Communication technology was the subject of Norie Matsumoto’s first degree, taken in Tokyo. She then worked as an accounting assistant, she was always interested in crafts, and it was this passion that brought her to the UK to take an art foundation course in Greenwich and then a BA in fine craft furniture making at Buckinghamshire New University. Having graduated from the RCA, she hopes to make her own designs, focusing on furniture.
THE DESIGN This design was intended to be a beautiful timber object that could also work as a chair, rather than the reverse approach which is more common. Matsumoto was particularly interested in how it looked when it was folded up and leaning against a wall. From this she developed an asymmetric design which unfolds in a surprising but elegant manner.
Matsumoto made a prototype of the chair which was all in ash, but chose to use a mixture of ash and walnut in the final piece, to further point up its asymmetric nature. There were challenges in the design and a lot to be learnt in the making process but, despite the fact that this chair has an unconventional starting point, this is a desirable and ‘sittable’ piece of furniture, which one could imagine working well in a number of different environments.
The intention may be that it should spend much of its time resting against a wall as an object to be enjoyed, but few will be able to resist the temptation to pick it up and fold and unfold it several times.
LIFECYCLE CONSIDERATIONS Material has had the biggest impact on this chair because there was so little processing involved, thanks the decision to use square sections and rectangular elements. The chair has been designed for a long life, with carefully considered joints which can, if necessary, be repaired. The fact that it can be folded away when not in use also makes it more versatile, helping to guarantee its longevity.