Throw a rock in a Buy Buy Baby, and you'll probably hit someone who rejects cardboard kid furniture for being too flimsy and ephemeral. But there are also those who say that cardboard's too durable and strong. I mean, hypothetically, such people must exist, right?
Because who else would be expected to buy a kid's chair made of 120 honeycombed layers of glassine paper?
Tokujin Yoshioka launched his own design practice at the Salone in Milan in 2002 with the Honey Pop chair, which is cut from a one-inch thick honeycomb mat that accordions out exactly like a random party decoration. The paper's strong enough to actually sit in, though it will forever bear the assprint of its first sitter, so make sure you've run your stairs first.
Anyway, the Honey Pop was a smash, and was quickly acquired by design collecting museums everywhere [MoMA, &c. &c.] If you wanted one yourself, you could buy it directly from Yoshioka's website for $580. It was supposed to be a signed, limited edition of 300.
But it wasn't sold out in 2007, when someone flipped a made-in-2007 chair for $11,250. And then a chair dated Feb 2008 sold in April 2008 for £11,875. Which, that chair was only #156/300, so it seems like Yoshioka's basically printing & folding money, when BAM, the designer paper chair market bubble popped. In 2009, a 2006 chair didn't sell for £5,000 - 7,000. That chair was #131, which translates to a run rate of around one Honey Pop a month at one point.
Which is all just prelude to the fact that Yoshioka's site doesn't list the Honey Pop for sale anymore. And there's no information I can find at all about the existence of a kid-size version. And yet, at least one exists. And it's for sale this week. Michael Maharam, of the textile Maharams, got a children's Honey Pop chair in 2004. It's 19-in. tall compared to 32.5-in. for the regular version. And it's signed and dedicated, with no edition number.
So who knows, it could be the only one. And maybe the paper chair market's recovered enough for Wright's $3-5000 estimate to make sense. Or maybe there's a bale of these things sitting in Yoshioka's storage unit in Saitama, and you can just email him and pick one up for the cost of postage. It's that kind of mystery that makes auctions so exciting! To watch.
Sept. 26, 2013: Lot 101: Children's Honey Pop Chair, Tokujin Yoshioka, est. $3-5,000 [wright20.com]
Honey Pop (2000-2001) [tokujin.com]
UPDATE: It sold for $2,500, including buyer's premium. Also, Yoshioka's office has not returned email inquiries about the chair. Ahem.