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The designer and director

The making of the Nychair X

The designer and director

First contact between Takeshi Nii and Makoto Shimazaki

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Makoto Shimazaki (left) and Takeshi Nii (right)

Nychair X was first designed by Takeshi Nii, and its design is supervised by Makoto Shimazaki. The two met for the first time in Tokushima near the end of 1960. Shimazaki had been a research fellow at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Denmark. In Copenhagen, he also studied woodcraft in a training program offered by a municipal technical institute under the tutelage of Professor Børge Jensen. Later, the professor was invited to a tour across Japan by the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency to deliver lectures for making better furniture. Accompanying the professor as an interpreter, Shimazaki met Nii during the lecture visit to Tokushima.

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In 1989, Shimazaki planned and organized an exhibition of folding furniture as a special side event to the International Furniture Fair Tokyo. A part of the venue was dedicated for displaying 21 chairs devised by Nii.

A furniture fair was held at the same time as the lectures, and there Shimazaki saw the light foldable chairs with metal legs designed by Nii for the first time. He was struck by the fact that a Japanese person could design them.

In the following year, Nii visited Shimazaki’s office in Tokyo to consult on the naming of his chairs. Shimazaki named them “Nychair” as a compound of chair and “ny”, which means “new” in Danish and sounds similar to the surname of Nii.

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"True chairs should be affordable and useful as a tool, without compromising comfort"

Designer Takeshi Nii (1920 – 2007)

Takeshi Nii is a Japanese designer who devised Nychair X. He was born as a third-generation member of a family in Tokushima Prefecture that has produced and sold training gear and equipment for kendo and judo. Convinced that "true chairs should be affordable and useful as a tool, without compromising comfort", he strived to "devise a chair loved by everyone, like Japanese curry rice".

Nii was born in Tokushima Prefecture in 1920. He began to work in his family business right after his graduation from a junior high school. After World War II, the General Headquarters of Supreme Commander for Allied Powers (GHQ) banned the production of training gear and equipment for martial arts. The ban prompted him to undergo training in woodworking at a vocational center and set up a wood mill called Benrido with his father. In 1952, he began to produce and sell furniture. In 1956, he released a small wooden foldable chair. In 1969, he established Nii Furniture Ltd. and began selling Nychair X in 1970. He released Nychair X Rocking and Nychair X Ottoman in 1972. Until his death in 2007, he kept on creating many more outstanding foldable chairs that are also prized both in Japan and beyond.

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"Nychair X is an excellent chair in every respect"

Design Director / Professor Emeritus at Musashino Art University Makoto Shimazaki

Makoto Shimazaki has named the Nychair series and supervises its design. He values Nychair X for meeting all the six conditions expected of good chairs – namely, 1. sitting comfort, 2. durability, 3. light weight, 4. affordable price, 5. attractive shape, and 6. beauty and stability retained in a folded form.

Makoto Shimazaki graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1956 and went on to learn furniture design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts as a research fellow. He mingled with Danish designers like Hans J. Wegner, Finn Juhl, Børge Mogensen, and Poul Kjærholm. As a leading expert on Nordic design and an advocate of living design, he engages in interior and product design and organizes numerous exhibitions and seminars on furniture and interior design. His published writings include Ikkyaku no Isu: Sono Haikei [A chair with its background], Kenchiku Shiryo Kenkyusha, and Utsukushi Isu [Beautiful Chairs] Vols.1-3, EI Publishing.

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Designer and Director

How was Nychair X born?

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Commitment to craftsmanship

Thorough domectic manufacturing with thought put into each part

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History of Nychair X

From the birth of Nychair X in 1970 to the present day

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The chair that could only have been made with a uniquely Japanese sensibility. A piece to be proud of in 21st century

by Makoto Shimazaki (Professor Emeritus, Musashino Art University)