This design was inspired by a Japanese historic site, the regional government building called TOFURO. I conceived ROW when I was watching a movie with panoramic view of the ruins.
Since the government conducted diplomacy, I hoped that the bench to connect Japan to the world by combining a Japanese material with a worldwide general material.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The theme of this design is a fusion of Japanese material and metal.
Furniture combined with rush grass that has been used in Japanese daily life through the ages and aluminum is little seen because mostly wood has been chosen for it.
The combination of tatami and wood is the very ZEN style in a global sense, however, it may be said that it has limited coordination. On the other hand, this bench is simply unique but also has universality. It takes on modern and minimal characters by combining with aluminum, and matches not only for Japanese but any taste of spaces.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
This bench has arms which unites the function with design in both ends. This means making the carrying easy. The aluminum is light, so the carrying is made easy. I'd like the seating comfort for this bench very much. Because the material is tatami. The tatami is softer than wood and warmer than metal. Further, we can relax very much by sitting down on this bench because tatami has the peculiar fragrance.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in May 2005 in Fukuoka, Japan. After building a number of prototypes, this bench was shown in an exhibition called DESIGNING in April 2006, Japan.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
First, I stuck to domestic tatami. I visited a local tatami manufacturer to see tatami used for ten years, and checked the turned-up border, etc. in detail, then confirmed how stout their tatami was. As rush grasses are soft and have some variability in diameter individually, it is extremely difficult to make a tatami fit into the aluminum frame. However, it was able to stabilize the size by narrowing the weaving pitch up to the limit. The aluminum frame is made by bending and welding. Although inside thickness of the flat bar changes when bending, it is uniformly ground in finishing process.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Frame:Aluminum, Sheet: Tatami/ W 1500mm x D 500mm x SH 400mm/ Bending and Welding of the aluminum,
kazunagasakashita, critiba, rowbench, row, bench, tatami, aluminum
I took hearing survey to know how tatami is used abroad and frank opinions of people. I came in for an interview to a person in charge of trade show in a tatami manufacturer, and also checked a tatami in terms of the intensity and beauty. That tatami has little wear even after ten year used, I decided to use it. Despite the smell of tatami and texture are favored overseas, it has difficulty to the introduction due to their custom wearing shoes indoor. I therefore designed it as bench style for sitting without taking off shoes and flexible arrangement, and it expanded the possibility of tatami use.
The hardest challenge of this project was to fit tatami into the aluminum frame. Because it is difficult to demand the dimensional accuracy as much as metalworking for tatami making due to variability of rush grass, it was forced to set up an interspace between aluminum and tatami at first. However, I thought it compromises the beauty and design. Then, I reversed the process order of aluminum frame and tatami making and designed the frame to fit on the tatami. That is how I overcame the difficulty and raised the precision.
TEAM MEMBERS (4) :
Designer: Kazunaga Sakashita, Manufacture of Tatami : SOEJIMA ISAO SHOTEN CO., LTD. , Manufacture of Aluminum : F CAST CO., LTD and
All image: Photographer Junji Katoh, 2006
copyrights belong to Kazunaga Sakashita, 2006.