3 May 2016
Japan, though well known for its regional traditions of craftsmanship, is not the first country that springs to mind when talking about excellence in woodworking in the field of designer furniture. Maruni, however, is an exception: the company, founded in 1928, has in fact developed a refined line of industrial wooden products based on artisan skills, including Nextmaruni, a range of contemporary furniture in a style steeped in Zen aesthetics that was first brought out twelve years ago. At this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan the manufacturer presented some new pieces designed by Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison, long-time collaborators with the brand as well as designers with close affinities, as was demonstrated by the exhibition-manifesto Super Normal (2005). Fukasawa has added a stackable chair with a sculptural back and a stool with a form-fitting seat to the Hiroshima collection. Morrison, who had already designed the beautiful Lightwood series in 2011, has created the T chair and O stool, apparently conventional but rendered unique by a functional detail: in the first case, the S-shaped piece of metal that connects the slender back to the hidden part of the seat; in the second, a hole that provides a useful grip and also serves to break up the smooth lines of the maple wood.