Keech Design

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The New KUMU chair
Posted by: Annette Gelling on 12th Mar 2008 in Keechdesign News

A new chair by David Keech and James Johnson of getMADE is launched this week. It is simple, lightweight, strong - some even say beautiful...

Johnson and Keech have designed plenty of furniture - but always as client or project based ventures. This time they decided to pool their experience and design a chair without the client umbilical cord. A chair that would be born out of the ether, rather than extracted out of a commercial brief. KUMU, the chair, appeared in the studio as a series of 1:5 scale card models after only two days of blood sweat and tears.

Like all serious actors, who must at some point in their career land a Shakespeare role, all designers worth their salt must at some point tackle a chair. During his time at Foster and Partners, David worked on the iconic Kite! chair for Tecno and James spent many a happy hour developing folding cinema seating with an eye on the Japanese market (it doesn't get much harder than that) after graduating from the RCA.

But there were other reasons for developing a home-grown chair. We at Keechdesign adore Eames, Panton and Jacobsen, and will not hear a word said against any of them, but to put it respectfully, could it be that the interior mags, Sunday supplements and style guides are ever so slightly over populated with these design classics and their myriad imitations? Also, if you ever get involved in the business of specifying chairs for interior projects, you'll know how hard it is to find a fresh one.

So, about our chair. The word KUMU is Japanese and means to put together or assemble. This fits perfectly as the chair comprises of only five components that lock together to form the structure. For the technically minded among you, the seat and back tie the leg components, and are therefore in tension, while the back legs and front leg (it's a single piece) are locking against one another, and therefore in compression. Real design freaks out there will also notice the Golden Section making its graceful appearance. Add to this the fact that there are no screws or mechanical fixings, and that KUMU is machined out of a single sheet of 18mm plywood, and you have our new offspring.

Friends, clients and suppliers have described KUMU variously as elegant, architectural and even funky. We like the modestly short yet effective Japanese word kirei.

At the moment KUMU is batch manufactured by Form Design and Build in Cornwall. I should add that Matt Keech, MD of Form, and who breathes, sleeps and even eats timber was highly instrumental in getting this chair off the drawing board.

KUMU is also due to make its Japanese debut in Orihica's prestigious storefront at Omotesando in Tokyo, probably in May. Keep checking the blog for updates!

The price of the chair varies according to quantities ordered and what materials are used. For further information on lead times and availability please use the contact page on this website.