Part III: Butterfly Stool
Although the butterfly stool doesn’t necessarily qualify as an innovative piece of furniture due to employing similar techniques seen by the likes of the Eames brothers, Sori Yanagi cunningly seeks to marry eastern form with western techniques. This stream of conceptual design lead to quiet an innovative overall form of the stool.
• Cultural relevance
Culturally, Sori keeps in line with the organic forms of Oriental design. A lot of Japanese design is seen as sleek, delicacate and light. These Elements that are so indicative of traditional Japanese design is found predominantly within Yanagi’s work.
Sori designs this with the inspired forms of nature. The gently curving silhouette of the twin seat shells is reminiscent of a butterfly’s wings. A different stream of thinking the stool’s simple outline has been likened to the torii gates of a Shinto shrine.
• Design process
Made from two identical molded plywood forms held together with a simple brass stretcher. This technique is similar to that of Eames’ ply mouled chairs. In this, both Sori and Eames use two bodies of ply and merge them with another entity, being brass brackets. This sleek and streamline look really separated itself from what was being made at the time. A time in which furniture was heavy and complex; made from multiple materials and then covered in upholstery.
• What makes the project remarkable?
Yanagi Sori combines Japanese and Western aesthetics with modern manufacturing techniques to create a harmonious image. He updates traditional Japanese forms for the modern age. Although this classical design was first Made in 1954 and has been continually in production ever since.