Jean-Marie Massaud, an internationally recognized designer, designs products for global companies. Playing a role in the international interior design industry, he designs products for many interior product brands. Most of his work is acknowledged as the flagship products of those brands. He has formed his own view of the world in the global product design market for over the last 15 years. He leads the world of product design. We met Jean-Marie at a booth at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan in 1999, where both of us ran booths. During the exhibition, we also became acquainted with peer designers Patrick Chia from Singapore and Tomoko Azumi from London. We still maintain deep friendships with them, as if we were classmates, because we share the feelings of designers who have worked in the same industry during the same period.
We had conflicts with Jean-Marie many times during the development of this chair due to our lack of skills and experience. He experienced psychological stress as we proceeded with product development. In Japan, a huge investment is needed to produce the shell of a chair made of polyurethane. For instance, the manufacturing costs for this product are equivalent to the annual development costs of our whole company. In contrast, European manufacturers develop a coherent sales policy and are willing to make substantial investments if necessary to produce their objective.
In other words, the EU market leads the global market. European manufacturers, who have sales channels all over the world, are focused on their global potential. On the other hand, none of the Japanese manufacturers have yet to establish sales in a global market. I agree that we have geographic and physical challenges, as well as distance limitations, but I think that the nature of the problem is deeper. The shell of this product, manufactured by a Thai automobile factory, is imported to Japan. Then, the seat cushion is attached to the shell chair, and the wireframe base, manufactured in Yamagata Prefecture, is jointed to the shell. The name of this shell chair is Aki, meaning autumn in Japanese. The seat cushion is placed on the chair as if the cushion were floating on an organic shell. It represents the image of a water drop on a leaf.