The depth of wood
Takafumi Mochizuki, the Zouganista of Oltrarno for 12 years
Why did you decide to leave Japan and come to Florence?
I was happy with my life in Tokyo, but I felt drawn to Italy and its crafts. I chose Florence for its history and beauty, and to learn wood inlaying, an unknown art in Japan.
Where does the name Zouganista come from?
It’s a kind of Italianization of the term “zougan”, which means “inlay” in Japanese. So it literally means “inlay artist”. A semantic fusion that stands for the cultural, stylistic and artistic fusion I try to achieve in my works through references to both Japanese culture and the Florentine Renaissance.
What excites you most about this craft?
I love workshop life and every single stage of the work, but if I have to choose one, I’d say burning, an ancient Florentine technique that was used to give depth.
What type of wood do you prefer working with?
Inlays are play of contrasting colours, light and woodgrains. Every type of wood, if juxtaposed with another, is literally transformed…
What are your favourite subjects?
In my designs I try to enhance the perspective and depth …. and I must say that in Florence, with its historic palazzos, monuments and breathtaking views, I am spoilt for choice.
What special place do you go to when you need inspiration?
Often to Fiesole, so I can see my Florence from above in all its beauty.