Naoto Fukasawa withStool Za, Emeco Image courtesy Emeco

Naoto Fukasawa, Design News 2021

Naoto Fukasawa is famous for his design of basic objects necessary in our everyday lives which possess simplicity and sublime beauty.

Naoto Fukasawa: ‘Design means observing objectively’

Naoto Fukasawais a Japanese multidisciplinary industrial designer, author, and educator.

He was born in Yamanashi (in 1956) and graduated from Tama Art University in 1980. Fukasawa started his career with a design for the electronic industry (Seiko Erikson, Apple..).In 2003, he started a private practice and established Naoto Fukasawa Design.

Stool Za -all finishes, top view. Design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco Image courtesy Emeco
Stool Za -all finishes, top view. Design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco
Image courtesy Emeco

Fukasawa’s Clients are famous brands around the world (Europe, America and Asia) as well as local Japanese companies. Some of the companies he cooperates with are Artemide, B&B Italia, Boffi, Danese, Driade, Herman Miller, Magis, Maruni, Muji and many others. He successfully works in a variety of fields, from precision electronic equipment to furniture and interior spaces. No matter the discipline, he always tries to find the archetype in each category and to put this philosophy into practice in his design.

Naoto Fukasawa is involved in diverse design activities as a designer or through consultancy work as a member of advisory boards or as an art director in many companies. 

Fukasawa has worked on developments of many products which have garnered a great deal of attention and win numerous awards from domestic and international institutions. Some of them are Red dot award-best of the best, Good Design Award Gold, iF Product Design Award Gold, ELLE DECO International Design Awards, Isamu Noguchi Award and many others.

Besides, Fukasawa teaches much. He is a professor in the Integrated Design department at Tama Art University since 2014. Also, every year (since 1999) he holds a series of workshops called ‘No Thoughts’ for young designers.

Fukasawa is one of the directors of 21_21 Design Sight, Japan's first design museum. As of 2012

He has been described by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the world's most influential designers. He has been accorded the title of Royal Designer for Industry (Royal Society of Arts).

Stool Za,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco Image courtesy Emeco Stool Za,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco Image courtesy Emeco Stool Za,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco Image courtesy Emeco
Stool Za,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco
Image courtesy Emeco

Many of his works are included in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA),USAVictoria and Albert Museum, U.K. and DesignmuseumDanmark, Danmark.

The stool “Za”

Naoto Fukasawa designed many products with a different purpose and for different Clients. The newest one is ‘Za’, a stool for Emeco. The name ‘Za’, chosen by Naoto Fukasawa, means ‘a place to sit’ in Japanese.

The chair is one of the basic pieces of furniture which is most demanding to design. Fukasawa designed his ‘Za’ stool as a simple item for everyday use. It is in pure shape, with a round seat and four legs. The ergonomic characteristics of Za enable comfort seating for the user. The rim of the seat is designed to keep the user seated in the centre of the stool. Underneath the ‘false’thickness of the stool’s seat, are hidden structural items. Such design gives the whole chair materiality and a sense of stability. 

Stool Za,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco Image courtesy Emeco
Stool Za,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco
Image courtesy Emeco

The legs are with three heights: small, counter height and bar stool height. This characteristic allows the user the choice depending on the purpose and to sit comfortably at different heights. The chairs with counter height and bar stool height possess the reinforcement in the form of a ring.

Za can be used anywhere, indoors, and outdoors. It can be placed in many rooms in homes (e.g., in living rooms, dining rooms), in schools (with desks), and in offices or various workplaces as well as in restaurants, bars…. This multi-functional stool also can be used for other purposes. For instance, Za can substitute a small table or bedside table in the kitchen or bedroom. It can be used as additional seating in any space: for watching television or movies….

The chair is not an independent product, it is part of the environment, it is used in. With such design and aesthetical characteristic Za can fit any setting, a classic or contemporary one. Za is with different finishes and colours (a natural, hand-brushed anodized finish, a hand-polished finish, or a choice of powder coat colours). The product texture, colours or slight gloss give modesty and elegance to the stool which is suitable for any environment.

As always, there would be no successfully implemented design without the selection of adequate material and production process. Chairs can be made of different types of materials or a combination of materials with or without upholstery or padding. The whole Za stool is made of one material: recycled aluminum.

This material is Emeco’s signature material. It is light, strong, non-corrosive, fireproof and has a minimum carbon footprint. It is also impervious to today’s disinfectants and anti-microbial cleaners. 

Emeco combines long-lasting production experience with constant research on new solutions for turning waste materials into simple and useful chairs

All Za stools are environment friendly and strong so they come with a lifetime guarantee.

Stool Za in home,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco Image courtesy Emeco
Stool Za in home,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco
Image courtesy Emeco

Za chair was created by a thoughtful designer whose focus is primarily on the functional requirements of the product. It is the right answer to Fukasava's goal to make sitting comfortable.This chair is not only comfortable, but it also has other advantages. This chair saves space. Since there is no backrest when not in use it can be ‘hidden’ under the table.

 When it comes to shape, it is an extremely modest and simple stool. Fukasawa found the right aesthetic characteristics to fit the chair perfectly into spaces of different purposes. The shapes he creates are shapes that people love. Therefore, it is a designed product that users feel like their own at first glance.It attracts attention with its simplicity, normality, so it is a frequent choice of the user and becomes his best friend in everyday life.

Stool Za in studio,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco Image courtesy Emeco
Stool Za in studio,design Naoto Fukasawa for Emeco
Image courtesy Emeco

The products designed by Fukasawa, including Zastool, not only meet the functional requirements but also create emotional connections with the users.His products are wanted and loved by people because they make them happy when they use them.