Mizuki series

Created in 2005

Mizuki free-standing prototype cabinet
His mother’s native land is Japan, and Scott grew up with an affinity for Japanese aesthetics. In his architectural studies, he saw the influence of traditional Japanese folk houses and crafts on western Modernism. But much of popular Asian themed furniture and cabinetry substituted mimicry over authenticity and depth. A better approach, it seemed, was to consider the Japanese reverence for nature, and Zen notions of its abstraction.

The journey from inspiration to final form is often a wandering path. The scalloped shadow of a straight roof eave over a series of cylindrical brick grain silos spotted in a small Pennsylvania town led him to experiments combining rectangular horizontal elements with semi-elliptical verticals. Wooden screens on old Japanese houses with their repetitions of bars and spindles intrigued him. He used low prime numbers to establish proportional relationships. In the end, a system of façade types emerged in the design of Mizuki.

The first is a flat veneered slab with a rail across the top and the bottom, their widths in a 2:3 proportion. Next, a flattened quarter elliptical framing member, (or stile), is at the panel edges, and the panel is recessed between them. This creates a dramatic shadow line where the square top and bottom rails cross these curved stiles. When two framed panels are placed next to each other, the quarter elliptical profiles form a half ellipse. In series, they begin to suggest a colonnade, a continuous screen, or woven fabric. The addition of recessed horizontal bars in three different widths that cross the framed panels completes the family of five modular façade components.

Scott named the series “Mizuki”, after the small seaside hamlet where his grandfather lived. The word evokes an image of a quiet pool in a forest. The Kanji characters that accompanied its introduction were rendered in brush calligraphy by his mother. Its roots are Japanese, but it is not bound by Asian stereotypes.

Mizuki is recognized by designers for its softly voluptuous counterpoint between simple curved and square edges, and for its exquisite proportions. It is a stylistic chameleon, depending on the designer’s combination of component types, proportion, repetition, choice of material, finish, and decorative hardware. In numerous award winning spaces, it has proven its place in a distinctly modernist aesthetic.


Scott A. Stultz


Scott Stultz

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