If the design and the concept are indeed inspired by foreign cultures, the manufacturer is not African but Japanese. In fact, the design fits quite well in Scandinavian designs, for example. This original and sensitive product comes from T-Lab, based in Hyogo Prefecture, Kansai region, 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 "from their hand to your hand".
In addition to the artistic and technical aspect necessary for any artisanal product, T-Lab gives a whole philosophical and social meaning to its creations. Each piece is handmade, sculpted, sanded and painted by hand, which takes an enormous amount of time.
But it's part of their philosophy: T-Lab's slogan (in Japanese) is not easy to translate literally, but it essentially means "Slowness, in a form", or "To shape slowness". It gives the name "polepole" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?
What makes wooden tlab animals so special?
The concept is pushed even further: if each animal is handmade, therefore unique, they are also almost identical. Take the form, 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 no doubt the result of the time the craftsmen take to carry out each step of this meticulous work, but even over time, only a highly skilled craftsman can achieve such precision, regularity and quality in his craft.
This is why the artisans of 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, 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, even though it is a fine collection of artistic and meaningful craftsmanship, the philosophy behind it would probably not be complete if it did not have 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 creations. By doing so, they can guarantee the quality of the wood they use, and because the variety of tree they use grows faster than most, it helps decarbonize the air.