10 Unit System by Shigeru Ban



Milan 09: At the Milan Furniture Fair next week, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban will launch a furniture system designed for manufacturers Artek.


The system comprises L-shaped components that can be combined to make various items of furniture.


The pieces are made of a composite material, primarily composed of recycled paper and plastic.


Here's some more information from Artek:



Salone Internazionale del Mobile, April 22-27, 2009 Hall 12 Booth C 14

The catchword for the future of design is intelligent consumption. As the current economic situation pushes consumers towards more conscious choices, rational thinking and sustainable values will become vitally important and relevant.


In the spirit of its radical founders, Artek invests in materials research and engineering, in the development of systems and standards, and in long-lasting design.



Designed by Shigeru Ban, the 10-UNIT SYSTEM is a novel furniture concept that will be launched in Milan in April 2009. The fully modular system is based on L-shaped units that can be combined in all sorts of ways to make furniture – a chair, a table, a bench. Putting furniture together and disassembling it is made easy by the ingenious yet simple design. The standard colours of the 10-UNIT SYSTEM are black and white; other colours are available on request.



The highly ecological and ethical 10-UNIT SYSTEM is made from UPM ProFi, an environmentally innovative wood plastic composite. Its principal raw materials are recycled paper and plastic. The composite has proved to be tough and humidity resistant. It is an environmentally sustainable material that can be disposed of by incineration, or recycled back into the production process. All materials in the composite are non-toxic.



Artek, Shigeru Ban and UPM continue their collaboration from earlier years. "Space of Silence", the Artek Pavilion designed by Shigeru Ban for the Milan Triennale Garden in spring 2007, was built from the UPM ProFi wood plastic composite. The pavilion was based on a structural unit that was repeated multiple times to form an elongated exhibition space. The Artek Pavilion was extraordinary proof of the efficiency of systems thinking and repetition, distinctive of Ban’s architecture and design. The pavilion was sold at Sotheby’s sale of Important 20th Century Design in 2008.

Artek is renowned as being one of the most innovative contributors to modern design, building on the design heritage of Alvar Aalto. The high standard and long life of its products attest to Artek's ideology of environmental responsibility and sustainable development.

See all our stories from Milan in our special Milan 09 category.

Posted on Tuesday April 14th 2009 at 5:35 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Brett

    Shigeru Ban is the man and this project illustrates why.

  • m0saique

    Creative and hopefully affordable

  • Very amatuer approach. needs to work more on development

  • phil

    you are calling a man exhibiting in Milan an amateur :)

  • modular

    Thanks for the censorship on my comment Dezeen!

  • Dajajas

    I like it…

  • modular

    phil… lol. You pay and you exhibit in Milan. Btw, go to Milan and have fun watching the THOUSANDS of designers/companies that have their products there :)

  • Hemi

    Finally the new Artek “L” leg.. I like it. Lots.

    Is it just me or are the Japs shaping up to dominate this Milan?


    I’ve seen this before by someone else, but I don’t know who.

  • led

    not high enough for a Shigeru Ban, system wise its ok, lookwise not exciting……………………

  • Terry Glenn Phipps

    While it makes no sense to say that every design owes a debt to another, it seems to me that this project is already in the canon of Frank Gehry. Gehry produced easy edges with greater ease, sculptural effect, less material, a more ubiquitous material, and less need of Legos engineering. Furthermore, the design language was more expressive.

    It is surprising to see a project like this from Shigeru Ban. From this architect I would have expected a vision as clear and concise as that of Fritz Haller.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

  • Mert Yilmaz

    I like the logic of the unit…it reverses and stacks to create front and back legs, and rotates to make a chair back, but the end results are pretty boring pieces of furniture in my opinion. Not to mention I do not know of anyone who will transform the base of their coffee table into a bench or a an extra chair when they have company over, so really I find the whole concept kind of stupid.

  • Prof. Z never Says that : April 14th, 2009 at 9:32 pm
    Very amatuer approach. needs to work more on development

    Shigeru Ban is not an amateur, i cannot write that but i have seen this concept of chair may be one hundred times in Milan, Koln, Paris, Courtrai fairs … in a lot of design anthologies and on the web

  • … may be also the L-Unit System (1993)…. a vintage

  • Seriously… loads of students have this in their sketchbook….and at first glance it seems like a cliche…

    ..but this is the first time I’ve seen it look fresh. It’s right on a number of levels that all the other projects missed. Ban – true to the Japanese way of designing takes something that’s been sitting there forever and shining just a little new light on it.

    It’s not a jaw dropping project…but that’s how the Japanese are – just consistently good – without shouting about it.
    The world needs more of them.

    Congratulations Nihonji, you win again.

    …..I realise that’s a generalisation – but it’s also pretty much true.