International Furniture Design Competition

Comments by the Judges

Naoto Fukasawa


Wooden furniture, especially chairs, are only beautiful when they are properly structured. Even if the chair looks fine, our body tends to naturally hesitate before sitting on it because of a sense of fragility. The aesthetic of chair only appears for the first time when the body accepts the comfort of the chair. In this competition, the judges naturally concurred on this direction in their respective decision-making processes.

Even though many people have said that this competition featured fewer exciting or expressive designs, I actually believe this is a natural progression as so many of the designs were well balanced both in form and in structure, without major flaws. General expectations of this kind of design competitions tend to be for distinctive, stimulating designs, but this is not what is required for a quality design.

During our evaluations, the judges often discussed where the pieces would be placed. Basically, the design has to shine through, yet appear natural in its environment. Both works selected for the Gold Leaf Award (Half Chair) and the Silver Leaf Award (Circle) give us pleasure in imagining where they would be used.“Half Chair”, which adequately allows musicians such as cellists to play their instruments unrestricted due to its half-sized seat was unique in that it ensures the user sit forward on the chair, as well as being a fascinating ornament in its own rights. The folding chair “Circle”, which is formed by 2 strings, attracts people to gather around as its name suggests.

Wooden chairs and furniture has the simple power to attract the atmosphere of its surroundings, as well as perform well functionally.

International Furniture Design Fair Asahikawa is the primary event in which the special universality of wood is continually shown. I believe that craftsmanship, which occurs at the point where excellent technical skills and quality designs are combined, will never be obsolete.

Naoto Fukasawa

Naoto Fukasawa

Product Designer, Japan

Born in Yamanashi 1956.

Fukasawa's design widely ranges from portable digital assisting products such as watches and mobile phones to personal computing products, electronics, household goods, furniture and interior design. He has been collaborating with representative brands in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Asian countries for their product developments.

In 2010 and 2011, Fukasawa acted as the chairman for the Good Design Award judging committee. Fukasawa has co-authored The Ecological Approach to Design (Tokyo Shoseki) The Outline - The Unseen Outline of Things (Hachette Fujingaho) with photographer Tamotsu Fujii and has authored An Outline of Design (TOTO Shuppan) and released NAOTO FUKASAWA, a compilation of his works, through Phaidon Press.