Poetry in Wood

A Unique and Custom Kyoto Table

Founded in 1889 by Iginio Ghianda, the Ghianda workshop initially produced parquet flooring and wood airplane propellers before making a foray into furniture in 1920. The son of a blacksmith, Iginio opened the shop next to his home in Lombardy and quickly established himself as one of the foremost ebanistas (woodworkers) in the region. This was further solidified when, in 1936, Gio Ponti charged Iginio to create a desk for the Palazzo per uffici Montecatini in Milan. The commission marked the first of many important collaborations between Italy’s premiere designers and the master craftsmen at Ghianda to come. 

The present table was custom ordered directly from Ghianda by a Knoll executive and is not only double the length of production models, but also exquisitely hand crafted in pearwood with ebony details.

After his father’s death in 1945, Iginio’s son Pierluigi took over for his father and established himself as the go-to for advanced woodworking, sought after by architects and designers alike for his breadth of knowledge and deep appreciation of joinery and construction techniques. Known as the “Poet of Wood” Pierluigi secured relationships with several top manufacturer’s over the years including Hermès, Cassina, Skipper and Knoll and was commissioned by the biggest names in Italian design—Gae Aulenti, Mario Bellini, Livio and Piero Castiglioni and Ettore Sottass—to execute a variety of objects and furniture in wood. Since then, the workshop has produced some of the most refined objects of Italian design and continues to be highly sought after to this day.

In 1974, Pierluigi began working with Gianfranco Frattini (who would go on to become one of his closest his closest collaborators), on the Kyoto table—a puzzle-like construction made up of 1,705 individual 45-degree joints that would be exclusively distributed Knoll for a limited time shortly after its inception. The present table was custom ordered directly from Ghianda by a Knoll executive and is not only double the length of production models, but also exquisitely hand crafted in pearwood with ebony details. One leg of table bears the workshop’s trademark oak leaf, a befitting symbol for a company rooted in over a century of fine woodworking and whose name also literally translates to acorn. 

For me wood has an unlimited value, woe betide if you spoil a piece. Because all wood, unlike metal, is precious: it’s a gift from God.

Pierluigi Ghianda