Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa has built a career designing objects of simple, reductive nature, forms in service of their purpose retaining the elegant simplicity often inherent in natural objects for the likes of Muji, Herman Miller and Boffi. Which makes his most recent collaboration with Emeco, the American furniture maker specializing in aluminum furniture and most famously associated with the industrial 1006 Navy Chair, an unexpected pairing.
“Za” – a stool offered in three heights – is succinctly named with the Japanese word for “a place to sit”. The simplicity is both conceptual and functional, as Fukasawa and Gregg Buchbinder, Owner & CEO of Emeco, both emphasized during an online media event that the stool was conceived not to be overly precious.
In fact, Fukasawa made it an effort to underline his intent to design a piece of furniture cherished for its obvious utility rather than a fleeting sense of novelty. In this relationship between object and user, “a happy mood when sitting” is evoked.
“The Navy chair is one of the most identified icons in America,” remarked Naoto Fukasawa, “I had an image of a round stool, which could become a part of the Navy chair family, like a brother or sister. I embodied that thought into the design of the Za stool.”
Each Za stool is hand-built at Emeco’s Pennsylvania factory following a painstakingly exact 77-step process transforming recycled aluminum into seven different options: a hand brushed anodized finish with hand polished finish, or one of six powder coated colors, including Warm Grey, Light Brown, Light Blue, Green, Orange and Charcoal. Prices start at $420, depending on size and color/finish.