Ishinomaki Laboratory: Expanding the World of DIY

What started in 2011 as a public workshop initiative to provide the local community in Ishinomaki, Japan with simple, DIY furniture and crafting skills in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake has since turned into a global laboratory for creative design.

“While volunteering in post-disaster Ishinomaki, I came across a local store owner who was repairing his shop himself with DIY methods. When I saw that, I became inspired and felt that a public workshop space in the town might be helpful and aid recovery efforts,” says Keiji Ashizawa, founder of Ishinomaki Laboratory.


Partnering with local makers and materials under their Made in Local initiative, Ishinomaki Laboratory pushes the boundaries of do-it-yourself to empower communities around the world through design. Here, the brand’s products and legacy are put into a local context. Applying home-grown skills and materials from select international makers, Made in Local creates products that think outside of the box while building strong, local relationships.


“In the beginning, volunteers in the community who endeavored to start their own businesses influenced and spurred each other on – and definitely inspired our origins with their creative energy. I believe that Ishinomaki Laboratory is now more than just a brand which originated in a disaster-stricken area: it has become a model for small, local brands and ventures contributing to regional revitalisation. And now, through the Made in Local initiative, we can share with our partners around the world the significance, the uniqueness and even the fun of Made in Local, as well as the various lessons that can be drawn from our story,” Ashizawa adds.


Joining forces with Audo to produce products made in Denmark from resident materials and crafting skills, the Japanese label is a driving force in shaping the future of empowering design. Expanding the world of DIY and its potential, simple, functional and striking products are made using available machinery and resources, underpinning the original spirit of do-it-yourself. As Ashizawa notes, “Ishinomaki Laboratory’s furniture is for everyone and everyday life.” 


With a common mission to connect over good design and honest materials, Audo and Ishinomaki Laboratory present the AA STOOL, designed by TORAFU ARCHITECTS and the first in a series of DIY products. Produced in Denmark from local wood, the exposed screws, dimensional lumber and handcrafted look highlight just how innovative simplicity can be. Crafted from Danish Douglas fir and named after the shape of its profile, the flat pack stool has an untreated finish, customisable to the desired expression and which will patinate beautifully over time. Each pack of two stools is offered in two sizes – medium or tall – which can be used individually or in combination to create a wider seat. 

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