Emeco's eco-friendly stool by Nendo is "a system
rather than a single piece of furniture"

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Milan 2014: Oki Sato of Nendo explains the concept behind the SU stool, which is based on American furniture company Emeco's iconic Navy Chair and which which features interchangeable seats made from recycled and reclaimed materials (+ movie). 

SU stool by Nendo for Emeco
SU stool by Nendo for Emeco with eco-concrete seat and aluminium legs

"Emeco is about providing tools for architects and interior designers and I think SU is really in line with that," says Sato in the movie, which was commissioned by Emeco. "This is not just about designing a single piece of furniture, but it's more like a system."

SU stool by Nendo for Emeco
SU stool by Nendo for Emeco with recycled plastic seat and aluminium legs

SU, which means "plain" or "unadorned" in Japanese, was launched by Emeco last month in Milan. The stool's seat is detachable from the legs so that customers can mix and match different leg heights, finishes and seat materials.

SU stool by Nendo for Emeco
Sketch by Oki Sato

"It's a single screw that connects the seat and the legs together," Sato explains. "So the customer can decide the finish or the materials of the seat or the legs. The legs we have in three different finishes and three different heights."

SU stool by Nendo for Emeco
SU stool by Nendo for Emeco with a reclaimed oak seat

The seats are available in reclaimed oak, which is sourced from old barns in Pennsylvania, an eco-friendly concrete consisting of 50% recycled glass bottles, as well as recycled plastic, cork and aluminium in a matt or mirror finish.

SU stool by Nendo for Emeco
SU stool by Nendo for Emeco with eco-concrete seat and aluminium legs

"Gregg [Buchbinder, Emeco CEO] showed me a range of eco-friendly materials that we could use and we were supposed to choose just one or two," says Sato. "But we said, 'Why don't we use all of them?'"

SU stool by Nendo for Emeco
Emeco SU stool and Navy Chair side-by-side

When it came to designing the form of the stool, Sato says he didn't have to look far for inspiration.

"The idea was to make a stool in line with the Navy chair, the icon of the Emeco brand," he says. "From the Navy Chair we used the contour of the seat, which is what creates the comfort even though it is a metal seat. We also [took inspiration from] the profile of the legs, which have very flat surfaces but also curves, which creates the visual softness of the chair."

Oki Sato of Nendo
Oki Sato of Nendo

The music featured in the movie is a track called I Could See You As A Mayan by American musician Brian Lewis Smith. You can listen to the full track on Dezeen Music Project.