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Ishinomaki stool

Stool
2011 (designed), May 2015 (assembled)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This small stool, designed by Tokyo-based architect Keiji Ashizawa, is part of a range of simple furniture produced in Japan by the Ishinomaki Laboratory. Its design sprung from the relief effort which followed the devastation caused by 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a disaster which claimed over 3000 lives in the city of Ishinomaki.

A number of architects and designers, mostly Japanese, have designed for the workshop, attracted to its programme of socially-motivated design. Initially, all furniture produced by the factory was constructed from standard lengths of red cedar, fitted together in various ways and assembled using only a screwdriver or hammer. This simple production process allowed the furniture to be built by locals, without specialist skills. The consistency of material and construction gives the collection a unified aesthetic, regardless of who designed each piece. This stool, one of the Ishinomaki Laboratory’s first designs, was intended as a step-stool to be used at the entrances of temporary housing.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Red cedar, assembled from a flat-pack
Brief Description
Ishinomaki stool; Keiji Ashizawa for Ishinomaki Laboratory; Ishinomaki, Japan; designed 2011, made 2014-15
Physical Description
Small flat-pack stool of red cedar, joined by screws. The seat is formed by two plankss over supporting A-frame legs.

Dimensions
  • Width: 40cm
  • Height: 42cm
  • Depth: 30cm
Measurements taken from product specs
Production typeMass produced
Credit line
Given by Rupert Faulkner
Object history
Given to the V&A in 2015 by Rupert Faulkner [RF 2015/269]; received as a flat-pack.

Historical context
This small stool, designed by Tokyo-based architect Keiji Ashizawa, is part of a range of simple furniture produced in Japan by the Ishinomaki Laboratory. Its design sprung from the relief effort which followed the devastation caused by 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a disaster which claimed over 3000 lives in the city of Ishinomaki. Ashizawa came to Ishinomaki shortly after the tsunami to help a friend rebuild his ruined restaurant. Instead, the restaurant’s ground floor became the first premises of the Ishinomaki Laboratory, a workshop where local people effected by the disaster could come to learn to build and repair furniture. Collaboration with Herman Miller allowed the Ishinomaki Laboratory to subsequently expand into a manufacturing enterprise and the profits generated have been used to revitalise the local economy.



In Japan it is considered poor etiquette to wear shoes inside the house, so generally they are left in the entranceway. This stool, intended for use both in and out of doors, allows a visitor a place to remove their footwear before entering a dwelling.

Summary
This small stool, designed by Tokyo-based architect Keiji Ashizawa, is part of a range of simple furniture produced in Japan by the Ishinomaki Laboratory. Its design sprung from the relief effort which followed the devastation caused by 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a disaster which claimed over 3000 lives in the city of Ishinomaki.



A number of architects and designers, mostly Japanese, have designed for the workshop, attracted to its programme of socially-motivated design. Initially, all furniture produced by the factory was constructed from standard lengths of red cedar, fitted together in various ways and assembled using only a screwdriver or hammer. This simple production process allowed the furniture to be built by locals, without specialist skills. The consistency of material and construction gives the collection a unified aesthetic, regardless of who designed each piece. This stool, one of the Ishinomaki Laboratory’s first designs, was intended as a step-stool to be used at the entrances of temporary housing.

Collection
Accession Number
W.4-2015

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record createdApril 9, 2015
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