Zaha Hadid Design launches wooden furniture collection Seyun with Karimoku

Seyun chair by Karimoku and Zaha Hadid Design

Zaha Hadid Design has unveiled its wooden Seyun chairs and table, which were designed to “stand the test of time”, at the historic Museo Bagatti Valsecchi during Milan design week.

It is the international launch of the collection, which comprises a chair, an armchair and a table in different sizes, with the Seyun chair having previously been introduced in Japan.

Seyun chair in Milan
The Seyun chair has a distinctive shape

The Seyun line was made by Japanese wooden furniture maker Karimoku for Zaha Hadid Design, with the two companies working together on the collection during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, its origins go further back, with the project having begun before the untimely passing of the studio’s founder, architect Zaha Hadid, in 2016.

“The design was developed at the time, so it was something she [Hadid] did see,” Zaha Hadid Design director Maha Kutay told Dezeen.

“She would have seen the chair and it was one piece that she actually liked herself, that she was keen on getting produced.”

View of Seyun chair
It is on show at Museo Bagatti Valsecchi

Working with Karimoku was also a nod to Hadid’s fondness of Japan, Kutay added.

“I think one of the first projects Zaha did was in Tokyo, she did an interior for the Monsoon restaurant, so she always had a soft spot for Japan,” the director said.

The Seyun chair is made from pieces of turned wood, which leave a distinctive gap where they meet.

Making the seat was “completely different” from what Karimoku had done before, the company’s executive vice president Hiroshi Kato told Dezeen.

“The structure of the Seyun chair is completely different from traditional chairs,” he said. “In the case of traditional chairs, you have two front legs, a seat and a backrest.”

“A Seyun chair is different, it consists of three asymmetric parts,” he added. “We also understood that Zaha Hadid Design wanted to create everyday furniture, so the chair had to be practical, comfortable and durable.”

The Seyun chair and armchair are available with both natural and metallic colour finishes. The metallic colours have been carefully calibrated to preserve the pattern of the wood.

Close-up of Seyun chair by Zaha Hadid Design and Karimoku
The chair comes in wood and natural and metallic finishes

The table, which comes in two sizes, has a similarly distinctive design. The patterns of the smaller and larger table match, meaning that they can be combined as a modular design to create larger units, such as for offices.

According to the studio, the aim of the collaboration – which began with just one chair – was to create furniture that would be suitable for everyday use.

“We are looking at the everyday chair, something that you can use in the living room, that you can touch and feel on a daily basis,” Zaha Hadid Design director Woody Yao told Dezeen. “It’s not like a chair sitting in a museum.”

“With this chair, it’s all about something that is certified, that can stand the test of time, not just structurally but design-wise,” added Kutay.

The Seyun collection could be further expanded in the future, according to Zaha Hadid Design.

“I think we see there’s a lot of potential with the design to expand into a full collection,” Kutay said.

The photography is by Luke Hayes.

Seyun – Zaha Hadid Design for Karimoku takes place from 18 to 23 April 2023 at Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, Via Gesù 5. See our Milan design week 2023 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.

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