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The red cedar bench tells 10 years’ worth of stories. The utilitarian seat was among the first pieces created by Ishinomaki Laboratory, a DIY furniture project founded by architect Keiji Ashizawa to empower locals in disaster-hit northeast Japan in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.

For much of the past decade, through sunshine and snow, the bench — its solid simplicity and functional lines designed by Taiji Fujimori — has sat outside Ishinomaki Laboratory’s workshop in Miyagi Prefecture, providing a welcome resting place for staff.

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