This article was originally published on Domus 1068, May 2022.
Simply (and proudly) called Ishinomaki Simply (and proudly) called Ishinomaki – like the workshop that makes it in the port town of the same name located in eastern Japan – the chair designed by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin from Industrial Facility has a look that’s as peculiar as it is precise.
In fact, the form and size of the seat and legs derive from the most efficient way of using a standard plank of red Canadian cedar. The addition of a single-radius steel tube serves to form the back and armrests. The craftsmanship is also intentionally straightforward: the wood is simply planed and the waste is minimal. “It’s a chair that respects the dimensions of the raw material. It’s solid, durable and has lots of personality,” explain the British designers. “The steel tube seems like it’s embracing the person sitting on it. As with all the objects made by the Ishinomaki Laboratory, its aesthetic lasts over time.”
Ishinomaki Laboratory is quite particular. Established by Keiji Ashizawa right after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region in 2011, it began organising do-it-yourself workshops for residents who thereby helped to rebuild many shops and create shared public spaces. For example, with students they made 40 benches for an outdoor cinema. “Although they continued doing what they were doing, after 11 years, to be an independent locally run company with a profound social vocation, Ishinomaki started working with other companies and international designers to expand its DIY potential and promote its ‘made in local’ activity,” explain Hecht and Colin.
In autumn 2011, it began a collaboration with Herman Miller, and then with Karimoku in 2017. Now it’s the British SCP who, to celebrate its tenth anniversary, asked Ishinomaki for a new line of furniture. The Industrial Facility chair is the first of 13 different pieces.