There have been whole books written about the visual language of comics. A curlicue above someone’s head means he’s dizzy. Straight lines shooting out of an object means it’s moving fast. A series of lines coming out of an object that trace increasingly smaller hills means it’s bouncing. And so on.
Now, here comes the prolific Japanese design firm Nendo, applying that language to a bunch of… chairs? For the upcoming Milan design fair, Nendo created 50 chairs for Friedman Benda, each of which adapts one design element from manga, or Japanese comics, into an otherwise stock design.
So one of Nendo’s chairs has stars shooting out of it, which in manga usually means a character is stunned. Another is surrounded by a swirling vortex, showing it’s dizzy. Another has straight lines shooting up from it, making it look like it’s falling, while its sister chairs have similar lines coming from the left and right, making it seem as if they are speeding. There’s a wobbly kneed chair, a jittery chair, and even a chair with a speech bubble coming out.
The chairs are otherwise as simple as they can possibly be in material, texture, and geometry. That was a deliberate decision, says Nendo. The firm notes that manga tends to be in black-and-white, an effect mimicked by their chairs’ stainless steel construction. Even the way that each chair is made up of a series of squares and rectangles reflects the grid-like structure of a comic page.
Designed for Nendo by Oki Sato, the 50 Manga Chairs will be on display at the Milan design fair from April 12 through April 17.
All Photos: via Nendo