Background

Born in 1915, Sori Yanagi attended art school in Tokyo and graduated in 1940. He assisted Charlotte Perriand from 1940–41 while she was consulting for the Japanese Ministry of Trade on arts and crafts. In 1951, he won the first Japanese competition for industrial design and set up his own studio the following year. Today, he is in his early 90s yet continues to design.

Best known for

In 1954, Yanagi designed his most famous furniture item, the Butterfly stool. The simple sculptural plywood design was inspired by a meeting with Charles Eames, who was working on his famous moulded plywood furniture for Herman Miller. Yanagi also worked with plastics manufacturer Kotobuki, producing, among other things, a polypropylene stacking stool, recently reissued by Vitra as the ‘Elephant’ stool.