Why It Takes 60 Hours To Craft The Ako Chair By Ron Arad
Often, it is the most unexpected collaborations that result in great design. Case in point: the Ako chair by renowned British-Israeli industrial designer Ron Arad and London-based interiors and lifestyle brand Oka.
Word has it that Arad was attracted to the “elegant yet beautiful simplicity” of Oka’s Washakie chair, which was a commercial success. Pair the original with Arad’s 1989 Chair by its Cover project—a wooden seat encased within a concave mirror—and the Ako was born.
Arad wrapped the Washakie chair in two separate sheets of copper and stainless steel. The first layer of malleable steel was rolled inwards to complement the curvature of the chair and the second copper layer was tacked onto the first. The chair’s upholstery had been updated in hot pink or burnt orange while juxtaposing words such as “Reserved Reversed” were painted on its rear to complete its vibrant aesthetic.
Each chair was hand-finished by Arad, which meant that no two of the 10 limited pieces were the same. First unveiled at the Pavilion of Art & Design London Art Fair in 2019, the Ako chair was commissioned to mark Oka’s 20th anniversary, with a larger collection set to follow early this year.
Reflecting on the collaboration, Arad commented: “Ako is a play on Oka. It’s the wrong way around because the pieces reflect and refract what I stole from them, or—if you think of it in another way—what they gave me.”
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QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE AKO CHAIR
£24,500: The price of each Ako chair in copper, while the stainless steel version costs £22,030
60: The number of hours required to craft each chair
3: The number of Ako chairs sold to date