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Chair1987 sits at the exact center of Field Mag’s Venn diagram of interests, where good design and great outdoors overlap. It also sits in my living room here in New York—though the expertly crafted lightweight and packable chair is intended to bring beauty and comfort to your favorite campsite, too.
The latest “outdoor interiors” product released by Kyoto-based design studio Wilding Out (no relation to Nick Cannon), known for making sustainable, outdoor lifestyle products “from materials that do not burden nature.” As Wilding out founder and designer Soichi Terashima explains, “Even if you forget one of our tools in the mountains, our aim is for it to be able to return to nature.”
In keeping with this organic materials approach, Chair1987 is made entirely in Japan of light chestnut wood and 100% cotton canvas and held together with traditional joinery and tension only—no metal screws or plastic components. The clever design is capable of being assembled easily by one person in roughly five minutes and disassembled in half that time. (Admittedly, my first assembly attempt took closer to 15 minutes, but each subsequent effort has been quicker and easier than the previous.)
Once broken down, the 15 essential and lightweight chair components pack into an included canvas bag for easy carrying and storage. All in Chair1987 weighs just 7 pounds.
To match the function of a portable chair meant for indoor and outdoor use, the form of Chair1987 is on the small side overall—the seat height rests just under 12 inches off the ground, quite a bit lower than the average chair height of 17 to 18 inches. Though the generous width and depth give it a relaxed, lounge chair-like stance that accommodates a wide range of body types with a 220 pound weight capacity.
Even at 6’2” I am able to sit comfortably for as long as a I’d like. And really, isn’t that the hallmark of a good camp chair? One you can sit in for hours at a time, enjoying the campfire, listening to the sounds of nature, sipping on a hot coffee or cold drink? (The answer is yes.)
Chair1987 is a unique concept that marries form and function very well. But it's not for everyone. It exists for a unique audience—design lovers with a passion for the natural world and the patience to care for their equipment. It’s not a folding chair to toss in the trunk, or a lawn chair to be left out in the elements. Chair1987 deserves a light touch and mindful use, and will reward you with a beautiful place to park your rear end in return.
Wilding Out encourages owners to apply their own finish to the raw hardwood chair to help preserve it for years to come—Danish oil, beeswax, and non-enamel paint are all solid options. I may my sample chair raw to see how the patina develops with use and exposure to daylight on its own.
Available in Japan now and through pre-order for my fellow furniture lovers in US, Canada, and UK, Chair1987 sells for $470 with shipping scheduled to begin early September 2023. Remember folks, buy less, invest.