The Cabbage chair was created for an exhibition organized in Japan by Issey Miyake, who challenged his contemporaries to conceive of new products for the twenty-first-century. What types of furniture and objects are appropriate, Miyake asked, for people who “don’t just wear clothes, but shed their skin?” He invited Oki Sato of Nendo to find a use for pleated paper, a material employed to process the signature fabric featured in Miyake’s garments. Vast amounts of this material are discarded as a by-product of the manufacturing process. The Cabbage chair is a compact roll of paper that the user opens up and peels back, layer by layer, to create a soft and resilient enclosure for the body. Resins added to the paper during the original production process give it strength and memory, while the pleats make the paper springy and elastic. The poetic and practical Cabbage chair is a direct, minimal transformation of an industrial waste product. Its pod-like skin unfurls to reveal a luxuriant and expansive interior. It has no internal armature, and it requires no finishing, assembly, or hardware.
About the Author
Ellen Lupton is Curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.