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Nendo adds cork seat to its sustainable range of SU stools for Emeco

Japanese studio Nendo has released a new version of its environmentally friendly SU stool for Emeco, adding an interchangeable cork seat to the design.

The material is lightweight, resilient and can be harvested every ten years without causing lasting damage to the trees.

SU Stool collection Cork Seat by Nendo

As with previous versions of the SU stool, the seat has a contoured surface, and is supported by four anodised aluminium legs.

Emeco describes the cork seat as “tactile with a feeling of warmth”.

The American furniture company launched the SU range – named after the Japanese word for “plain” or “unadorned” – in 2014, with a focus on eco-friendly materials.

SU Stool collection Cork Seat by Nendo

The original collection included a range of different finishes including recycled plastic, reclaimed oak sourced from old barns, and concrete made from recycled glass bottles.

SU Stool collection Cork Seat by Nendo

A single screw connects the seat and legs together, allowing owners to easily swap parts or exchange legs for different heights. The stool is based on Emeco’s Navy chair, which was first made in 1944.

SU Stool collection Cork Seat by Nendo

“The idea was to make a stool in line with the Navy chair, the icon of the Emeco brand,” said Nendo designer Oki Sato. “From the Navy Chair we used the contour of the seat, which is what creates the comfort even though it is a metal seat.”

“We also took inspiration from the profile of the legs, which have very flat surfaces but also curves, which creates the visual softness of the chair.”


Cork is made from the outer bark of the tree. It is stripped so that new bark can grow back.

Trees can be harvested every 10 years, and Emeco uses all the cork – including scraps leftover during manufacture – for new products.

Its sustainability has made it an attractive choice for several designers, including Ilse Crawford, who used it in a range of homeware products for Ikea.

The SU stool is handmade by craftsmen in Emeco’s Pennsylvania headquarters.

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