[UPDATE: Yoshioka's studio has sent us more images and information about the chair above; scroll to the bottom for the news]
The year's biggest design event, the Milan Furniture Fair, is still two weeks away, but the previews are already trickling out. And we bet this ends up being best in show: Japanese design master Tokujin Yoshioka has sent us images of Memory, a new chair for Moroso made from a "special fabric with recycled aluminum." Which sounds like super-thick aluminum, to us.
Yoshioka's known for some brilliant, subtle explorations of material and form—including a chair made of paper-like cloth; another made of living crystal; and still another, inspired by bread, made of plastic fibers baked in a kiln.
The new chair, Memory, can be shaped to the user's whim (just like a sheet of aluminum foil). As Yoshioka writes, "This is a chair of an unlimited variety of forms...[It] might remind us of the beauty in nature with its ever-changing expressions, and also create impression as if there is no presence of design." Which is kind of a fascinating way to think about.
There's actually precedent for this sort of move, too—albeit with a lot less poetry, and a lot more rage. One of Droog's most iconic pieces is the Do Hit Chair, from 2000. It comes as a metal cube, with a sledgehammer. Then you shape the thing as you see fit:
Back to Milan 2010. Yoshioka will also be bringing back those living crystals in a chandelier for Swarovski. It starts as a scaffolding dipped in a mineral bath; slowing, crystals form around the scaffolding:
And last but not least, he's also creating a stunning fixture made of straight up Swarovski crystals:
UPDATE: Yoshika's studio adds that the fabric is "softer than expected," and that the chair can be readily reformed. Apparently, Yoshioka conceived the chair several years ago, but it took a year of materials experiments and over 50 scale models to finalize the design. Here's some more pictures of the process.
A closeup of the fabric, which has layer of sandwiched aluminum to give it shape, in its raw form:
A detail of the fabric and chair, when finished:
A few of the dozens of discarded scale models:
And a variation of the chair that will be offered in black: