Table=Chest - Tomoko Azumi

Table=Chest, Tomoko Azumi, 1995. Image © Sylvain Deleu

Object Details

Date of making
Date of acquisition
Furniture making: woodworking
Beech, beech veneer, plywood
L400mm x W400m x H680mm (folded)
Collection Number

Maker Details

Hiroshima, Japan
Place Trained
The Royal College of Art, London, MA Furniture Design, 1993-1995; Kyoto City University of Arts, BA Architecture and Space Design, 1985-1989
t.n.a. Design Studio, Unit7 Haybridge House, 15 Mount Pleasant Hill, London E5 9NB, England
Crafts Council Setting Up Grant, 1996; Shortlisted, Jerwood Applied Arts Prize 2004: Furniture
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Designing furniture with multiple uses was a popular idea in the 1990s and Tomoko Azumi’s Table=Chest is an outstanding example of this thinking. Unlike most folding furniture, which can only be used in one position and folds to be stored, the Table=Chest is useful in both its positions. Upright, the chest resembles a conventional and modestly sized storage unit.

A Table=Chest prototype was acquired for the Crafts Council Collection in 1995. Azumi’s emphasis on cabinetmaking skills to produce the piece has helped blur the distinction between craft and design, a driving factor in the Crafts Council’s decision to acquire the work for the Collection.

Most recently, this piece was the subject of the 2009 Crafts Council online exhibition ‘An Object’s Journey: Table=Chest by Tomoko Azumi’.

Read more about related loans and exhibitions

Vicky Richardson

“Looking back, the Crafts Council’s decision to acquire this piece was remarkably brave and insightful. Tomoko Azumi, now a well-known and respected designer, was unknown at the time and exhibited Table=Chest as part of her 1995 degree show at the Royal College of Art.

As part of the Crafts Council Collection, Table=Chest plays an important role in reminding us of a period of design when we were interested in objects serving several different purposes. Perhaps this was an outcome of the recession of the late 1980s/early 1990s, when furniture had to work harder. The piece is also playful and interactive and implies that furniture design is an intellectual as well as a practical pursuit.”

Vicky Richardson

Vicky Richardson, Director Architecture, Design, Fashion, British Council

Produced by Uniform
Tomoko Azumi – Table=Chest

From the Archive

Table=Chest formed part of the 1996 Crafts Council Collection showcase 'From Prototype to Production'. © Crafts Council

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