Form and function in layer on layer: Sou by Teruhiro Yanagihara – Offecct

Sou by Teruhiro Yanagihara

Form and function in layer on layer.
Take a piece of furniture apart down to its most basic components, and put it back together step by step. Teruhiro Yanagihara’s sofa Sou, designed for Offecct, is constructed in different layers to make it possible to freely create different shapes and functions for public environments.


Teruhiro Yanagihara has a background in spatial design and architecture and always thinks about rooms and surfaces, rather than individual objects. As in his previous collection for Offecct, Osaka, the new Sou sofa is based on a spatial perspective where the furniture works as a flexible jigsaw puzzle. “My idea was to start with the sofa’s most basic parts and let the different shapes and functions overlap in layers. The seat is a little higher, so it goes particularly well in restaurants and waiting rooms, for example,” he says.

The image that Teruhiro Yanagihara had in mind during the process was a mille-feuille, a French pastry of many layers which can be varied in different ways. The name ‘Sou’ comes from the Japanese ‘chisou’ which means ‘stratum’, with the prefix ‘chi’ (base) and the suffix ‘sou’ (layer). “It’s about how the sofa is designed, but also the fact that it can have different uses and expressions depending on how you choose to combine the different layers. Since the seat and backrest are separated, you can choose different colours of fabric or different finishes on the table part, for instance” Teruhiro Yanagihara explains.

He also emphasizes the similarity between Japanese and Scandinavian design tradition when it comes to reducing rather than adding to the product. Sou, with its simple shape, is given a timeless and easy-to-place expression, while also being a sustainable design choice with lower consumption of resources and materials.


Photo: Björn Ceder

Teruhiro Yanagihara

Teruhiro Yanagihara works with domestic and international clients alike and likes to cross boundaries and cultures to create encounters between design, industry and craftsmanship.

Teruhiro Yanagihara Founder, Designer, Creative director of Teruhiro Yanagihara Studio

He was born in 1976, in Japan, and established his own company in 2002 to develop his own. He established 2nd studio in Arles, France in 2021.

His projects cross boundaries and cultures to form encounters between contemporary design, industries and Japanese crafts. He launched a new brand “Lichen”, which focus on taste, smell, and hearing. His past projects:1616/arita japan (Japan), 2016/ (Japan), Kimura glass (Japan), OFFECCT(Sweden), Kvadrat (Denmark), Skagerak (Denmark), THREE (Japan), FIVEISM x THREE(Japan), Mame Kurogouchi (Japan), etc.Permanent collection: Centre national des arts plastiques Paris (France), StedelijkMuseum Amsterdam (The Netherlands), etc. Jury member of GDA (Good Design Award Japan) 2020 and KOKUYO Design Award since 2021.