oak wood is fumed with ammonia which reacts with the tannin in the Oak, darkening the appearance and revealing the unique pattern of the wood. 

The Contour collection is also available in Black Walnut and Douglas Fir with a Shou-Sugi-Ban finish. 

Shou-Sugi-Ban is the Japanese art of burning timber, literally translating to “burnt cedar board”. Also known as Yakisugi, this particular method of charring has been popular with Japanese carpenters for centuries and has recently gained a resurge in popularity particularly in the west with designers, carpenters and architects.

Originally Japanese cedar wood was used for Shou-Sugi-Ban finishes, today it’s more common for Western Red Cedar and Southern Cypress to be used.  

By burning the surface, a carbon layer is produced that is protective from fire, rot and pests. With an expected life span of 80 years it’s little surprise that Shou-Sugi-Ban is an acclaimed method of cladding for buildings all over the world.

There’s a number of videos on the internet demonstrating the method and results of Shou-Sugi-Ban, here’s a favourite of ours.

Contour Andreas Murkudis

For more information about our contour range and for any bespoke enquiries please contact