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February 17, 2005

Plywood, Bentwood and Tendo Mokko

For true lovers of contemporary furniture, bentwood has never gone out of fashion. Aalto's stools (and copies of them) show up in high-end showrooms and the aisles of Target. Charles and Ray Eames’ DCW chairs remain icons of modern. The name Thonet, after almost 200 years, still makes collectors weak in the knees. But sometimes even consistent popularity needs a boost, and that's what’s happening at Tendo Mokko.

Design mag Wallpaper* reported this month that the 60 year old Japanese ply and bentwood brand is experiencing a resurgence.  A longtime source for devoted, perhaps cultish, fans of bentwood, Tendo’s products have never quite made it to the world stage. They are best known for manufacturing the warm and minimalist Butterfly Stool by Sori Yanagi. And this piece is indicative of Tendo’s exquisite quality, craftsmanship and design philosophy.  It’s the company’s marketing that, until longtime fan Arata Tamura got into the mix, was sub par.

Now Tamura’s convinced Tendo to branch out, open its own shop for the first time and even release some of its most striking and iconic designs with little updated twists like availability of items in a greater variety of finishes and upholstery choices.

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