Itoki Comes to the Big Apple!

Like anyone out there with one eye on the conundrum of the world’s dwindling resources, I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of the “global marketplace.” To be sure, globalization has its upside—foremost of which, for design, is the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific exchange of conce How To Get Ex Boyfriend Back pts and products that keeps the industry vivacious—but overseas manufacturing and its concomitant costs of domestic job loss and heavy fossil fuel use is an unsustainable practice at best.

Spina. Manufactured by Itoki Design.

So it’s great to hear that Japan’s Itoki, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of contract furnishing, has decided to increase its presence in the U.S. market not by augmenting exports, but by founding a whole new company arm: Itoki Design, “a cross-cultural endeavor encompassing a blend of Japanese technology and know-how, European design philosophy, and American manufacturing,” will debut their all new American collection at next month’s ICFF.


PM Chair. Manufactured by Itoki Design.


CC Table. Manufactured by Itoki Design.

Award-winning industrial designer Jeff Miller, who has collaborated with the parent company for the past five years, will head the new venture as Creative Director, along with President Yoshi Konishi, who’s worked closely with Miller as the U.S. Liaison. The idea is to get the best of both worlds. Itoki Design aspires to create furnishings specifically for the U.S. market (manufactured in Michigan, no less) that have the flair of Europe and the production savvy of Japan. Miller sums up the objective nicely: “The overarching goal is to be clever about production, doing simple things to create interesting, well-priced pieces. More importantly, each of our designs will be modern and streamlined and will include essential functional characteristics.”

Itoki’s reputation is founded on the fortuitous combination of good design and price sensitivity. Known the world over for producing appealing modern furnishings that won’t break the bank, Itoki aspires to bring this consumer-friendly approach stateside. A preview of the new collection does not disappoint.

The CC Table is a handsome, strong, and lightweight modular affair. Its adjustable steel tube legs promise a plethora of shapes and sizes, and its extensive range of tops (powder-coated for durability and uniform finish) are available in an impressive array of solid-color laminates, wood, and glass. Somewhat resembling the original Eames (also recalling the work of up-and-coming Michiganite Will Oltman), the PM Chair is a stylish, versatile, and eminently portable addition to the office. With a rainbow of matching mesh and finishes in natural or painted wood, the PM Chair is “a new paradigm for comfort in the workspace.” And lastly, in the tradition of Allsteel’s Acuity, there’s Spina, an ergo and eco-wise (made of 96% recycled components) desk chair. Spina features “Passive Seat Slide,” a mechanism that lets the seat sink backwards to accommodate user weight, and “Active Lumbar Support,” which allows the backrest to move forward, thus taking up space in the lower-back region to keep that all-important lumbar curve intact. The beauty of this task chair is that it responds automatically to bodily idiosyncracy, thus eliminating the need for those perpetual manual adjustments that never seem to help anyway.

With such an appealing first portfolio, not only has Itoki Design established a stateside presence that’ll keep the dollars rolling in, they’ve also left us with a real yen for what’s to come.

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