Kazuo Kawasaki Carna Folding Wheelchair 1989

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 417 The David Geffen Galleries

What is your favorite design?

Kazuo Kawasaki, the designer of this object, became a wheelchair user following an accident. He said, “I want to design products for myself first.” Kawasaki used lightweight metals like titanium and aluminum to make this wheelchair. He wanted to make it easier to travel with.

What objects help you move around? Tell a friend or family member your favorite things about those objects.

Kids label from 2024
Additional text

Kawasaki's goal was to create a wheelchair that felt as good, and looked as cool, as the newest pair of sneakers. The Carna is colorful and has high–tech style. Since it had to be light and easy to carry, an improvement over most collapsible wheelchairs, Kawasaki used a titanium frame, with aluminum honeycomb–core wheels and rubber seat and tires. Moreover, to offer personalized comfort, he designed optional parts that users can add to the standard frame, according to the needs of the moment. Appropriately, Carna was named for the ancient Roman goddess who had power over entrances and exits.

Kawasaki is interested in bringing technology and fine craft closer together. Known for his works for Toshiba, Kawasaki pursued personal projects after a disabling accident in 1977. He has written: "Older people, handicapped and normal people are separated in today's Japan, so designers need to make designs that are kind and caring and need to treat more handicapped people equally in society. . . . To be a visionary designer I want to design products for myself first."

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 325.
SIG Workshop Co. Ltd., Ishikawa, Japan
Titanium, rubber, and aluminum honeycomb
33 x 22 x 35 1/4" (83.8 x 55.9 x 89.5 cm)
Gift of the designer
Object number
Architecture and Design

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