How to Grow a Chair out of Crystals!

24 January 2011 7,817 views No Comment

“Nature shows us a beauty that exceeds our imagination. On the other hand, it contains a strength that is sometimes frightening. The forms of nature are unique and cannot be reproduced. This endows them with mysterious beauty and makes them fascinating to us”.

– Tokujin Yoshioka

I’m a big fan of sitting down in chairs, and like many Americans, I do it for hours at a time.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind laying down or standing up, or sitting cross-legged on the floor – those positions are nice and everything. Sitting in a chair is positively IDEAL for doing work and for eating, and you can even go to sleep sitting down if conditions are just right. But even though I have spent vast amounts of my life sitting in chairs, (including this very moment as I write) it had never occurred to me that a chair might be something you could grow.

Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka figured out how to gently suggest the form of a chair to nature, and nature sat on the idea for a while then decided to go for it.  The resulting project is a chair made from natural crystals that Tokujin Yoshioka calls, ‘VENUS,’ for reasons which may soon become obvious.

The chair is “grown” in a tank as crystals form on a sponge-like substrate (Dezeen).  The crystals grow, layer after layer, to complete the form of the chair.  While fresh out of the tank, it doesn’t exactly look like a comfy place to settle one’s hindquarters, the chair is certainly beautiful and perhaps birds could be convinced to nest on the seat, providing a natural cushion once their eggs had hatched and everyone had flown away.

Images courtesy http://www.tokujin.com/

When I saw the VENUS chair, I immediately wanted to make a wall out of it.  Can you imagine a room with naturally grown crystal walls? It would be like hanging out in a geode.  If growing an entire room seems prohibitively difficult, I thought it might be interesting to grow crystal panels or blocks, and then stack or support them using another material – although crystals are relatively fragile so it would be a challenge.

Image courtesy allencentre.wikispaces.com

Yoshioka’s work is inspired by the forces found in nature. He writes:

“I believe that a design is not something that is completed through being given a form, but rather something that is completed by the human heart. I also feel that incorporating the principles and movements of nature into ideas will become something important in future design. I am sometimes surprised at how people who have seen my space installations talk to me about them while seeming to superimpose these works on the natural phenomena that they themselves have experienced. Future designs created by fusing technology and the life force with the imaginative powers that spring up from the ‘nature’ that exists deep in each person’s memory; future-oriented ideas born from once again inquiring of the Earth – that is the ‘second nature’ that I envision.” – Tokujin Yoshioka, Exhibition Director


I am filing this natural crystal chair under earth and water because of the way it is made.


“Venus Chair by Tokujin Yoshioka.” Dezeen Design Magazine. 10/05/08. Accessed 01/23/11.  URL.

“Ever grown a chair..? Tokujin Yoshioka Design – Venus Natural Crystal Chair.” Design Tavern. Accessed 01/23/11.  URL.

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