Chairs and graces— Japan


Fascinated with furniture design, Noritsugu Oda bought his first chair in the 1970s. He now has 1,200 of them. But, as Monocle discovers, he isn’t in the slightest bit precious about his priceless collection.

Collector, bed, chairs, glass birds, marble light, sofa, tables

For a man who claims not to be a collector, Noritsugu Oda has one of the world’s most remarkable assemblages of chairs (1,200, over half of them Danish) as well as a fine stash of tables (70), lighting fixtures (100), cabinets (50), cutlery (1,000 pieces) and pottery (2,500). “I consider myself more of a researcher,” he insists.

Oda lives and works in the small Hokkaido town of Asahikawa in the far north of Japan where he teaches design at a satellite campus of Tokai University. It’s an appropriate place for one of Japan’s foremost furniture buffs…

Mr Oda's guide to being a collector

“I’ve been collecting various objects and furniture as I go along,” says Noritsugu Oda. “My ultimate goal is to build a design museum, which doesn’t yet exist in Japan.” Here are his top five tips for aspiring collectors.

Follow your heart: You don’t have to take an academic approach to collecting. Buy things you truly like.

But don’t lose your head: When it comes to buying, be careful to stay within the price range that you can afford.

Do it for pleasure: Collect something that doesn’t have anything to do with your main occupation.

Don’t follow the herd: It’s easier to start collecting things that other people aren’t. When other people start collecting the same things as you it becomes much more difficult.

Build your knowledge: Don’t only collect objects – try to collect the related documents and collateral material that goes with them. It will give you a deeper understanding of what you’re collecting.


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