By Lee Tan
Tokuhiko Kise and Hiromi Karatsu represent the ideal of how we would like to live, which is doing the work we love and living it in style. Co-owners of Truck Furniture, of which Tokuhiko is the designer, they have been making exquisite wood furniture for almost 20 years. Their design philosophy is simple, they make what they like and want to use. Luckily, they have very good taste and their beautiful, handcrafted furniture has gained a loyal following. Little wonder that Truck is one of Monocle magazine's favourite Japanese brands.
The shop in Osaka is located in a somnolent neighbourhood, bordering a school. The workshop lies to the back of the shop, where Tokuhiko and his employees handcraft all the furniture that you see.
The shop layout is straight out of a glossy design magazine; styling is all part of the package here. Even the windows are a Truck custom-made to maximise the amount of the light entering the space and to provide a brilliant backdrop for their wares. Tokuhiko uses plenty of natural materials like wood and leather in the furniture. Its speciality lies in the simplicity of the designs while highlighting the beauty of the materials, whether it is the wood grain or the look of a tanned leather.
The Truck catalogue is a covetable item too. With exquisite photography by Tokuhiko and Hiromi, it is more than a catalogue, but a coffee table book for furniture and photo enthusiasts to flip through at leisure while fantasising about their dream homes.
Opposite the Truck furniture shop is Bird cafe. At lunchtime, this gorgeous, sun-dappled cafe, tucked away far from Osaka's hustle and bustle, is buzzing. The space is filled with light, thanks to the large windows that run alongside two walls of the cafe. Naturally the cafe is decorated with Truck furniture, and they are indeed handsome in use. There are individual tables and a communal table to sit at and have a nice meal with coffee or wine.
Truck is more than just furniture. It is selling a dream of the graceful life, complete with a huge dash of style.
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