About Us

Kodama Zomes is a small and independent design/build company based in southern Oregon, USA. They are a team of friends and co-workers who highly value creativity, quality, and authentic design.

The founder, inventor, and lead designer of Kodama Zomes is Richie Duncan. “I have never settled for the commonplace. My life has been one of curiosity, experimentation and exploration,” he states. At a young age, Richie learned woodworking from his father and was forever deconstructing and assembling what ever he could get his hands on. His inventive and inquisitive nature continued into adulthood as he attended University of Colorado at Boulder engineering school. Duncan then went on to receive licensure in civil and structural engineering, and opened his first business in Lake Tahoe, California offering architectural design and engineering.

Although Lake Tahoe taught him much about design, engineering and running his own business, that “curiosity, experimentation and exploration" set in and propelled him to adventure the world. His travels took him to places such as Peru, Africa, India and Europe. "Travel was essential to my creative development. Especially spending time in less developed areas, it became necessary to look at common materials and designs in new ways," Duncan shared. 


Original Chile ZomeOne such destination was Chile, where he lived and instructed courses on wood framed building systems and earthquake-resistant techniques 
at an educational farm and school. There he met an instructor who was a master at geodesic domes and zomes…

Duncan recalls those first moments of fate: “'What the heck is a zome? I want to learn how to build one.' The instructor just grinned and asked if I really wanted to go down that road. She must have known that I would get slightly obsessed. She agreed to show me and we built a zome together as a class - it was a little clunky and angular, but still so beautiful. After building that one, I was hooked.” The first zome that Duncan constructed while in Chile planted the seed for what was to come.

After returning home, Duncan investigated many design options, including a tomato trellis and a ferro-cement covered fort. These zomes experimented with different sizes, ratios, and number of facets. Yet still at that point all of Duncan’s zomes, and all of the zomes across the world, were made mostly of wood… and all were set upon the ground.

 

If there was an a-ha moment, it came as I was camping outside on uneven ground, gazing up at the stars. I was thinking of ways to make a better foundation for the zomes, all the while fidgeting and adjusting my resting position. Then, while looking at the trees above – 'AHA, forget about making a grounded foundation for the zome… hang it from above!’ I stayed up all night brainstorming the design and the structure.” 

And thus was born the hanging zome. 

“The first hanging zome was built from scrap wood, duct tape, and bailing twine. I placed a 3-gallon bucket of water inside and amazingly– it held!”

From this first prototype of the hanging zome, Duncan began the patent process and continued to develop and refine the design. “In the beginning, I just loved the shape and the geometry of the zome. It simultaneously engaged the analytical engineering mind and the artistic creative mind. It wasn’t until I made a zome large enough to recline in, that I realized the perfect embodiment of the hanging zome as furniture.” Thus began the exploration into the hanging zome as a combination of art and relaxation. 

As a business, Kodama Zomes started selling the first hanging zome designs in 2014, and since then has steadily grown the business, production team, and distribution. “I am proud of the Kodama Zome story," says Duncan. "Early on, my friends saw my passion and the potential for a great new invention. They joined me to help build the Kodama team, and we have created a strong foundation and a great product.”

Duncan and his team continue to design, manufacture, and distribute Kodama Zomes from their shop in Southern Oregon.