Taichiro Nakai for La Permanente Mobili Adjustable Wall Cabinet in Teak
Taichiro Nakay (Nakai) for La Permanente Mobili, bookcase, lacquered iron, teak, glass, brass, maple, ca. 1955
Taichiro Nakai is an incredibly talented Japanese designer who is mostly known for his participation at the Selettiva del Mobili competition in Cantù. During the twentieth century, Cantu was considered the Italian city of furniture. However, after the war, Cantu was unable to catch up with the rapid changes and advances and there were more foreign countries such as Scandinavia who, with their styles, grew in popularity and formed a massive competition for Cantu. Therefore, Cantu needed to renewal their designs that were often outdated, in order to stay up to date with trends and gain new popularity. In the spring of 1954, the board of Cantu decided to launch an international prize competition for furniture designers that would in order to revive the economy of the local design and draw attention to Cantu. The “Selettiva del Mobile” was born and would be organized every two years up until 1975. Set up as a real international competition, it brought together designers from all over the world such as Franco Albini, Gio Ponti, Ico Parisi, Paolo Buffa, Ettore Sotssas, BBPR, and many others. The selection for received projects was done by the Concorso Internazionale del Mobili, a highly qualified jury.
Taichiro Nakai made his notable debut during the exhibition held from September 17th to October 5th, 1955, unveiling this distinctive wall cabinet. While similar models would follow suit, this cabinet stands as the original embodiment of the concept. Notably, it is the sole version that allows for the outer columns to be adjusted forward, allowing for different configurations. The structural framework in black lacquered iron adheres to a minimalist zigzag pattern, creating a sleek and understated aesthetic. The composition is composed of three columns, each uniquely configured to accommodate various open and closed storage units. One can hide its personal belongings by situating them behind closed doors, or alternatively, opt for a clean and open layout by arranging them upon shelves.
Overall, the 1955 edition was incredibly interesting thanks to the exceptional jury consisting of Gio Ponti, Alvar Aalto, Carlo De Carli and Finn Juhl. It was furthermore possible to win prices. As did Taichiro Nakai. With his presentation of a living room design, Nakai won a special prize together with Finish designer Ilmari Tapiovaraa and the Milanese architect Eugenia Alberti Reggio. It is easily understandable why Nakai had attracted the attention of the jury. With his salon, he had analyzed the market clearly and he was able to create designs with Japanese principles as well Italian constraints. His lines are simple and clean yet energetic and organic, all characteristic for Japanese creations. The structure of the storage unit feels similar to a Franco Albini bookcase, but is carried out with Japanese geometric simplicity.
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