Rio Kobayashi's Mikado-inspired furniture

'The Western game with a Japanese name'


The light toned ash wood, bright bands of primary colors and the overall fragility of arrangement is enough to trigger anyone's memory of playing the pick-up-sticks game, Mikado. For designer Rio Kobayashi the furniture is a nod to his own personal story. A carpenter by trade, Rio was raised in Japan until the age of 18 when a chance trip to Austria to visit his grandmother led him to pick up a different life, pursuing furniture design in London. It was only during this move to Europe that Rio discovered the pick-up-sticks game. These chairs and stools then are not a reference to Japan at all but rather a playful expression of the misconception that Mikado, a western game, is in fact only Japanese in name. 

Rio is currently working on a new furniture series which will be exhibited next month on Salone del Mobile in Milan. See more:

Words by Peter Mears, The Iris Letter March 2018