Space-saving design is not exactly a new phenomenon, but it is in high-demand giving that many of us live in modest environments and find value in what can be called white space or what the Japanese call ‘ma’. It is a concept that can be described as an emptiness of space, a gap, or even silence. In its architectural context, ‘ma’ refers to the dimension of space between the structural posts of an interior. The layout is intentionally designed to encompass empty space. A perfect example of this would be a traditional Japanese tea room. No ornamentation, pure minimalism—creating a sensory space. This too changes our perspective in how we view furniture and how we use it.
Rail Desk, made for Scandinavian design house MENU by the Japanese designer Keiji Ashizawa, is an oak and steel wall-mounted design that explores the way in which we use space and how design elements can be adapted to serve different functions.
The neat, precision-made piece in natural or stained oak conveys a sense of serene practicality. With multiple functions—as a desk, counter, or shelf to store books, hung at any height you choose—it lends itself to almost any setting and fits neatly into living areas as well as bedrooms where space is at a premium. The minimalist steel bracket is inspired by the handrail of a staircase and the wooden platform provides a tactile contrast.
In 2005, Keiji Ashizawa founded his own design studio in Tokyo, Japan, and since then has been active in a wide range of disciplines, including furniture, interior, and architectural design. His philosophy, “Honest Design”, is consistent in every project. His works interpret knowledge and values gained from the past to build for modern society by choosing socially conscious methods and materials for environments and local society.