Designer Jun Hashimoto has spent four years working on one concept to find the Holy Grail.

Having worked on prototypes for almost four years, Hashimoto’s “Usui-Isu v5.0” (Thin Chair, version 5.0) effectively conveys his concept. It struck me, like with a mallet, with its deceptive simplicity and lightness. The impact reminded me of when I had first seen the Knotted Chair or Lockheed Lounge many years ago.

According to Hashimoto, the idea was to build a chair from a thin sheet of metal employing minimum manipulation to achieve the shape – just cut and bend a few times. Some may associate its construction to Origami, or others may refer to Issey Miyake’s fundamental approach to fashion design, “To clothe the human body with a single piece of cloth,” but this chair is even simpler.

The shift from a floor-sitting to a chair-sitting in modern living in Japan has taken place not a long time ago, and it took a gradual course. The history of chair design is not very long in Japan, but Hashimoto’s piece along with some of Tokujin Yoshioka’s pieces show that young Japanese designers have grown up with chairs, have lived with them long enough to tell their own love affairs with the chairs.

photos: © Satoshi Asakawa

Thin Chair was awarded a Special Mention at the Salone Satellite last April, the celebrated prize for young promising talent at the Milan Furniture Fair.

There are some images of the earlier prototypes here.