ARK01 is a minimal chair created by Tokyo-based designer Toshiki Omatsu. Omatsu has been designing chairs using aluminum for the past six years, but has come to realize that depending on the design, the same result can be achieved using plywood by adjusting its thickness. The designer found that “After Dark” was a good candidate for replacement with plywood because of its flat plate composition and the fact that the curved surface applied to it was quadratic and did not require integration like metal welding. Before finalizing the design for an aluminum chair, the designer always created a full-scale plywood mock-up.

During the creation of the “After Dark” mock-up, the designer noted that the plywood version swayed a lot but believed it could work if the thickness was adjusted. The plywood mock-up was on display at a solo exhibition in March 2022. The designer also found that plywood had a certain amount of shaking that couldn’t be achieved with aluminum. For the prototype stage, the designer used bent plywood with a slightly increased thickness for the seat surface in the same shape as “After Dark.” The designer changed the joint detail between the two members supporting the seat to a halving joint to absorb the shaking. To lighten the weight, the designer made the seat as thin as possible while still maintaining stability.

Photography by Toshiki Omatsu