from now through july 4, 2021, ATELIER MUJI GINZA in tokyo explores the universe of windsor chairs in collaboration with ‘the windsor department’. as its name suggests, the windsor department is a design study group of the historical chair founded by three designer units: taiji fujimori, inoda+sveje, and drill design. 2021 marks ten years since the group was established, and MUJI is celebrating with an exhibition dedicated to its studies, including documents and maquettes showing the thought process of the group, ten chairs, each developed by one of the designers, as well as historical models redesigned in the past.all images ©️ ATELIER MUJI GINZA
back in 2019, ATELIER MUJI GINZA held the exhibition ‘surviving long into the future’, which showcased 50 bentwood and bent-pipe chairs including the classic ‘no.14’ model, whose original design was developed by bentwood technique pioneer thonet. this year, the gallery’s ‘surviving long into the future’ focus shifts to another iconic piece of design: the windsor chair. the exhibition presents the activities of the windsor department and its founders; taiji fujimori, drill design, and inoda+sveje.
the windsor department’s activities center on searching for ‘windsor-style articles’ that feature the forms, atmosphere and charms of the iconic seating piece. their experiments started in 2011, seeking out consciously why this chair’s form and presence had been so attractive to them. the three designer units have been working on creating modern forms of windsor chairs, each with their own approach. one of the notable points is that their activities find value in re-designing the chair’s original form and evolving it into the future.
in this exhibition, organized by MUJI, all things around the windsor chair are presented in one place. the chair’s origin is said to have come from the practical chairs made by joiners in the english town of windsor and its surrounding area in the late 17th century. they were to be used by the general public and farmers, and were characterised by ‘having a thick wooden seat into which the legs and spindles are directly inserted’, said windsor chair researcher, ivan sparkes. the windsor chair exhibition at ATELIER MUJI GINZA is a nostalgic yet somehow very modern ‘re-design’ workshop to weave time and memories into forms.