SORI YANAGI

1915-2011
Japan

« True beauty is not made, it is born naturally. »

• Sori Yanagi •

Sori Yanagi is one of the most important designers, not only in Japan but also from an international point of view : the « Butterfly » stool has become one of the most iconic works in the world.

He studied art and architecture at the Tokyo Art School in 1934. Then, he became Charlotte Perriand’s assistant between 1940 and 1942 during her trip to Japan. This experience has a huge influence on her work but it also marks a whole generation of Japanese designers. Sori Yanagi is at the forefront to discover European Modernism and reflections on industrial design thanks to his collaboration with Charlotte Perriand. In 1947, he studied these fields and he won the first prize in the Japanese Industrial Design Competition and finally created the « Yanagi Industrial Design Institute » in 1952.

1954 is a fruitful and wonderful year : Sori Yanagi creates two of his most emblematic pieces, the « Elephant » and « Butterfly » stools. This one is a true poetic materialization of the meeting between the East and the West. This creation is exemplary for more than a reason. It conceived according to the curved laminated plywood technique, jointly initiated and developed by Eames, Aalto and Jacobsen : its two similar wings, like butterfly ones – hence its name – are connected to each other by a simple brass rod. This type of seating did not exist in Japanese culture : so its function is from Western, but its form borrowed from Orient, reminding both Japanese ideograms and torii, these portals marking the entrance to Shinto temples. The « Butterfly » stool is an hybrid work : it is a simple and organic creation, in its form and materializes the perfect union between industrial design and Japanese craft tradition.

His love for Japanese craftsmanship is essential in his work : he is the son of Sōetsu Yanagi, founder of the Mingei movement. This one celebrates Japanese ancestral know-how and the beauty of everyday objects. Sori Yanagi has an inventive vision and became director of the Museum of Popular Arts in Tokyo in 1977.
Sori Yanagi is one of the most influential and prolific creators of his time : he creates furniture, lightings, toys, dishes, cars, motorcycles, but also a tape recorder for Sony, or metro stations. Sori Yanagi is a true Jack-of-all-trades : he created the Tokyo Olympic Summer Torch in 1964. It is a consecration for this designer showing to the world the vitality of modern Japanese design.

Polymorphic creator, he is deeply imbued with the philosophy of Le Corbusier. He is one of the most important designers of the Post-War period : he is essential to understand the imbrications between the East and the West. He never stopped create functional objects for real needs, without ever forgetting the tradition of his native country •

CATALOG :

Butterfly stool

SORI YANAGI1954

Butterfly stool

SORI YANAGI1954

Monjiro stool

SORI YANAGI1974

Butterfly stool

SORI YANAGI1957

Butterfly stool

SORI YANAGI1957