Please join in MARUNI factory tour as follow;
11 designers are announced now.
NEXTMARUNI PROJECT had already requested same theme "Wooden Small Chairs" as the competition.

@@Alberto Meda
@@Harri Koskinen
@@Jasper Morrison
@@Kanji Ueki
@@Kazuyo Sejima@
@@Masayuki Kurokawa
@@Michele De Lucchi
@@Naoto Fukasawa
@@Shigeru Uchida
@@Tamotsu Yagi

The work submission period has started.
The application period has started.
5th Design Competition
"Wooden Small Chairs"
The bulletin has announced.

MARUNI Inc. which has been producing and selling wooden furniture for 76 years since 1928, is now planning to start a new business dealing with the new type of furniture based on completely new concepts from those Maruni has kept so far. According to this purpose, the designs of small chairs to be commercialized are widely sought for.


The theme eWooden Small Chairsf
MARUNI Inc. a Japanese furniture company is now seeking for ethe designs of small chairsf whose conceptual theme is eMessages for Japanese thoughts and esthetic sensesf. Wefd like you to propose your own ideas of small chairs that represent your own understanding of eJapanese thoughts and their esthetic sensesf. That is, as it were, the designs of small chairs as ea dialogue with Japanese culturef. This does not necessarily mean, however, that we are expecting the designs of small chairs of Japanese style. We are asking you to fully express the modern designs that come from the depth of your existence having grown in the stimulus from Japanese sense of beauty.
The works being requested should be both excellent design works and commercial products. They should be realistic ones from the viewpoints of their production process, prices but, at the same time, they should also be of attractive designs. We are looking forward to receiving the ideas that are realistic but still full of challenging spirits.

*Small chairs are defined as the chairs with no arm rests, which you sit on at various occasions in your daily lives such as meal time, study, work, etc.

Ref.1 What is Maruni?
Ref.2 Eight Manifestations of the Japanese Aesthetic

The required conditions
1. It should be the small chair as an archetype
Small chairs are considered to be the origin of all chairs. They are like stumps or rocks that wanderers find in the wilderness and sit on. We believe that such things are the very origin of small chairs.

2. It should be both a design work and a commercial product.
The designs of the small chairs asked for should be excellent both as design works and as commercial goods. The products wefd like to sell in our business must be wonderful design arts as well.

3.It should be the small chair to be sold permanently.
The designed small chairs are to be sold as Marunifs permanent collection works= goods as long as Maruni as a furniture company keeps on its business. Therefore the designs for them should be eexcellent ones as their archetypes.f

4. It should be the small chair as a message for Japan and Japanese people.
The designs of the small chairs should be the ones that represent your own understanding of eEight Manifestations of the Japanese Aestheticf

The restriction of their production process
The main material must be wood. The combination of the frame parts shouldbasically be made by dowel (wood nails=the short nails or bars made of woodto be inserted in the holes made on the surface of wood main parts for themto be combined.) or tenons and glue. If you have any other suggestionsconcerning the way of its composition, they will be accepted, though. Theuse of plywood should be limited only to its sub-material. The use of metalparts should be held to its minimum.

The judge for the competition is a product designer, Naoto Fukasawa with the support of Maruni's ' NEXTMARUNI PROJECT COMMITTEE, whose task is to examine the technologies and the costs necessary for the commercialization of the products.


Born in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, in1956. Graduated from Tama Art University's Product Design Department in 1980. From 1980 to 1988, Fukasawa worked as a designer at Seiko Epson Corp.. In 1989, he traveled to the United States, where he joined ID Two, the predecessor to IDEO. In 1996, Fukasawa returned to Japan and set up the IDEO Tokyo office. In January 2003, Fukasawa went independent and established Naoto Fukasawa Design. In the past, Fukasawa's designs have won more than 40 design awards in Europe and America. In 2003 he won the Mainichi Design Award. Recent designs by Fukasawa the mobile phone INFOBAR for KDDI/AU. Set up a new product brand, }0, collaborating with Toy company,@Takara Co., Ltd, and publisher Diamonds Co.,Ltd, in the area of home electric appliances and sundry goods design.

