Jury Kawamura founded EYEFUNNY, his Tokyo-based fashion brand in 2003 with a primary focus on jewelry design. Through EYEFUNNY’s nearly two decades of existence, Kawamura’s brand has been worn by several fellow creatives, including J Balvin and Travis Scott, which has helped to propel EYEFUNNY into the international spotlight. Kawamura’s work utilizes familiar motifs in our global cultures such as smiley faces, lightning bolts, skulls, hearts, and crosses, and injects them with Japanese character that makes them easily identifiable as EYEFUNNY.
As a new challenge, Kawamura was tapped by Daniel Arsham and StockX to design a chair for the StockX “Art & Residence” program launched at Milan Design Week. Kawamura utilized the same creative process that he goes through with designing Jewelry, by putting Japanese style, materials, and techniques at the forefront of this process, and he was not intimidated by the shift in medium. “The way of creativity is totally the same,” he says. “I imagine designs and draw them by hand. Then I make them with my team. I have been designing jewelry for 20 years and used to design clothes for 10 years. The experiences helped me in doing something new for sure.”
For the chair that EYEFUNNY created, Kawamura’s starting point was pretty cut and dry: “I had one condition for the design: using Japanese granite.” With that singular requirement, Kawamura was able to start shaping that material in his mind into its final form and realized that it was inspired by something very familiar to him. “I started drawing,” he says. “I realized when I saw some final sketches that the design was inspired by Charlotte Perriand’s wooden stool. It’s one of my favorites and I have them in my space.”
The influences from Perriand’s stool are immediate as the viewer can easily recognize the striking similarities between the two projects. EYEFUNNY’s creation is made up of two Japanese granite stools with a circular seating surface that is supported by a set of tripod-like legs, exactly like Perriand’s classic wooden stools. The choice of using Japanese granite was obviously influenced by the region and culture that Kawamura comes from. “I have kept the idea to make stone objects in Kagawa for more than 10 years because my favorite artists, Isamu Noguchi and George Nakashima had their workplaces and living places there,” he says. “I use the gray granite from Kagawa and the pink granite, called Sakura Mikage, from Okayama, Japan. I wanted the shape to be soft. My design philosophy is simple, creating something new and beautiful. I hope the stools represent it.”
These new and stunning stools crafted by EYEFUNNY have even more beauty to uncover. Looking closely, there are more hidden references that can be found in the stools that have been seen in EYEFUNNY’s work within jewelry design, as well as the brand’s cultural roots in Japan which continue to be a creative guidepost for Kawamura. “I designed the EYEFUNNY-CROSS collection 20 years ago as my very first collection,” he says. “There are necklaces bracelets rings etc. It is still one of our popular icons. So I wanted to connect my jewelry design to the object design. The stool also has three crosses and the shape looks like a Torii gate in a shrine.”
Tying his Milan Design Week piece to his heritage, in addition to the work that he has previously accomplished at EYEFUNNY, was one of Kawamura’s primary objectives in this project. He explains that this is important to him because he simply wants to create things for a like-minded audience who are drawn to the same aesthetic that he is in an effort to create new intriguing options. “I just wanted the designs and then made them,” he says. “I would be happy to provide my designs to people who have the same tastes as me. New designs expand our possibilities of choice.”
This idea of expanding choice in his creative vision becomes even more clear when you understand how Kawamura views furniture, he sees it as a required part of our world. “Seating objects should be beautiful as art because chairs are essentials like food and clothes,” he says. “When we want to stay healthy we care about food. When we express ourselves we choose clothes. Chairs represent our lifestyle.”
EYEFUNNY’s work is on display during Milan Design Week along with the other creatives involved in the Art & Residence Program presented by Daniel Arsham and StockX. “Art & Residence” presented by Daniel Arsham & StockX explores this converging of worlds and taps non-traditional creatives to push the boundaries of what a chair can be. From fashion designers to architects, “Art & Residence” bridges creative communities – from the world of StockX, to the storied platform of Milan Design Week. For more information on the creatives involved in the program, you can click here.