For the past three years, BC Wood has had a special partnership with the WRCEA for the Japanese market. This relationship has allowed us to deliver higher impact promotions through seminars and trade shows in order to introduce Western Red Cedar to a new generation of architects and designers. These efforts are targeted at the growing use of wood in exterior applications as new certifications and installation methods help WRC meet Japan’s tough fire-code regulations.
The WRCEA has developed an extensive library of resources and presentation materials which by working together with in-market distributors, we were able to localize into a comprehensive seminar program for Japanese architects. We first delivered the program on behalf of the WRCEA in 2012 in Tokyo and Nagoya and the feedback from both the WRC distributors and attendees was overwhelmingly positive. For this reason, we expanded the program for this year and delivered it in Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka. Once again we had great turnouts in each city and were able to inspire participants through our lecturers’ great presentations on WRC projects both in Japan and around the world.
It was interesting to see local wood distributors who in the past had handled WRC take part. Speaking with these companies after the seminars, it was clear that they also have seen a renewed interest in WRC and are looking at putting effort into promoting the species again. Before the American housing bubble pushed up cedar prices, WRC was considered a standard species for decking. However, as Japan’s own wood first policies are creating more demand for wood products, many in the wood industry realize the potential to use WRC on the exterior of not only homes, but also commercial buildings, whether they are built in wood or concrete. I believe the positive reaction of the architects at the seminars helped further demonstrate this latent potential and will hopefully lead many of these distributors back into our WRC network.
These seminars also offered us a great venue to promote the Global Buyers Mission (GBM) to architects interested in wood first inspired designs. We look forward to inviting some of them to our 10th annual event in Whistler this September!