Water Lily by
Ryuji Nakamura

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Japanese designer Ryuji Nakamura used crayons to draw thin lines of colour along the rods of these gridded benches (+ slideshow).

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

The Water Lily benches by Ryuji Nakamura began as oblong grids of powder-coated stainless steel rods.

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

The designer then used coloured pencils to draw four thin lines along each rod, and sealed the colour with clear lacquer.

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

Seen from a distance, the colours blur together to create a single soft colour, a technique that Nakamura says was inspired by Impressionist painters.

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

The bench was part of Mark-ing London, an exhibition of work by British and Japanese designers organised by the British Council at Gallery Libby Sellers earlier this month.

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

During last year's London Design Festivalnine benches by designers including Jasper Morrison and BarberOsgerby were placed in the garden of the V&A museum.

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

We've also featured include a bench system based on the iconic Barcelona chair and benches upholstered with bare foam mats – see all benches on Dezeen.

Here's some more information from the designer:


This is the bench whose structure is grid constructed with stainless steel round rods. It is painted in six different colours with coloured pencil, and if you walk around it, the outward appearance of the overall colour changes according to the point of the view.

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

The outward form is a rectangular parallelepiped that has six surfaces, and a different colour is given to every surface. Since the grid is made with the fine round rods, the surface of each one of the round rods is painted in four different colours.

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

This grid has 1080 segments, so the numbers of the surfaces to be painted in different colours is 4320 – that is, quadruple of 1080. Since the area of each colour is very small, their colours are mixed and are recognised as one colour.

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

Although the numbers of colours used is only six, since the ratio of colours mixed changes with angles continuously, infinite colour will appear. I made this bench as if I drew a picture, inspired by the thought of the pictures by Impressionists where many subdivided colours make the overall appearance.

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

Title: Water Lily
Function: Bench for exhibition Neoreal in the Forest
Date of manufacture: 2012
Size: W 1600mm / D 400mm / H 400mm
Material: 2.6mm stainless rod, coloured pencil

Water Lily by Ryuji Nakamura

Finish: Powder coating + coloured pencil + clear lacquer
Client: Canon
Producer: TRUNK
Design: Ryuji Nakamura & Associates (Ryuji Nakamura, Makiko Wakaki, Ran Tanaka)
Fabrication: Otti design works, Ryuji Nakamura & Associates

  • young designer

    Stunning – this is the promise of what design can offer.

    • http://www.moloko.lt mlk

      I think it’s too much of an idea, and not much of a design. Too conceptual, too pure.

  • http://www.dailygrail.com Red Pill Junkie

    Aesthetically pleasing. Ergonomically? Not so much.

  • http://www.brgstudio.com nulla

    VERY subtle.