The sensitive light chair
I-271 side chair
I-272 arm chair
I-281 side chair
I-282 arm chair
White ash – Soap / Black / Charcoal grey / Snow white / Dark wenge
Walnut – Beeswax
Fabric upholstered / Leather upholstered
What defines a good chair?
With so many definitions of good chairs, a lightweight chair is one of the answers we sought this
time. The chair is so light that anyone can lift it with one hand to move it from room to room or
upstairs without any trouble. The chair has a quiet looks and exudes a spruce presence. Silence
and simplicity are Japan’s forte, which creates value. The chair is inconspicuousness without
embellishments but inspires thoughts of the dignity that can only dwell in the craftwork carefully
fashioned by hand with attention to detail.
The manufacturing factory for the sensitive light chair is located in Hida Takayama, Gifu Prefecture.
To add resonance to the quiet appearance that reflects a sense of the Japanese spirituality, we made
a bold attempt to reduce the thickness of the frames and other components of the overall structure
as much as possible. To compensate for thinner components, the design incorporates the structure
of traditional Japanese architecture and traditional Windsor chairs to provide the necessary
strength. After forming the components into rough shapes, a special tool called the Nanjing plate
is used in most processes to shape each component from the rear legs and the back column to the
front legs using the hands of skilled craftsmen to finish the chair. Not all craftsmen are capable of
this process while identifying the individual characteristics of the wood—a specialist smooths out
each joint by hand to finish all components. This process completes the chair that embraces a sense
What we wanted for this chair was to trim the weight yet maintain its strength, which is
contradictory, with the aim of seeking the best of both worlds. For that, the chair conforms to the
traditional pattern of jabbing bars with Nuki joints that connect the four legs into each leg. The chair
uses joints for interlacing and unifying the main seat frame with the legs without using a corner
block at the back of the seat to add strength as with regular chairs. The Nuki joints are employed
to distribute the force to the slim legs with the proper balance and maintain strength. Another
element where we paid extra attention was to complete the back of the chair with a sense of smooth
unity. Instead of focusing on the visible parts, we made the less visible back of the seat beautiful
by embracing the combination of its high-quality appearance with painstaking craftsmanship and
a unified look. In addition, the elimination of unique elements makes it the most simplified design
as a chair, as well as preclude the inevitability of adding a straightforward element as a structural
element, which gave birth to the shape of this chair.
We selected white wood for this chair because the rustic texture and design would convey an honest
message. Our idea was to use white ash because of its viscosity and durability and to increase
the strength; the texture of the white wood determines the presence of the chair, which is why we
used two types of wood: white ash and walnut, which are both popular. The white ash materials
are processed with a soap finish to maintain the natural expression in its pure form and for longer
utilization. The soap finish process employs soap as the main ingredient. While soap derived from
natural ingredients is a safe finishing agent, its weakness is the ease with which it becomes dirty
after several years of use. Even so, we used a soap finish as the only way to preserve the beautiful
surface of the white wood. This method is widely used in northern European furniture, and soap is
used to wash soiled wood. This finish enhanced the white wood’s quiet spruce appearance.
For walnut, our uniquely developed beeswax, which is a mixture of preservative-free sunflower
oil from Hokkaido and high-quality domestic beeswax, is applied as a finishing touch. This has the
effect of adding depth to the color of the wood with beautiful changes.
The design dates back 40 to 50 years since the use of chairs began to take root in Japan. Before that,
a host of beautiful chairs were designed and manufactured mainly in Europe. By sharing the long
history and design of furniture and chairs around the world, our important mission is to know the
significance of creating chairs and furniture and what we can do in the country. Standing before
numerous chairs created around the world, we concluded that if we create chairs to release the
aromatic elements in the context of Japan’s unique sensitivity, perspective on beauty, spirituality
and techniques, as well as Japan’s cultural background of influences from China, South Korea, and
other Asian nations, then the new proposal is for a major theme of universal chairs.