Lev Bely, 02.02.2012 21:07
On December, 25th Sori Yanagi, the Japanese designer and creator of the famous Butterfly Stool, died in Tokyo. He invented both simple and exceptionally elegant model performed with two pieces of moulded plywood that is fastened with brass rod. The stool shape reminds a butterfly's wings and at one time a traditional Shinto shrine torii gate. As Matilda McQuaid, the deputy curatorial director at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum says, the stool “epitomizes Yanagi's approach to design. He loved traditional Japanese crafts and was dedicated to the modernist principles of simplicity, practicality and tactility that are associated with Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, and Le Corbusier.”
As a designer, Yanagi was quite multi-instrumental: for 60 years of designing he worked out various things such as tableware, furniture, autos, metro stations and even the torch for the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics. Yanagi's works combine inartificial lines, pure shapes, ascetism, limited materials and always an essential accent on a thing's beauty whatsoever practical or ordinary. His design perfectly endures the test of time and gets ageless through years.
Sori Yanagi took his inspiration from, as he called that, “anonymous” design: the Jeep, a baseball glove. In turn, he inspired young designers including Naoto Fukasawa, Tom Dixon and Jasper Morrison.
The Butterfly Stool as well as other Yanagi's works is in production today: Vitra, a Swiss manufacturer of designer furniture, makes also The Elephant Stool (1954); a stainless steel teakettle (1994) is bought every year by over half a million of Japanese that witnessing Yanagi's design is worth indeed.
The Butterfly Stool is included in “Plywood: Material, Process, Form” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. The exhibition is open until February, 27th.
The New York Times Style Magazine, http://www.nytimes.com/pages/t-magazine
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