Dessein presents the Torii Chair – A minimal, refined chair that reveals its sophistication and detailing over time.


What are the qualities you most value in a chair? In an all-new collaboration with Australian furniture maker Chris Nicholson, Dessein Furniture tackles the complex challenge of designing a timber chair that encapsulates essential qualities of versatility, comfort, affordability and enduring design.

The Torii Chair, named for its ability to transition from the mundane to the sacred, has transformed an essential and everyday furniture piece into an inspired and worthy solution for architects, designers and end-users alike.

Built along subtle and sophisticated lines, the Torii Chair encapsulates the technical expertise and human-centred philosophies of Mr Nicholson’s furniture making practice. Dessein Furniture Founder, Michele Chow, worked closely with Mr Nicholson to develop the chair to respond to a very specific set of precedents.

“The Torii Chair is small to allow for versatile use and stackable storage. Its backrest is organically contoured and carefully positioned to invite comfortable sitting or lounging with the ability to rest your elbows along the backrest. It can also be customised to suit the specific needs of the environment it is going into,” said Ms Chow.500px

Designing holistically so that structure and aesthetics work hand-in-hand, Mr Nicholson has constructed the chair from every angle. Its minimal timber componentry is perfectly represented by the curved rail which fits snugly beneath the seat base. This provides robust support and enables stackability while also contributing to a sense of flow and uniformity between all parts.

Through extensive prototyping, Mr Nicholson with Dessein has rigorously refined the Torii Chair’s dimensions, proportions and junctions to allow for vital economies of process, and to achieve the very essence of form-meets-comfort, beauty and functionality.

“To see the Torii Chair, at first, it appears small, simple and quiet, but slowly it reveals its character and re ned detailing. The carefully profiled backrest gives a much grander experience than would be expected from a small, stackable chair. It is designed to be versatile in its usage and sustain its relevance and functionality for years to come,” said Mr Nicholson.

Of its moniker, ‘Torii’, Ms Chow said: “A ‘Torii’ is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of a Shinto Shrine where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred. It wasn’t until we looked into the meaning and what it represents that we realised how fitting it was for this chair,” she said.

“‘Torii’ describes, in the simplest and most poignant of terms, the process of taking an everyday object and turning it into a solution worthy of users’ ever-changing needs,” she said.

The Torii Chair is an Australian-designed all-timber chair, available in finishes of Walnut and Ash in natural or black stained, with or without upholstery. Ideal for hospitality and multi-residential applications the Torii Chair is produced in Australia on a 10-week lead time.