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Aichi: Creating educational spaces and innovating furniture design

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Article - February 27, 2024

Under Michihiko Shimamoto's visionary leadership, Aichi transforms spaces with innovative furniture, emphasizing unique designs and a commitment to crafting optimal educational environments

TIPO RECYCLE PROGRAM

Since its establishment in 1939, Aichi Co. Ltd – now under the leadership of company president Michihiko Shimamoto – has been committed to crafting educational and communal spaces.

Initially recognized for manufacturing movie theater seats and folding chairs, Aichi has evolved its focus towards educational and public facilities, distinguishing itself in the global market. President Shimamoto emphasizes the company's commitment to broadening its product portfolio: “Aiming for a larger market share in educational and public spaces”. Automation in manufacturing, careful selection and concentration of manufacturing processes, and a core competency in stacking chairs highlight Aichi's strategic approach to stay competitive in today’s market.

Aichi doesn't merely provide furniture; it offers comprehensive interior planning services, including interior design and IT equipment. President Shimamoto emphasizes the company's purpose: "Creating educational and gathering spaces for human well-being and the environment."

The goal is to offer optimal environments tailored to educational facilities, combining furniture, interior design, and overall space for an enriched learning experience. The foundation of Aichi's success lies in the reliability of its products and the trust cultivated through a diverse portfolio.

“The provision of highly reliable products with sophisticated design and long-lasting durability is our mission for earning trust in the educational and public facilities,” says Mr. Shimamoto.

Aichi is renowned for its versatile and multi-functional furniture, holding 22 international patents and 70 domestic patents. President Shimamoto underscores the company's commitment to differentiation, creating unique products that stand out globally: “All our products are designed in-house, reflecting the company's dedication to functionality in educational and public facilities,” he says.

Regarding collaboration, President Shimamoto mentions openness to future partnerships, both domestic and overseas, to create brand-new products.

“This approach aligns with Aichi's commitment to innovation and adaptability in a rapidly evolving market. A representative innovation by Aichi is the spiral suspension technology used in our fixed theater seats, offering enhanced comfort and durability. This material addresses the challenges of long-term use, providing a solution to discomfort and squeaking often associated with traditional theater seats,” he explains.

With a strong focus on global presence, Aichi has been participating in the ORGATEC exhibition in Germany since 2010, garnering prestigious awards. Today, the company aims to strengthen its stacking chair series and establish itself as a leading global niche player in the field, with President Shimamoto outlining strategic growth plans: "We are targeting North America, Oceania, and Europe, with an eye on the well-established interior design sector in Europe. In the future, we plan to expand our product offering to other regions, including Northern and Southern Europe, the Middle East, South America, Asia, and Africa."

Looking ahead to the 100th anniversary, President Shimamoto emphasizes the company's dedication to its philosophy and values rather than mere sales expansion.

“Aichi aims to continually enrich its product offerings, becoming a niche top company in Japan and the global niche top for stacking chairs, following the example of successful outstanding companies targeting the global market.”

Aichi's sustainability lies not just in scale but in global expansion, reflecting its commitment to innovation and creating unique offerings for educational and public spaces worldwide. With its 85-year legacy, led by President Michihiko Shimamoto, the company has evolved from movie theater seats to global niche prominence, emphasizing innovation, comprehensive interior planning, and a commitment to creating optimal educational spaces.

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