Currently, Fukasawa is a lecturer in the Product Design Department at Tama Art University. He also acts as the director of Tokyo AAD Studios, as well as serving as a member of both the advisory board for quality design and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry strategic design research society. At the invitation of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, he exhibited his work "Personal Skies" in their "Workspheres" exhibition. In Japan, he has been involved in the planning, design and publication of exhibitions including "Design Dissolving in Behavior" and "Optimum", which was sponsored by the Japan Design Committee in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

The Awards
Grand Prix (Given to one work):
Grand Prix Award is given to an excellent work that agrees with the theme of this competition.
< The Award Winner will receive 300,000 yen as the initial loyalty fee and after the work has begun to be commercialized, the running loyalty fee depending on its sales price will be paid. The initial loyalty is, however, paid as a part of running loyalty payment in advance.>

Several Selected Works:
The excellent works that have the future possibility of theircommercialization will be taken up as Selected Works.
ƒ The creators of the Selected Works will make the two-year prioritycontract with sponsoring company for the consideration of theircommercialization. If they are decided to be commercialized, the runningloyalty for them will be paid after their production starts.>

The Announcement Of The Competition Results
We have requested 11 world-famed designers to design a small wooden chair with the same theme of this DesignCompetition. The work that won the Grand Prix Award in this competition willbe introduced in the ExhibitionsĠ held in Milan and Tokyo and in the bookentitled The Dialogue With Japanese CultureĠ to be published later alongwith the 11 works designed by 11 world-famed designers. Designtope will announce only the name of the Prize Winner because of thenature of this competition of commercializing the Prize Winning work(s). Thedetails of the work that won Grand Prix Award as well as Selected works areplanned to be after their commercialization that will be in April of 2005.

Schedule (Times and Dates are according to Japan time)
The Schedule for the year 2004
April 19(Mon) --- July 19(Mon): Application Period
April 26(Mon) --- July 31(Sat): Work Submission Period
August 9(Mon) --- October 10(Sun): Viability Examination Period for Presented Works
October 13(Wed): Final Review and Decision of Grand Prix Award Winning Work, Decision of Prized Works (The results will be notified to their designers.)
October 20(Wed): Period for Final Trial Production of the Work (The trial product will be manufactured through the opinion exchanges between its designer and the competition sponsors.)

The schedule for the year 2005
In the mid-April: Exhibitions, Press Release are to be held.
A book, eDialogue with Japanese Culturef will be published.

The qualifications for the application
No restrictions are set such as your status, jobs, ages, nationalities, etc. And both individuals and groups can participate in the competition.

Application Method
Fill in the application form in the web-site and send it. Later you will receive your application number and password by e-mail. Please keep the application number and the password for the work submission as they are required when you submit your work to the competition site. You can submit more than one work but you need to make an application for each of your works respectively.

The conditions and the method for the work submission
Requirements: 3 visual images and two paper texts

1. Comment A: 'The title of the work and what you want to express by your designs with their special characters.'
The language used for the text is to be English. Those who speak Japanese should put the text In Japanese along with English one. The maximum length for the Comment A is 400 words in English and 200 letters in Japanese.

2. Comment B: 'The Message for Japanese Esthetic Senses.'
The language used for the text is to be English. Those who speak Japanese should put the text In Japanese along with English one. The maximum length for the Comment B is 800 words in English and 400 letters in Japanese.

3. One three dimensional visual image showing the main design
500 x 500 pixel (only RGB / in JPEG format / within 100kb)

4. The technical drawings of the work seen from the three angles.
Detailed measurements and required materials have to be shown in them.
500 x 500 pixel. GIF animation will also be accepted. (only RGB / in GIF format / within 300kb)

5. One detailed drawing with the measurements and the materials
500 x 500 pixel. GIF animation will also be accepted. (only RGB / in GIF format / within 300kb)

*Each of the presented visual image files should have the name in English-one-byte characters with the file extension of (-jpg/-gif).

Example: compefile1.jpg, compefile2.gif

The method for the work submission
The period for the work submission Apr.26---July 31. 2004
The submission and the reception of the works are done on the web-site. When you have the required forms, three visual images, and the two text-files (Refer above) ready to be sent, please complete the registration process for your work(s) following the instruction of the application form for the work submission (Click the eWork Submissionf button in the web-site and follow the instruction). Remember we will not accept the works submitted in the form of attached files to e-mails.

1. Donft put any information on any of the images from which the applicant may be identified.
2. The images can be in any forms. For example, they can be photos of a model, hand-drawn sketches, 3D computer graphic images, etc. It is totally up to the applicant.
3. The presented works are limited to unreleased ones.

<Concerning various rights>
The rights concerning the presented works such as their copy rights, intellectual property rights belong to their presenters. The right for their commercialization is, however, to belong to MARUNI Inc. And the sponsor will hold the rights to keep, record, exhibit, publish and advertise the presented works for free.

<Concerning award-winning works>
In the case that any award-winning work is revealed to be an imitation, a piracy, etc, which possibly impinges the intellectual property rights of other individual(s) or organization(s), the award will be nullified even after its announcement.

<Concerning the treatment of personal information>
None of the personal information put on the application form etc. is to be revealed to any third person other than MARUNI Inc. and DESIGNTOPE. The great attention is paid to the protection of personal information by all concerned with the competition.

Direct inquiries to:
DESIGNTOPE Competition Secretariat


However, details regarding selection standards will not be disclosed. Please refer to the instructions on the registration form and the FAQs regarding questions on application procedure.