SANAA’s unmistakable signature is evident in this emblematic chair designed by Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima, which embodies the design philosophy of the firm.
Shapes of Nature
SANAA’s distinctive design is unmistakable in some emblematic furniture. The main source of inspiration for the firm is identifiable in animals and nature, following the idea of balance and lightness. One of the major pieces is undoubtedly the “drop chair”, designed for the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, in Kanazawa. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa designed a raindrop-shaped armless chair, completely made in aluminum. The raindrop is the perfect example of balanced change, which by falling down causes a movement, making a moderate ripple on the surface of the pond. The material reflects the surrounding, imparting a sense of lightness to the structure, strengthened by three thin chair legs, still made in metal. Another important piece found in the museum is the Nextmaruni armless chair, designed keeping in mind the rabbit ears and realized in natural birch. SANAA also collaborated with Alessi, producing a tea service in sleek stainless steel. The boilers are all shaped like apples and pears, adding a natural touch to such an industrial aesthetic.
About the Firm
SANAA is a Japanese firm founded by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa in 1995. The brand has established itself on the international stage as one of the major and most impactful architectural firms of the 21st century. The unmistakable signature of the brand is the distinctive minimalism, which made SANAA protagonist of projects like the New Museum in New York, the circular production facility of the Vitra Campus, as well as the serene Louvre-Lens in France. The duo behind SANAA is composed of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. Sejima was born in Tokyo, where she studied Architecture. After the degree, she opened her own studio, and was later rewarded as Young Architect of the year by the Japan Institute of Architects. Ryue Nishizawa graduated with a Master’s degree in Architecture at the Yokohama National University, and during this period he met Sejima. After a collaboration lasting for several years, Nishizawa and Sejima founded SANAA, or “Seijima and Nishizawa and Partners”.
All About Inclusiveness
SANAA’s distinctive style is focused on the brand’s ultimate goal: to encourage interaction with the environment and the architecture. This philosophy leads to abstract, minimalist space, not rarely transparent. This minimalism is oriented to the personalization and interpretation of the surroundings, with no preconception, promoting the idea that a building is not completed until it is inhabited. This immaterial physical space seems to show no materials, as a blank canvas: glass, concrete and soft structure, in addition to a magistral use of light, draw ephemeral forms, helping the visitor to focus on the social dimension of a building. SANAA’s philosophy is as far as possible from an aseptic vision of the building as “white box”, but is an attempt to draw the attention on the deepest essence of the architecture: the human beings.
A case point is the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa which embodies the concept “city within a city”, containing smaller rectangular volumes surrounded by a transparent circle. In this way was created a pattern-breaking space, which promotes the free circulation between different zones. SANAA’s Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland underlines the focus on humanity and the sociality of the firm. This minimalist space refuses every form of barrier, featuring an open space lit by large windows, which create a play of lights on the neutral environment. The grouping is encouraged also by shared spaces, circular tables and chairs, to promote sharing knowledge and team working.