Japan meets Sweden: Jin Kuramoto and His New Chair Maki

Japan meets Sweden: Jin Kuramoto and His New Chair Maki
By Ekaterina Larsson

I met Jin Kuramoto two years ago at Stockholm Design Week. We met at a party and talked, and I had no idea that he would go on to win the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019 for his chair Jin for OFFECCT. One designer selected among 55 countries and 5000 products! I was very impressed!

Image: OFFECCT

Image: OFFECCT

So this year I decided to go and check out his presentation for the new lounge chair Maki for OFFECCT . Some background info about Jin: He graduated from Kanazawa College of Art in 1999 and founded his studio in Tokyo in 2008. He works with furniture, home electronics, cars and fast-moving consumer goods. His clientele include companies such as Arflex Japan, Toyota, Nikon, Audio-Technica and Honda. He has previously designed a few pieces for Offecct: apart from the Jin chair, the Wind table and Wind room divider.

At the presentation OFFECT served sushi and sake – very appropriate for the occasion! When presenting his new chair Jin told us that he likes playing with the materials before he even has a clear idea of what and how he will design the chair. The name Maki came from Maki sushi. I pointed out that Maki is also a female name in Japan. He said: “Yes, I called it after an ex-girlfriend, haha!”

Image: Ekaterina Larsson

“The chair can be used to work, rest, meet and wait – as a lone icon with a strong personal presence or together in different formations”, said Jin Kuramoto.

The form offers active, flexible seating, which makes it natural to change position. The innovative backrest can also be used as support while standing. The unconventional shape with an open hollow space in the back is inspired by a maki roll – a production challenge requiring Offecct ́s craftsmanship.

“You can fit a cat in there as well, like a cat house, haha”, adds Jin.

The form of the chair is based on minimalism and rationalism, a design culture that is common for Japan and Scandinavia, while its scope of use allows free diversity that is increasingly popular in various public environments.

Image: OFFECCT

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