Chris Pearce


Award-winning product designer based in Tokyo, available for global remote work.

Specialising in product design for furniture, homewares, automotive, consumer electronics, soft goods and music hardware for clients across Asia and Europe.

Honda, Yamaha Music, Yamaha Motors,  Lululemon, Herman Miller, Hitachi, Sony, NTT Docomo, House Foods, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Terumo, Roche, TEAM GB, SUN METALON, IKOU, Healios

Spare-time music production and sound design.



IKOU Portable Chair

Providing equitable access to the world outside the home


Awarded Good Design Award, 2023
Many children with disabilities around the world require special seating solutions to keep them supported and upright throughout the day. In Japan, the government subsidises the manufacture and delivery of special custom-made supportive chairs whose design, though adequate, has remained unchanged and under-considered since the eighties. Yuri Matsumoto, a mother of a young boy with cerebral palsy and an owner of one such chair, tasked IDEO Tokyo to modernise and improve the current solution. 

Early in the research, the team quickly discovered that, while the current seating solution was cumbersome and unattractive, it served its purpose within the home. The chair more than adequately supported physically handicapped children whilst performing the most difficult tasks, such as eating and studying. 
Instead, what we discovered was that families find more difficulty with scenarios outside the home, in restaurants, at the park, at their friend’s house. In these situations, children have severely limited access to the right level of support, essentially excluding them from experiences that regular children have access to. What was missing was a portable chair, compact and lightweight, that can offer just enough support in any scenario.

Conducting in-home interviews and shadowing daily activities revealed that, while there are still challenges to be solved, seating options are available are at least functional. Instead, the real need was outside the home.

Some restaurants supply high-chairs for kids, but they are rarely suitable for physically handicapped children. In Japan specifically, tatami-style restaurants are even more troublesome. In situations such as these, Yuri-san brings a small foam chair for her son to sit on that lacks adequate support. It’s a compromise - enabling access to different venues, but not satisfactory in terms of ergonomics and user experience.

The team embarked on a rigourous iterative design process, testing hundreds of formats and feature versions with children and their caregivers. 

By designing alongside mothers, fathers and physicians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, we were able to strike a balance between support and portability.