Naoto Fukasawa’s Purposeful Simplicity Shapes Emeco’s Za Stool

Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa has built a career designing objects of a simple, reductive nature, shapes that serve their purpose, while maintaining the elegant simplicity often inherent in natural objects such as Muji, Herman Miller and Boffi. This makes his recent collaboration with Emeco, the American furniture maker specializing in aluminum furniture and best known for the industrial 1006 Navy Chair, an unexpected pairing.

“Za” – a stool that is available in three heights – is named succinctly with the Japanese word “a place to sit”. The simplicity is both conceptual and functional, as Fukasawa and Gregg Buchbinder, owners and CEO of Emeco, pointed out during an online media event that the stool was not designed to be overly valuable.

In fact, Fukasawa went to great lengths to underscore his intention to design a piece of furniture that would be valued for its obvious usefulness rather than its fleeting sense of novelty. In this relationship between object and user, “a happy mood while sitting” is created.

“The Navy chair is one of the most recognizable icons in America,” noted Naoto Fukasawa. “I had the picture of a round stool that, like a brother or sister, could become part of the Navy family of chairs. I integrated this thought into the design of the Za stool. “

Each Za stool is handcrafted at Emeco’s Pennsylvania facility using a meticulously accurate 77-step process that converts recycled aluminum into seven different options: a hand-brushed anodized finish with a hand-polished finish, or one of six powder-coated colors, including Warm Gray , Light brown, light blue, green, orange and charcoal. Prices start at $ 420, depending on size and color / finish.

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