As a field of study, Design is young. General history of art starts around the 15th century but history of design dates back to the 1980s. Work of academics, researchers and actors of art market allowed to do some discoveries : thanks to this effervescence, creators and creations emerge. And substantive work must be started to (re)discover hidden treasures.
Some designers have been forgotten and the Japanese Taichiro Nakai is one of them. But forgotten does not mean without talent. And he’s not a complete uncharted person. Indeed, we know some of his creations, especially the pieces he created for the contest « Prima Mostra Selletiva del Mobile », in Cantù, Italy, from September 17 to October 5, 1955.

Like Milan and its Triennale, Cantù was an important place : since the 1900s, important collaborations have been formed between architects and craftsmen. However Cantù did not follow the progresses of the first half of the 20th century because of industrialists crisis. Cantù had lost its former splendor. After the Second World War, local people,in partnership with the Milan Triennale, wanted to create a fair to revive the economy of local design : the « Prima Mostra Selletiva del Mobile », organized every two years between 1953 and 1975.
Real international furniture competition, this fair brings together creators from around the world : Franco Albini, Gio Ponti, Ico Parisi, Paolo Buffa, Guglielmo Ulrich, Carlo De Carli, Eero Aarnio, Ilmari Tapiovaara, Ettore Sottsass, Taichiro Nakai, Angelo Mangiarotti, BBPR, and many more.
The chosen programs by a qualified and experienced jury were realized by the local producers and finally exposed :  perennial and interesting collaborations between distributor and designer are created. 

The 1955 edition was one of the most interesting thanks to its exceptional jury composed of Gio Ponti, Carlo De Carli, Alvar Aalto and the Danish designer Finn Juhl. These famous virtuosos awarded special prizes to two foreign designers : the Finnish Ilmari Tapiovaara and the Japanese Taichiro Nakai were crowned with success.
It is easy to understand why the creations of Taichiro Nakai attracted the attention. For the occasion, he draws a living room. This design is characterized by a great and ambivalent intelligence. He analyzes his market without ever denying his convictions : he adapts Japanese principles to Italian constraints. The lines are simple, clean, energetic and organic : these are the essential characteristics of Japanese creations ; then the straight lines – armchairs for example – reminds creations of Gio Ponti and also evoking the folding of an origami ; the structure of the storage cabinet, similar to a library by Franco Albini, carries with the Japanese geometric simplicity. Undoubtedly the freeform sofa is the most captivating piece of the booth, a tribute to the « Freeform Sofa » of the great Isamu Noguchi, designed in 1946.

There are stimulating discoveries and the work of Taichiro Nakai is one of them •


Freeform sofa