Taichiro Nakay for La Permanente Mobili Cantù Sofa


Taichiro Nakay (Nakai) for La Permanente Mobili, sofa, wood, painted metal, fabric, Italy, 1955.

Rare free-form sofa designed by Japanese designer Taichiro Nakay and presented at the Selettiva del Mobili competition in Cantù. In his designs, Nakay often adopts a combination of Italian and Japanese characteristics. His lines are simple and clean yet energetic and organic, all characteristic for Japanese creations. Because of the curved edge, the streamlined form is balanced out. Thanks to the elegant shape of the sofa, in combination with the sleek lines, it radiates grace. It forms a true tribute to the “Freeform Sofa” by the great Isamu Noguchi from 1946. Overall, Nakay’s designs were marked by a great and ambivalent intelligence.

Taichiro Nakay 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 Therefore, Cantu needed to renew their designs that were often outdated, in order to stay up to date with trends and regain popularity.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 Nakay participated during the edition from 17th September to 5th of October 1955 in which this sofa was presented. 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, Nakay won a special prize together with Finish designer Ilmari Tapiovaraa and the Milanese architect Eugenia Alberti Reggio. It is easily understandable why Nakay 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 that blend easily with the Italian style. His lines are simple and clen yet energetic and organic, all characteristic for Japanese creations. The free-form sofa was without a doubt his stand's most captivating creation. It forms a true tribute to the “Freeform Sofa” by the great Isamu Noguchi from 1946. Overall, Nakay’s designs were marked by a great and ambivalent intelligence.

Please note that the depicted photographs show the sofa that was one of the highlights from our Morentz stand at Design Miami Basel 2022 where it was quickly sold to a collector. Luckily we were able to source another Nakay sofa which can be reupholstered in a similar fashion by our specialized team of craftsmen, obviously using the original materials and techniques. The last photo shows the sofa in its original condition. This sofa is well-documented and the provenance can be shared upon request.

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Product Details

  • condition Good
  • creator La Permanente Mobili Cantù (Manufacturer) Taichiro Nakai (Designer)
  • date of manufacture 1955
  • dimensions Height 29.14 in. Width 94.49 in. Depth 54.34 in. Seat Height 17.33 in.
  • dimensions Height 74 cm Width 240 cm Depth 138 cm Seat Height 44 cm
  • material Fabric Metal Wood
  • origin Italy
  • period 1950-1959
  • style Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • barcode 50112567