The Background of Product Development: How to Make a Wooden Chair #1


The long-selling chair was born unexpectedly

This is a story about one of our long-selling chairs, of which name is “Golfer.” You will find it in the line from the rear leg to the backrest. The back part of the chair frame looks like a golf club when it’s seen from the side. That is the reason why the chair was named Golfer. Funnily enough, the design of our long-selling chair came from a rough sketch drawn by a new girl in the factory.

A white oak dining table with four dining chairs by the window. On the table are some books, cups, and a flower vase.

A new face inspired the veteran craftsman

In the very early days of the company, the management always seeked the ideas and designs of new products from the staff members. One day, a rough sketch caught the attention of our founder and reminded him of his training period. When studying furniture manufacturing in Germany, he saw the chair at a furniture shop. It was one of the Danish masterpieces. He was deeply impressed and had dreamed of making a chair that exceeds the perfection of the masterpiece chair. The rough sketch drwawn by a new girl awoke his passion. Before forgetting his inspiration, he soon started making a full-scale drawing with care not to make it too similar to MODUS, and gave the drawing to the new girl.

In 1973, CondeHouse launched the Golfer dining chair, and has been still selling with many updates, such as using molded urethane foam in the seating and backrest. The application of molded urethane foam was still new at that time. It cost about 1.8 million JPY for a mold block, which was a big deal to a furniture company in its early phase. Meeting their expectations, the Golfer sold very well, and CondeHouse got on track to grow. The new girl left the company due to her marriage only 4 years after the launch, while the chair has been still selling for more than 40 years.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.