Often furniture is rated good or bad on aesthetics alone, completely disregarding the functional aspect which surely outweighs the overall look in my opinion. Although many chair designs have lasted hundreds of years I always wonder how the future will fair on such objects, will they stand the test of time? Will they meet the demands of modern living? Like all things in life, nature has a way of weeding out those who can’t keep up. Technological enhancements in certain areas of the design process now offer extreme accuracy and the possibility of touching a wider audience through mass-production. I certainly admire the likes of Miyazaki Chair Workshop and Maruni, who’re pushing factory production to a new level and creating furniture that’s both appealing on the eye and beautifully crafted (even if machines are used to speed up the process).
One company that I found with a similar balance is Hirashima, who produce furniture in Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture. Not only do I enjoy their quirky shapes, I also admire their unique seating solutions. A couple of pieces worth noting include the stools and benches in the Hase collection (example seen below), with the hard lines and unusual surface texture offering extra grip on the seats top. I was also drawn to the Legare chairs (above) which have interesting legs fixed to the base of the seat, nice looking and structurally sound. Although simple the main ingredient to all these is common sense, they’re made with the human in mind.
A sector I do think should be used more is the field of art. This experimental platform has led to many innovative solutions in the past, in fact a lot of the great furniture makers, Finn Juhl as an example, took inspiration from Cubism and Surrealism. It’s important for us to source from these unusual areas, as you never know where your next bout of inspiration is going to come from! Here’s just a few examples from Hirashima furniture collection, more can be found on their website.