Trend Texture™ – The Ingenious Integrity of Carbonized Cedar

by Fred Abler

As we mature, we have little choice but to start appreciating imperfection. And in so doing, we begin to understand wabi-sabi – the Japanese aesthetic described as.. “one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. The 3i’s.

The characteristics of wabi-sabi include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and the appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

And it’s this ‘ingenious integrity’ of natural materials that is at the heart of a new Trend Texture™ called.. Shou Sugi Ban, or Carbonized Cedar.

Shouw’ Soogie Bhan (fun to say) sounds like a hip Japanese nightclub where we’d meet Bill Murray for some rice vodka shots after he won the Oscar for ‘Lost in Translation’ (he was robbed!! ). But… it’s really an ancient Japanese process of burning cedar (sugi) planks.

Charring cedar renders the wood nearly maintenance free, and makes it resistant to fire, rot, and pests. The carbonized wooden siding frequently lasts 80 years or more, and it’s ingenious integrity.. results in a gorgeous highly textured surface.

Fig.1 – Charred Cedar (Shou Sugi Ban) is becoming a Trend Texture™. This is the Noordparksbar, a cafeteria in a public park north of Amsterdam, designed by Bureau SLA and Overtreders W.  Photo courtesy of Shinji Otani, and ArchDaily.

Shou Sugi Ban is made traditionally by wiring three cedar planks together, and then charring the inside for only a few minutes at each end. The planks are then quenched with cool water that stops the char and removes the carbon powder, revealing a mystical black and silver surface.

This ingenious Japanese aesthetic is the latest Trend Texture for the sustainability crowd. And to get some wabi-sabi into your designs.. we asked Allen Fraser to gives us a little ‘sugi’. Alan has created a new texture for SketchUp called ‘Carbonized Cedar’.

Fig 2.   FormFonts’ Trend Texture™  –  Carbonized Cedar ‘Sugi’ by Alan Fraser.                  Now available in our Sketchup Materials library by subscription.

In Short :  Wabi Sabi is another example of new ascetics … small buildings, rustic materials, asperity, doing less with less, and keeping it all… sustainable!

Thanks for reading and subscribing – FormFonts 3D


  • How2™ apply Trend Textures™ in SketchUp –  FormFontsm 3D
  • How2™ Video – Apply Trend Textures™ in SketchUp  – FormFonts 3D
  • How2™ Make a Materials Library in SketchUp – FormFonts 3D
  • New Ascetics  – FormFonts 3D
  • Noordsparkbar north of Amsterdam –  ArchDaily
  • Setting the Siding World on Fire – Michelle Jeresek – Houzz
  • Wikipedia – Wabi-Sabi 
  • Yakisugi – Shou Sugi Ban made the traditional way – YouTube

About Formfonts 3D Models

Established in 2002, FormFonts 3D Models has served over 11,000 subscribers. FormFonts 3D Models offers over 50,000 of well-made and with the right-amount-of-polygons models and textures on a subscription basis. Throughout each month we upload new models for download. If you don’t see what you need, request it to be made. We offer models in the following formats: Google SketchUp ® | Autodesk®3ds Max®, Autocad®, Revit® & FBX
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