In a world where every new product that’s launched seems to feature some pun in its name, it’s refreshing to encounter the literally titled ‘Shelving System’ by Naoto Fukasawa for Artek, launched at this year’s Milan Furniture Fair. Its utilitarian moniker fits perfectly with the project: a beautifully considered and pared-down modular system, which takes pride in its functionality.
Detail of 'Shelving System' by Naoto Fukasawa for Artek
Made of lacquered birch ladders, painted MDF shelves and zinc and aluminium supports, ‘Shelving System’ is the first collaboration between the leading Finnish design manufacturer and the renowned Japanese industrial designer, whose work is characterised by formal restraint and thoughtfulness.
The collaboration between Artek and the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has been going on for several years now. At this year´s Salone del Mobile the Finnish manufacturer presented ’10-unit system’ by Shigeru Ban under the motto “One chair is enough”. The modular system consits of only one element. With a minimum of ten pieces one can create chairs of varying designs, stools, coffee tables, and even combine them for benches and more.
We had the pleasure to meet Shigeru Ban on the Artek stand in Milan.
Shigeru Ban on his '10-unit system' he developed for Artek
Shigeru Ban was setting new benchmarks with his famous bamboo structures long before sustainable building became part of the agenda of many architects. For the Finnish manufacturer Artek the Japanese designer has now developed a modular furniture system which once more illustrates the principle of using resources economically.
As a bench
It is based on L-shaped units that can be combined in all sorts of ways to make furniture – a chair, a table, a bench. Putting furniture together and disassembling it is made easy by the ingenious yet simple design.
The single elements of the system
10-UNIT SYSTEM is made from UPM ProFi, an environmentally innovative wood plastic composite. Its principal raw materials are recycled paper and plastic. The composite has proved to be tough and humidity resistant. It is an environmentally sustainable material that can be disposed of by incineration, or recycled back into the production process. All materials in the composite are non-toxic.
Artek at Salone Internazionale del Mobile, April 22-27, 2009 Hall 12 Booth C 14
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