Jason Klager has never visited Japan but it’s on his bucket list. The custom fine furniture and cabinet maker creates subtly elegant streamlined pieces in beautiful contrasting wood grains. Many designs have a distinct Asian influence: a pierced carving of tree branches resembling lace are all hand-made; brushstrokes emulate swimming koi and hidden compartments all inspire a Zen-like affinity with nature.
“I love Japanese Tansu (storage cabinets) and puzzles,” says Klager from his studio in Prince George, British Columbia. “My Matsuba Coffee Table was made for a Japanese client and I used several exotic woods like wenge and zabrano with black walnut and mahogany. It opens into various removable compartments and hidden drawers.”
His newest iteration is his Folio Table Series in walnut, white oak and the boldly striped zebrano wood tops. The geometric tables have a wood base sprayed with a black conversion varnish and resemble building blocks for adults. They can be combined in multiple permutations including stacked to add height.
“Working in exotic woods like zebrano, highly reflective bubinga from Africa or wenge though beautiful, are expensive and much more temperamental in our climate so I also work a lot in local woods like birch and pine that tolerate our cold, dry winters, explains Klager. His furniture is coveted by the Canadian Consulate in Iceland and for official residences in Beijing and Guana.
The versatile cabinetmaker who received his training at Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, is also in great demand designing imaginative, modern learning centres for children. The Duchess Learning Centre in Prince George boasts sturdy, child-size play kitchens in wood with a real sink, cubbies, art easels and a cleverly elevated platform and reading area with slide. Even adults would love to lounge in Fingerprints Early Learning Centre, Prince George with it’s cool cantilever platform like the prow of a ship; polycarbonate covered circle hammock in which to read and a spectacular loft with an elevated maze equipped with motion-activated LED lights throughout.
The father of two boys, Jason Klager turned one son’s bed into a gold-miner’s cabin with canvas over the top and LED lights.
“It takes time and patience, but for me making bespoke furniture is a labour of love.”