Shou Sugi Ban 焼 杉 板 (or Yakisugi) is an ancient Japanese exterior siding technique that preserves wood by charring it. Traditionally, Sugi, (Cryptomeria japonica or Cupressus japonica L.f.) commonly called Japanese cedar, was used. It is still a popular tradition in the Okayama Prefecture of Japan. Nowadays, designers and architects use other species of wood like western red cedar, douglas fir, cyprus, pine and oak. The process involves charring the wood, cooling it, cleaning it, and finishing it with a natural oil. Although time consuming, the final product is not only gorgeous, with its rich, silvery finish; the charred wood also resists fire, rot, insects, and can last up to 80 years.
Watch as renowned Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori demonstrates the technique below (from Austrian newscast).