Summer Studio: Understated Wood Furniture by Architect-Turned-Woodworker Jack Sasaki

At an age when most people are entering their chosen profession or considering retirement, Jack Sasaki, an architect by training, has chosen to quit his job at the company he had worked for for three decades. – and start over in a new area. “At 55, I had the opportunity to start a business where I can spend every day practicing what I really love: designing and manufacturing products. The name of my company, Summer Studio, expresses my state of mind. I feel like I’m in the summer of my life! ” he tells us.

Summer Studio is his southern California wood furniture and lighting company. As founder and creative director, Jack designs each piece. (In addition to an MBA and Masters in Architecture, he is also a qualified carpenter.) “We manufacture every product in our workshop in Los Angeles, which allows a high level of quality control and product customization.” , he said.

The pieces all have a refined simplicity and as such recall the work of George Nakashima, one of Jack’s heroes. “I am moved by the life story of Nakashima, who was once in a Japanese internment camp during World War II and started his furniture making workshop relatively later in his life in order to secure the independence from his family, ”says Jack, who also counts Japanese architect Tadao Ando as a source of inspiration. “History made me believe in the personal power to make my way in my life through design and craftsmanship.”

Below are some of our favorite pieces from his workshop.

Photography courtesy of Summer Studio.

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Above: “When I first started designing furniture, I had to learn that architecture and product design are fundamentally different fields,” says Jack. “My first pieces were square and less attractive. I had to consciously change my mindset to make products with “charm” in an understated way, which was such a difficult task! Pictured is her Crane floor lamp ($ 850) in solid white oak (also available in black walnut); and Alpine Stool ($ 480), available in White Oak, Black Walnut and Black Ash.

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