The Butterfly is by no means the most comfortable seat on the market, but it is arguably the most beautiful. It is also a classic example of the East-meets-West modernism developed by the Japanese designer Sori Yanagi in the mid-20th century. What is interesting here is the application of Western materials and techniques to traditional Japanese shapes. The stool is made of two identical moulded-plywood sheets (an American and European innovation) joined by a metal rod. The resultant form is one of symmetry and elegance that is reminiscent both of a butterfly’s wings and a torii, the traditional gate found at the entrance to a Shinto shrine. Today it is produced by Vitra and comes in three varieties: Cherry (440 x 455 x 335mm), £420, Palisander, £415, and Maple, £305 (both 390 x 420 x 310mm). Vitra: 020-7608 6200.
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