Butterfly Stool by Sori Yanagi (1954)

The Butterfly Stool is crafted of two lacquered molded, L-shaped plywood ‘wings’ that barely touch in an arrangement that gives the seat its name, and are held together with a central slender brass rod and fasteners; it’s an evocative, elegant, quietly revolutionary design. An optional upholstered cushion insert is also available, though it somewhat spoils the purity of the design. While thoroughly modern, the Butterfly has a distinctly Asian look, the ply shapes giving a flowing, calligraphic impression. This stunning little creation won a gold medal at the Milan Triennial in 1957 and hasn’t looked back since. Originally produced in Japan by Tendo-Mokko Ltd. It is currently also manufactured by Swiss company Vitra in 2 versions; a rosewood ply veneer or a pale maple veneer. In a totally unique way The “Butterfly Stool” blends Eastern shapes with the technique developed by Charles and Ray Eames of shaping plywood. The gently curved silhouette is reminiscent of the wings of a butterfly. The Butterfly Stool comes in 2 sizes, designed by Sori Yanagi in 1954.
Sori Yanagi worked from 1940 to 1942 in the office of designer Charlotte Perriand. In 1952 he founded the Yanagi Industrial Design Institute, which created a prolific number of articles of daily use and furnishings. Sori Yanagi’s organic forms combine western industrial designs with Japan’s native artisanal traditions. This successful synthesis made Sori Yanagi one of the most significant Japanese designers of the post-war era.

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