When couturier extraordinaire, Issey Mayake, set the XXIst Century Man design challenge in 2008, we had a feeling that the responses would catch our attention.


See more images of the Cabbage Chairs in situ in the Friedman Benda gallery
The brief, taken up by a selection of internationally renowned designers, was ‘to create an object that would convey how man lives in the 21st Century’. With Mayake’s environmental agenda directing proceedings, the resulting offerings had little margin for malfunction.
The Cabbage Chair (pictured above), from Tokyo-based design troupe Nendo, and constructed from recycled, sliced and folded rolls of paper was one of the most successful responses to Mr Mayake’s brief.
It comes as little surprise then that Nendo’s Cabbage Chairs have recently sprouted up in a rather different context. The latest exhibition at New York’s Friedman Benda Gallery - ‘Ghost Stories’ – sees forty of the billowing chairs take residence in an eerie lunar landscape constructed expressly for the show by Nendo.
The ‘constellation’ of chairs, (all in various shades of grey) dot the space amid thousands of achromatic strings, trailing from ceiling to floor - distorting and pixelating the synthetic backdrop of Nendo’s Martian vegetable patch.
Delicate and slightly weird, ‘Ghost Stories’ does much to affirm the growing stature and significance of eco-aware design. Originally cultivated in response to a brief routed in the woes of the world, the Friedman Benda’s latest show has shot Nendo’s startlingly simple Cabbage Chair into a new dimension – where, let’s face it, it clearly belongs.