At an age when most folks are digging their heels into their chosen profession or pondering retirement, Jack Sasaki, a trained architect, opted to quit his job at the company he had worked for for three decades—and begin afresh in a new field. “At age 55, I was given an opportunity to start a company where I can spend every day practicing what I really love—design and product-making. My company name, Summer Studio, expresses my state of mind. I feel that I am in the summer of my life!” he tells us.
Summer Studio is his wood furniture and lighting company in Southern California. As its founder and creative director, Jack designs every piece. (In addition to an MBA and masters in architecture, he’s also a skilled woodworker.) “We make every product in our workshop in LA, which allows for a high level of quality control and product customization,” he says.
The pieces all have a refined simplicity to them and as such, are reminiscent of the work of George Nakashima, one of Jack’s heroes. “I am moved by the life story of Nakashima, who was once in a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII and started his furniture-making studio relatively later in his life in order to secure his family’s independence,” says Jack, who also counts Japanese architect Tadao Ando as an inspiration. “The story made me believe in the personal power to make a way in my life through design and craft.”
Below, some of our favorite pieces from his workshop.