While the design and concept are indeed inspired by foreign cultures, the manufacturer is not African but Japanese. In fact, the design fits quite well with Scandinavian designs, for example. This original and sensitive product comes from T-Lab, based in Hyogo Prefecture, in the Kansai region of Japan.
The minimalist, rounded and cute design of these wooden statues hides a deeper reflection than one might think. T-Lab’s motto is to “warm people’s hearts” with craftsmanship passed down “from their hand to yours”.
In addition to the artistic and technical aspect necessary for any craft product, T-Lab gives a philosophical and social meaning to its creations. Each piece is handmade, carved, sanded and painted by hand, which takes a lot of time.
But this is part of their philosophy: T-Lab’s slogan (in Japanese) is not easy to translate literally, but it essentially means “To shape slowness, into a form”, or “To shape slowness”. This gives the name “polepole” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?
What makes wooden tlab animals so special?
The concept is taken one step further: while each animal is handmade and therefore unique, they are also almost identical. Take the shape, the paint, the varnish… Everything is slightly different when you pay a lot of attention to it, but almost indistinguishable, and yet each animal has its own facial expression, emanating from a unique emotion.
This is undoubtedly the result of the time that artisans take to complete each step of this meticulous work, but even with time, only a highly skilled craftsman can achieve such precision, consistency and quality in his craft.
This is why the artisans of the T-Lab are proud of the time they devote to their creations. The philosophy of the “pole” is not only a message, it is also part of the object, part of its creative process. This sincerity gives the wooden animals of the “polepole” a whole new dimension, and their creators consider this to be the reason why they are “comforting” objects. We would gladly add “warm” to the description.
Nevertheless, although this is a beautiful collection of craftsmanship of artistic and significant quality, the philosophy behind it would probably not be complete without a concrete impact on the world.
This is why all T-Lab products are free of chemicals, from the treatment of the raw material (the wood) to the paint they use. Finally, T-Lab is committed to preserving the forests of Albizia Falcata, by replanting the trees they use for their creations. By doing so, they can guarantee the quality of the wood they use, and since the variety of trees they use grows faster than most, it contributes to the decarbonization of the air.