Zaishu Stool: Eco-Friendly Flat-Pack Furniture As Social Art Project

Images: Zaishu Design Studio

Designed with economy of materials, transportation and assemblage in mind, we're big fans of flat-pack furniture that's done well, especially when it's got a bit of pizzazz to it. The Zaishu Stool by Australian design duo Matthew Butler and Helen Punton scores on all these points, but goes even further: it's conceived not only as an eco-friendly product but also as a wider, participatory social project and collaboration with artists and non-profits around the world. How can a simple stool do so much?


'Zaishu' derives from the Japanese word 'zaisu', which refers to a seat without legs that's used in the traditional Japanese homes. Indeed, the ingeniously simple slotted design of the Zaishu stool/table has unmistakable Zen overtones to it: there's no need for fasteners or adhesives, and the stools themselves are hand-made with sustainably-harvested Australian hoop pine wood and painted with water-based inks and varnishes.



It's deceptively strong too: weighing only 3 kg (6.6 lbs), the stool itself can hold up to 150 kg (330 lbs) - perfect for any potentially rambunctious applications.


Like a collective collage, a mosaic of artful meaning, the Zaishu Stool is a launching point for a larger social collaboration with artists who provide the diverse faces for various limited edition runs that end up in galleries, homes and schools. From "traditional Indian sign-writers, graffiti artists, school kids, tribal artists", Zaishu's emphasis is on an inclusive social responsibility:

Our art projects with artists and non-profit community and school groups are acclaimed internationally by galleries, design magazines and customers for their interactive and creative focus. Zaishu Studio uses furniture design to celebrate culture and encourage social unity.


Unfortunately, according to their blog, the printing studio has been closed as the designers are working on new ideas (though you can still purchase the last stools here). But true to the zaisu essence, it seems that with the right spirit, inspiration and means, a simple stool can go a long way.

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