Traditional Japanese architecture that has a direct influence from Eastern cultures but has gone through unique development in Japan, has a strong affinity with the architectural works of Peter Zumthor. Since ancient times, the Japanese have long regarded spirits to dwell in water, rocks, and trees, believing in living in harmony with nature. Japan has also been home to rich artisanship and wooden architecture, which were imported from China and Korea 1,500 years ago, introduced along with Buddhism. Even in a climate prone to natural disasters, the use of materials such as wood, stone, earth, and iron have sustained architecture for more than a thousand years. The traditional Japanese techniques developed over time with such materials have many connections with Zumthor’s architecture and philosophy, in a way that they both utilize the essential characteristics and presence of the materials to create a permanent atmosphere.

Not a single decorative element is found in the furniture by Peter Zumthor. The functionality is the design, beauty, and its sole existence. The relations between every material and structure, form and detail, are there for a reason. Each material has its unique properties, with both advantages and limitations. How one makes the most of its characteristics depends on how long one has spent studying the material. Only with experience, the coexistence is realized between true functionality, the durability of the material, and universal beauty. In a sense that Zumthor’s furniture creations have the functional beauty of tools born from necessity, we believe they have a lot in common with the universality of traditional Japanese architecture and crafts.

In the production phase of the collection, we rented a gallery in Chur, Switzerland, to examine the prototypes with Peter Zumthor. We asked him to touch the corners of the Working table that was made as per the drawings, where he realized were too sharp. Later we sent three different samples of the corners from Japan, responding to his request to chamfer the edges. “This sharp edge is me in my thirties, this edge is me in my forties and fifties…” he described, tracing with his fingers the samples with rounder and softer edges. While touching the roundest edge with his palm, he continued to jokingly yet concisely compare his transition in the furniture design to the shape of the tabletop corners, “This edge is what I am in my sixties.



スイスのクールにあるギャラリーを借りて、ズントー氏とコレクションプロダクトのプロトタイプの検証を行ったとき、図面通りに製作したWorking tableの天板の角を直接触ってもらいました。その際、彼からテーブル天板のエッジが鋭角すぎるのでもう少し丸く面取りしたものを製作してほしいという要望があり、私たちは後日、日本の工場で3種類のエッジのサンプルを製作してスイスに送りました。オリジナルよりも大きく、柔らかに面取りしたそれぞれのサンプルを彼は指で触りながら、「この鋭いエッジは私の30代、このエッジは40~ 50 代…」、そして最も丸く削り取られた優しいエッジを手の平で撫でながら、「このエッジは60代の今の私だな」と、天板のエッジの形状と彼の年齢による家具の在り方の変化を、冗談を交えながら丁寧に教えてくれました。

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