Japanese designer Teruhiro Yanagihara first visited Stockholm Furniture Fair back in 2005, when he appeared in the Greenhouse – the fair’s section for up-and-coming designers. It was here that he was discovered by Offecct, the Swedish company that he has worked closely with ever since.
“Although, geographically, there is a huge distance between Japan and Sweden, the difference between us is not so great – in fact we have many things in common. It’s easy for us to communicate, we have a shared philosophy.”
We wonder whether Mr Yanagihara has in any way been inspired by Scandinavia in his work as a designer?
“Very much so. It’s also the reason why this was the destination for my first trip abroad as a young student. I had read about Scandinavian design in a book and immediately wanted to go here. I visited Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen. This was before I came and exhibited in the Greenhouse!”
Had you already decided that you wanted to work with Scandinavian companies?
“Yes. So when Kurt Tingdal (CEO) and Anders Englund (Design Manager) from Offecct came to my stand in the Greenhouse 15 years ago, it was like a dream come true!”
Although Kurt and Anders thought the product Teruhiro Yanagihara had on display was absolutely beautiful, they felt that it didn’t quite fit in with the philosophy behind Offecct’s range. But there was no giving up. Three years later the gentlemen met up again in Tokyo, since Teruhiro had designed a sofa specifically for Offecct and this time it went much better.
Now that Terushiro Yanagihara has many visits to Stockholm Furniture Fair under his belt, what does he think about the fair?
“Compared with Milan, it’s much smaller and more compact, but the fair is always top quality, so it’s important to come here and meet all our industry colleagues.”
Sustainability is one of the fair’s themes – how much do you think about this in your work?
“I’m optimistic and I think companies are working hard on sustainability. Scandinavian design – like my own – is based on simplicity and natural materials, which makes the topic a natural part of the process. I also work as an interior architect, and it’s the same there. Taking account of the climate is just such an obvious thing to do. However, at the moment Japan is making slightly slower progress on this issue than you are here in Sweden and Scandinavia.”