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Osaka in LA: Tok Kise Brings Cult Favorite Truck Furniture to California

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Osaka in LA: Tok Kise Brings Cult Favorite Truck Furniture to California

March 31, 2021

Back in 2007, Julie wrote about the Japanese artisanal brand TRUCK Furniture: “We’ve been admiring this Osaka-based company for a while; we’re waiting for the day when the line becomes available in the US.” More than decade later, that day has finally arrived.

While American fans have always been able to purchase TRUCK pieces via the website and have them shipped from Japan, now they get to see them in person first. We first learned of the exciting development from photographer Justin Chung’s Instagram account, where we spotted images of founder Tokuhiko Kise‘s cool downtown Los Angeles loft-cum-showroom, though, truth be told, it took us a minute to figure out that they were of his new space in LA and not the original store in Osaka, so similar are the two. Both locations have oversized windows that let in plenty of natural sunlight, both feature a naturalistic palette of white and brown, both have an industrial-meets-rustic vibe, and both, of course, are appointed with TRUCK’s handsome, weighty furniture (while the pieces are refined, there’s nothing delicate about them).

“The space in LA is the same as the space in Osaka. I have only one face,” Tok tells us.

“It kind of just happened. I’m good friends with [LA furniture designer] Stephen Kenn, and a space opened up in his building in LA, so I took it. It was initially less of an ‘outpost’ than it was a place for me to stay when I visited, but then it developed into this kind of showroom that I could use to share what we do at TRUCK.”

Because it’s not exactly a storefront, it hasn’t officially “opened.” Those interested in seeing Truck pieces in person can make an appointment to visit the showroom. And for those who live outside of LA, here’s a sneak peek.

Photography by Justin Chung, courtesy of TRUCK Furniture.

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Above: “I got the lease in 2019 and started filling it with furniture and arranging things over the course of the year,” says Tok. In the dining area of the open loft is TRUCK’s Gatto Table and Harrison Dining Chairs.
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Above: “I added a door and did some painting here and there, and planted a tree in my backyard, but didn’t make any drastic changes to the space itself.” Here in the living area, glimpses of the HN Sofa (left) and the FK Sofa.
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Above: “There’s a small loft in the unit where I can sleep, but I haven’t been able to [be in LA] since COVID hit. I hope things change soon so that I can travel and stay there for a little while,” says Tok, who’s a motorcycle enthusiast.
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Above: “The building that my loft is in is really special. It used to be owned by a furniture manufacturer, and now it’s an artists’ residence with studio apartments. A lot of interesting people live there, including a photographer named Chuck who hung out with all kinds of cool musicians back in the day, like Bob Marley when he went on his world tour in the ’70s. But I’m closest with Stephen Kenn and his wife Beks. He and his wife are like family. They’ve been taking care of the space, my plans, my motorcycles, and my truck in my absence. I can trust them and feel very lucky to know them.”
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Above: “TRUCK furniture is made in our workshop in Osaka and we have no plans to change that. American customers have always been able to order from us and have their items shipped from there. The space in LA is just an opportunity for them to see TRUCK without having to go all the way to Japan. Even though I’m not there, Stephen is our partner and can show anyone around the space if you make an appointment.”
Tok with Stephen&#8
Above: Tok with Stephen’s dog in the backyard. “Even though it’s in a kind of rough part of downtown LA, it has a courtyard, swimming pool, big trees, and a cactus. I have a backyard so I can camp outside and make a takibi (a campfire) and sit around it with my friends and sip whiskey. It may be in the city, but I still feel cozy and get to spend a nice time with my friends there.”

For more on Japanese design, see:

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