Fritz Hansen joins forces with Japanese design studio nendo to launch N01 – a sculptural and highly detailed chair that is handmade with 23 pieces of timber. Read on to discover more about this design, which marks Fritz Hansen’s first solid timber chair in 60 years since the Grand Prix in 1957, and to see images of Fritz Hansen’s installation during Milan Design Week to introduce it for the first time.
Created by the merging of Danish and Japanese aesthetics and purity, N01 brings back nature and embraces the essence of timeless wood craftsmanship.It is a very honest design that tells the story of the warmth of wood and of uncompromising quality. The creation of the N01 chair requires a meticulous attention to the construction.
The chair is constructed as a puzzle consisting of 23 wood pieces in a mix of solid wood and veneer. While the chair is assembled by hand, each piece is crafted industrially at a Belgian family-owned wood manufacturer founded 1924. The puzzle-like assembling ensures that the construction rich in detail comes across as seamless as possible in the design. Uncompromising precision is key and even the smallest inaccuracies will cause the production to start over.
To showcase this chair for the first time, Fritz Hansen invited nendo’s Oki Sato to takeover its Brera showroom and present an installation. The result is a calming white-on-white installation, complete with white drops of layers of thin paper to form the backdrop to highlight the design details. Here, we share images of this inspiring installation, along with a short Q&A with nendo’s Oki Sato.
What inspired you to design the N01 wooden armchair for Fritz Hansen?
Fritz Hansen is known for highly skilled moulding techniques using plywood, and their wide experience with comfortable seating has contributed to their unique style. The plywood technique has been used in many of their chairs such as the AntTMand Series7TM. It was exciting to learn that Fritz Hansen has not made a solid wooden chair for many years, not since the Grand PrixTMchair by Arne Jacobsen in 1957.
How does the design match the brief from Fritz Hansen?
The brief was to design a new wooden dining chair that would be comfortable and at the same time meet their aesthetic requirements.Our goal was to finalise a chair which is contemporary, yet maintains the traditional and historical feel of the brand.
How would you describe the creative process, from idea to the development of the chair?
This process of product development was one of the highlights of my 15-year long career as a designer, and one that I really enjoyed. It truly was a collaborative process between Fritz Hansen and us, one that was coordinated between Copenhagen and Tokyo. The whole experience was quite unique. Every time we visited the workshop in Alleroed outside of Copenhagen - almost every month at the final stage - a new prototype welcomed us. We have put into practice things we noticed, repeatedly reviewed, discussed, and reviewed again many times over. There was no compromise—especially in the final phase of development—with totally achieving the targeted strength and comfort levels of the chair.
In your opinion, what do you like the most about the design? Which feelings or emotions does it evoke?
Both sides of the seat have a gradual incline, helping realise a comfortable seating experience, as if one’s body is being embraced. In my opinion, this part of the design has this in common with the identity of the flagship chairs of Fritz Hansen, the SwanTMand the EggTM.
How does the chair combine Japanese and Danish Design?
Both Japanese and Danish designs have a great respect for wood as a material, and also for the craftsmanship related to this. Having this in common, in spite of the distance or cultural difference, it was possible for us to immediately ‘speak’ the same language in the process of product development. Last but not least, it is not designed for the sake of design. Instead, the design follows the function and the practical requirements of the chair.
N01 is available in black coloured oak, natural oak and beech with optional seat cushions in fabric or leather. It will be available in Cult showrooms from June 2018.
Photo Credit | Cult Design and courtesy of Fritz Hansen.