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Chair by Ray Komai, c. 1949-50

Although Ray Komai was principally a graphic designer, this chair is probably the most well-known of all his designs.

He began designing furniture for the J. G. Furniture Company in the late 1940s after carrying out advertising work for the company. His moulded plywood chair was influenced by an interest in origami and the furniture of Charles and Ray Eames. He was also greatly influenced by abstract artists including Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee as well as tribal masks from Africa and New Guinea.

The owner of the J. G. Furniture Company described Komai coming up with the design for this chair in a meeting in around 1948 – Komai held up a piece of paper and folded it into the shape of the seat, with a vertical seam running down the back.

Chair by Ray Komai
Museum number: W.5-2019 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2019

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