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When Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa began his first collaboration with American furniture-maker Emeco, he was surprised to discover that the brand’s classic Navy Chair family was missing a key member. “I was happy to find that this symbolic icon didn’t yet have the simplest round stool,” Fukasawa says. “Because that meant I could design one.” 

Fukasawa poses with a bar-height Za Stool.

Applying his trademark approach to design – simple, elegant and purposeful – Fukasawa developed the Za stool. Meaning “a place to sit” in Japanese, Za is a “modest and humble” seat that’s intended for use just about anywhere, inside and outside. The handmade piece – produced in recycled aluminum at the brand’s Pennsylvania factory using a complex 77-step process – is envisioned by both the designer and the manufacturer to be an heirloom that is cherished and passed down through generations. 

Fukasawa appointed the perch with a unique and carefully considered seat shape: An almost indiscernible depression creates a subtly raised rim that “catches the tailbone,” making it easy and comfortable to sit on while also allowing for fidgets and movements.

This deliberate gesture was born of Fukasawa’s desire to give people “a happy mood when sitting” and to create an object that invited an unconscious choice to linger. Lightweight yet undeniably durable, Za is available in three heights (small at 47.6 cm, counter at 63.5 cm and bar at 76.2 cm) and a range of finishes: hand-brushed or hand-polished aluminum or powder-coated in six colourways (dark grey, white grey, light blue, coral orange, sweater brown and green).

The recycled aluminum structure (Emeco’s signature material) is also impervious to modern disinfectants and anti-microbial cleaners and has a minimum carbon footprint of 8.42 kg CO2e.

Emeco’s Za Stool is a Study in Ergonomic Simplicity

Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa’s first contribution to the American brand merges craftsmanship with consideration.

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