Founded in 2004, they are a multidisciplinary team working in a broad variety of areas, including exhibition space design, product design and filmmaking, as well as architecture and interior design. They recently collaborated with Ichiro, a decorative polyester plywood manufacturer, also based in Japan, to create a colourful furniture series.
Ichiro decorates lauan plywood using different processes. A special decorative paper is placed on the plywood, or a mixed colour and polyester resin is applied, then the plywood is wrapped in film to harden the resin.
The Ichiro-iro series of furniture – ‘tools for the real you’ (‘iro’ being Esperanto for ‘tool’, and used as it aligns the series with its common international language) – is a clever and creative take on the need for private desk space, which extends way beyond just somewhere to study or write.
The first pieces in the Ichiro-iro series are the koloro-desk and the koloro-stool (‘koloro’ being another Esperanto word, meaning ‘colour’). The desk and stool series take full advantage of the vibrant colours of Ichiro polyester ply. The first prototypes were launched in yellow and sky blue, quickly followed by white, pink, navy blue and khaki.
Reminiscent of library study carrels, the koloro-desk becomes a personalised space, awash with vibrant colour. It has windows at various locations in the side-walls, back face and roof to give a more open feel to the tiny and close space. Magnets allow the smooth opening and closing of the peep-hole windows and the small ‘doors’ on both sides have been adjusted to be used as shelves. The windows can also be closed to give complete privacy, if you want to rest, sleep or are deep in thought.
Lighting, plants, accessories and ornaments can be added to create a unique setting for private work. There are even hooks for bags and a cord manager to allow the use of a computer.
The koloro-stool complements the desk, and has a large storage space under the cushioned seat-pad. Its vaulting horse shape pairs with the simple geometry of its desk partner. The stool comes in contrasting colours of grey, dark grey, light blue and green, and in two heights – a higher version was developed to suit a child.
Suzuno and Kamuro are currently working on making a series of bookends from the plywood left over after each desk is cut and processed.
The architectural duo have also developed the Airvase, a product that creates a container out of a single sheet of paper. Originally designed as part of an exhibition project exploring the potential of processed paper, initiated by Japanese paper manufacturer Kami No Kousakujo, the vase won a best of the best award in the red dot awards for product design this year.
Starting as a round piece of paper with multiple incisions, the Airvase opens out like a mesh to create a ‘container of air’. The shape can be moulded and changed to take on different forms, such as a small bowl, a vase or a gift-wrap for a bottle of wine. It maintains the shape it is opening out to, and can also be flattened again to be stored for later use. While the paper for the Airvase remains flexible, the mesh gives it strength and a form that means the vase (or bowl) is self-supporting. Numerous patterns have been produced and used in exhibitions and in the retail market.
Like the Koloro-desk and koloro-stool, the designers see the Airvase as more than a product: “It’s an enjoyable experience – adding life, colour and joy to any environment.”