A chair, as taut as a bow
Kyudo by Konstantin Grcic for Magis
May 7, 2014

Anyone who’s ever held a bow in their hands, has spanned it, and cut the air with an arrow, knows how fascinating the sport is. Archery has something archaic about it, brings to mind hunting with a bow and arrow. And archery, or so Zen masters have taught us, also involves calmness and power. Only if you are fully earthed, will your arrow fly to its target.

In Japan the ancient art of Kyūdō (Japanese Kyū = the bow, Dō = the path) is still practiced, a form of archery using a plain longbow that dates back to the Samurai. The tension in the bow, which is then transferred onto the arrow by the string, evidently fascinated Konstantin Grcic: For his “Kyudo” chair, which he presented in the Magis booth at the Milan Salone, he combines beechwood veneer with layers of carbon composite, a combination of materials such as is also to be found in modern sports bows. Konstantin Grcic manages to skilfully transpose the material’s properties onto furniture design, creating manifold new possibilities along the way. Evidently, this special veneer can be bent even across small radii without losing its shape. Meaning that it’s both elastic and stable.

However, we’ll have to be content for a while yet and stay curious to see the sound-and-simple cantilever chair, whose unusually long rockers with their dynamic logo somehow, perhaps invariably, resemble skis: In Munich (Konstantin Grcic) and in Torre di Mosto (Magis), the word is that Kyudo is still a prototype that will most probably never go into production, but simply marks the beginning of development work for a future furniture collection to be made of precisely the pioneering materials Kyudo uses. Whether our concentration will be as keen when sitting on a chair that is taut as a bow as it would be drawing the bow and waiting to let the arrow fly is anyone’s guess…

Beechwood veneer with layers of carbon composite: “Kyudo” by Konstantin grcic for Magis is a prototype for a bigger collection. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark