If you remember our trend story on this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan in the August issue, you’ll know that Japanese designers are finally making their presence felt on the international stage. Western furniture behemoths are beginning to partner Japanese designers for calm, enlightened pieces that will be welcome in the home of anyone with even a lick of aesthetic discernment. Arper landed Ichiro Iwasaki, Fritz Hansen chose studio Nendo, and the list goes on. But if you don’t want to take our word for it, take Apple’s.
Amid all the star pieces by Poltrona Frau, Arco and Eero Saarinen that populate the newly built USD billion Apple Park, one Japanese design has been quietly doing its job – being both alluring and comfortable – without any fanfare, and that is the Hiroshima chair by design maestro Naoto Fukasawa.
The gentle curvature of the chair’s back, the graceful tapering of the sides of the arms, the roominess of the seats and the satiny smooth finishing of the wood show that while this chair was produced in large quantities by Japanese manufacturer Maruni, each still requires hand finishing. Thousands of these were ordered for the terrace dining area and visitor centre of Apple Park, with the finishing customised to match the rest of the furniture in the main cafe.
Says Fukasawa of chief design officer Jonathan Ives’ choice: “I think Apple’s philosophy isn’t restricted to