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This $750 Chair Is Held Together By Ultra-Precise Wood Joinery

The N01 for Fritz Hansen is a piece of classic wood craftsmanship with a minimalist twist.

Screws. Bolts. Brackets. Steel. You won’t find any of these components in the new N01 chair, designed for the Danish furniture brand Fritz Hansen by the Japanese studio Nendo. Instead, the 23 wooden pieces that make up the N01 seem to be attached by force of will alone.

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[Photo: Takumi Ota/courtesy Nendo]
In reality, Nendo relied on ultra-precise wood joinery to assemble the pieces of solid wood and veneer without large gaps or seams–a process that requires each chair to be produced by hand, and likely contributes significantly to the $750 price tag. It’s worth it, however. This rare joinery gives the chair a lightness that’s hard for your brain to reverse engineer. While the seat itself sits on a relatively thick interior frame, the rest of the chair looks almost impossibly nimble. Note how the seat itself floats over the front legs, leaving a gap of air, that the armrests continue through the seat back, ignoring its structural support entirely, or that the legs are tapered to make them appear more slender.

[Photo: Takumi Ota/courtesy Nendo]

Nendo was given a wide berth when developing the N01. “The brief was to design a new wooden dining chair that would be comfortable, and meet their aesthetic requirements at the same time,” the company writes. “Our goal was to finalize a chair which is contemporary, yet maintains the traditional and historical feel of the brand.”

Wood itself became the common dialect between Danish and Japanese styles, Nendo tells Co.Design. Meanwhile, the N01’s casual curves and inclines are meant to pay homage to Fritz Hansen’s famous Swan and Egg chairs, both of which were designed by the legendary Arne Jacobsen. However, the N01 looks to have a lower back than either of those chairs–a design decision meant to make it easier to put many N01s in a large room or public area without blocking sight lines or creating what Nendo calls “noise” in the space.

If you’d like to acquire an N01 for yourself, the chairs are available to international markets starting around $750 apiece.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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