Torii, Torii, Torii, and one last Torii…

Time to unveil that last pair of Torii tables…


This last set in the edition of 12 pairs are in scorched and scrubbed native oak, with ripple sycamore details, they look amazing and seem the right way to end this series, for all sorts of reasons.

The numbers around Torii tables make sense to me; over 12 years we will have made an edition of 12 pairs. (I say ‘pairs’, but there is an exception to that rule, one client did commission a set of 3 – the only set of of 3!) Last year we made another 3 pairs: in pippy elm, elm and cherry. I do feel a bit sad about this being the last pair, but at the same time it feels right to limit the numbers, otherwise they won’t be special to me anymore.

The ‘Torii’ design has a strong emotional connection for me, a reminder of a very special trip to Japan in 1994 with a terminally ill brother. Japan and those memories have been a lasting influence ever since, and these tables are the most physical manifestation of that. Because of this connection I’ve included one of the pieces he wrote on that trip. My brother was an accomplished poet, writer, critic and cultural historian. He was hugely supportive of my early career so this almost feels like a collaborative piece of work, our joint reflections of our travels across Japan and its incredible culture.


they are waiting for your last words, master.
one final moment, one last effort. leave us a poem…!
lying on his right side Seishi coughs and closes
one eye. this bleak place is too full of desires
is too cold for comfort, oh release me, Enlightened One!
surrounded by the monks he was utterly alone, and
would soon be lonlier. the hut’s roof let in more rain
the most on which he lay absorbed it all, beyond belief.
clothes, bowls and hat were fading with his breath.
they were eager for a revelation (twenty years
they had waited for this). so his eye opened again
he reached out into empty space for the brush
which he moved oh so carefully on the inkstone:
and as he expired, he painted nothing at all

Donald Peter Alexander Pirie, 1956 – 1997

Torii red

This view summed up our trip, the famous Miyajima gate. We stayed at a traditional Japanese Inn on the island, then in a monastry at the top of the mountain. Japan is a complex mix of the traditional and formal, combined with the modern and uncompromising. I loved that tension – the old wooden house next door to a concrete 3 storey building, a kimono wearing woman on a bullet train and a temple precinct among the multi coloured neon signs of Tokyo.

All Torii tables in the limited edition of 12 pairs are now sold.