What a difference four years makes. In 2005, just after earning their master’s degrees in architecture from Columbia University, Minnie Jan and Daisuke Nagatomo were thrilled to receive a Viewer’s Choice Award in the OFS Hotseat competition, sponsored by Metropolis. “We just designed what we wanted and submitted it,” Nagatomo says of their entry, a playful, porous chair. But he acknowledges that the concept fell a little short of the contract-furniture company’s mission: “We missed it by a lot.” Fortunately, they got another shot in the 2009 competition, which was again open to the public. “This time we thought about what they were actually looking for,” Nagatomo says. And this time they got it right, winning their first furniture commission.
Partners in the multidisciplinary studio MisoSoupDesign, Jan and Nagatomo tend to approach furniture spatially, as is evident in their seriously functional W chair. The curving sheet of molded wood that gives the winning design its letterform silhouette also leaves space for stashing an ottoman, itself a storage container. “We wanted to do something like a lounge chair that would offer luxury but could still fit into small spaces,” Jan explains.
Read more about this year’s finalists—and past years’ winners—at the Hotseat competition Web site.