A desk, chair, and lamp set

Inspired by Japanese craft, natural materials, and design philosophy; made purely of locally-sourced ash wood.

The Japanese phrase "komorebi" translates to sunlight streaming through the trees; a similar way to how light peaks through the slatted wood in this set.

My set captures this mood. The feeling of strong warm sunlight striping the forest floor through the tall trees, or processed wooden slats in this case. A mood that is new, refreshing and comforting to those people working from home.

6 weeks, Fall 2020 (design)
6 weeks, Spring 2021 (build)

Personal project


Komorebi is a desk, chair, and lamp set which takes inspiration from Japanese craftsmanship and design philosophy. Constructed purely of locally-sourced ash wood puts an emphasis on material and craft.

The forms of Komorebi draw inspiration from traditional Japanese temples and architecture from the Gifu region.

The name Komorebi translates to sunlight streaming through trees. A similar way to how light peaks through the slatted wood in my designed set.


Japanese Inspiration

This collection draws inspiration from the traditional architecture and woodworking native to the Hida-Takayama region, an area heavily influenced by the cultures of Kyoto and Tokyo in the Edo period (1603-1868). A significant time of peace and prosperity in Japan, it prompted a great surge in artistic, cultural and social development.

Project brief

A desk, chair, and lamp

Design a set consisting of a desk, chair, and lamp for professionals working “off-site” in a home or apartment environment.

This set is to realize a product line through elegant and classic design in order to remain relevant in todays market.

The set should be strong, unique, beautiful, great quality, recognizable, and simple.

User research

Emma Rodriguez (23) - Law office assistant/Medical examiner intern

" I want to have cute lighting! They make me comfortable, and when I'm comfortable I focus so much better."

Emma's wishlist:

  • Better lighting for cozier atmosphere
  • An office space to work from
  • A bigger chair
Amy Scott (53) - Elementary School Teacher

" It sucks being on the screen all day. I like to get comfortable, that way I enjoy my space."

Amy's wishlist:

  • Storage space
  • Standing desk with bigger work area
  • Comfier lighting
Rex Miller (24) - Student and Part-time Busser

" I would love a big desk. All neat and organized so I can keep track of work. Oh and a bonsai tree to prune!"

Rex's wishlist:

  • A little lamp for late work nights
  • Organized space on top of desk
  • Plants to add life!
Anne Sullivan (22) - Student and Gelato Server

" Before I start working or go to class, I clean my space so there are no distractions! "

Anne's wishlist:

  • A place to keep my pens
  • Place to put all my books and papers
  • An organization system to work off of

Research Insights

Staying organized is key.
Keeping a focused mind is a challenge at home.
The feeling of a space reflects the work done there.

Concept ideation

With insights in mind, a wide variety of concepts were sketched out. Looking at ideas from gaming/streaming stations, all the way to Zen garden-inspired tabletops.

Scale model ideation

With a direction in mind, the next step was to bring the idea to a physical space. 1/8 scale paper models helped give proportional relations and brought the concepts into the real world.

Two initial directions

A majority of the ideation phase was spent looking at two unique concepts. Pairing them against each other allowed for deeper feedback and merit analysis.

Zen garden-inspired

Inspired by Japanese architecture and woodworking.

Origami folding

A customizable workspace to adapt with workflow.

A new inspiration

After working through multiple scale models, I re-centered my concepts by studying Japanese design philosophy. I found new inspiration and designed a new set.

My inspiration came from a video, "kawaue residence"; displaying a 175-year old village home in the Gifu region.

Crossing woodworking

Slatted wood

Strong forms

Comfortable lighting

CAD iterations

Following the new direction, CAD helped to understand what design problems needed to be solved. Exploring all possibilities of surface pattern, leg design, and chair concepts.

1/4 scale models

The chair and table were both simplified to accentuate the slatted wood. Japanese design puts emphasis on material, which was my reason for displaying the slatted wood as a primary read in the set.

Full-scale models

After refining the design dimensions, a full scale model was made to dial in the proportions and view the piece with dimensional accuracy.



A set created with Japanese design philosophy in mind. Craft, material, and culture. A contemporary take on traditional processes to create a strong, unique, beautiful, great quality, recognizable, and simple set of furniture.

Final dimensions, design decisions, and materials were decided. Final renderings were made to view the set in a full environment with accurate materials.

Full-scale chair

Tasked with creating a piece of the set. The chair contains joinery and manufacturing processes that are used in the other parts of the set. I wanted to explore these processes so I decided to make this piece.

Finding the right material

Research and inspiration led me to Ash wood: Origins from Japan. A wood that boasts a powerful grain. Strong, sturdy, and clean processing.

Construction process

Over two months in the spring of 2021 I spent time constructing the chair. This is my documentation of the process during that time.

Komorebi chair

The final model of the chair follows the inspiration from Japanese craft and material. Purely constructed of locally-sourced ash wood emphasizes the natural beauty of the material.