Exhibition: Surviving long into the future---50 chairs passing down their DNA
―From the collection of Keiji Nagai― Friday, 26 July ~ Sunday, 24 November 2019

ATELIER MUJI GINZA Gallery 1 will hold an exhibition of 50 chairs that pass down their DNA to the future inherited from a single chair that has been in production for the longest time in the history of modern design.

The starting point of the story is Chair No. 14 made in 1859 by Gebrüder Thonet in Vienna that laid the foundation for mass production by perfecting the new technology of bending solid wood. The chair was received with great surprise at the time for a structure and design that eliminated unnecessary parts and reduced transportation costs to a minimum thanks to its knock-down structure. Chair No. 14 sees its 160th anniversary this year.

The bentwood furniture maker Gebrüder Thonet increased the number of its factories in areas abundant in beechwood and mass produced chairs while expanding variations. In the 1920s, Thonet further contributed to production of chairs made with bent tubular steel devised by Marcel Lajos Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in cooperation with Bauhaus, and played a part in the production of cantilever chairs that became another structural revolution after bent-wood chairs.
The wood bending and tubular steel bending technology spread globally, and many unique chairs using these methods have been made in Japan as well.

In this exhibition, a chair is considered to an organism, and an attempt is made to visualize its network of DNA through 50 chairs made with bending technologies. It will also be a rare opportunity where design archetypes and variations, remix, and outstanding models are assembled under a single roof.

Ways of looking at “new” designs may change when the continuing “tree of life” of chairs is deciphered. We would be delighted if we could share with you this opportunity to contemplate the secrets behind objects that are not merely consumed and discarded but live long, useful lives.


Friday, 26 July ~ Sunday, 24 November 2019
Opening times:
10:00 ~ 21:00
ATELIER MUJI Gallery 1 (6F, MUJI GINZA), Admission free
Keiji Nagai (Interior designer)
Graphic design:
Yuko Higashikawa
Site construction:
HIGURE 17-15 cas
Planning and Management:
Household Division / Household Design, Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd. and ATELIER MUJI GINZA (MUJI GINZA)
ATELIER MUJI GINZA, 6F MUJI GINZA, 3-3-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061