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Survey on the actual situation of Japanese design archives

what is going on?Design archives of these people


Motomi Kawakami

Product designer


Interview: 30th May 2016 10: 30 ~ 12: 00
Place: Kawakami Design Office
Interviewer: Yasuko Urakawa
Writing: Yasuko Sekiko



Kawakami Motomi

Product designer
Born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1940.
Completed master's degree in Art graduate school graduate school of Tokyo University of Arts in 1966.
1966 - 69 I worked at Angelo Manja Lotti Architectural Office (Milan).
1971 Established Kawakami Design Room.

Motomi Kawakami



Motohumi Kawakami who designed everyday items, furniture and space to form an environment that surrounds people, from the design of the bottle to the design of the bridge, is a web of Tama Art University's Department of Environmental Design who served as a visiting professor until last year. It says so. "In the workplace, the design looks at various scenes of the space-person tools and the various new and old technologies and materials as a method, the resource problems and the living environment faces which are also faced, the aging society, There is a need for work and ability to select and integrate social and cultural factors such as inter-Korean issues. "In addition, in the catalog of the "Motomi Kawakami Chronicle" exhibition held in 2011, "In my design work, I believe in the deepening of aesthetic sense and sense of goodness brought out from experiences as a lifestyle, is a natural body, truly rich I would like to aim for a design that embodies a comfortable life. "At the bottom of the upstream design which started the first step as a designer in the living superior Italy there is a strong intention to "realize a rich and comfortable life".
The dining chair, "Alflex Japan" 's NT, which keeps the name of Kawakami in the world, counted as one of his masterpieces, continues to be a chair to be placed in rich family dining even now."BRONX" still in many seminars and symposium venues draws as a masterpiece of Cassina · Ixsey, with design, comfortable feeling, high functionality capable of stacking.Uchida Yoko's office chair "Pulse" is also a popular product."Tsurumi Tsubasabashi" opened in 1994 was constructed as a bridge of a high-speed bay linking Haneda Airport and Yokohama Bay Bridge, and as a "design considering harmony and beauty in a cluttered environment" in Keihin Industrial Area Has gained high evaluation.Kawakami continues to design products and environments to enrich society and living without being influenced by trends.




FIORENZA (1968), NT (1976), BLITZ [TUNE (name change)] (1981), CCC (1985), Blendy (1986)
BRONX 1010 (1992), Arita HOUEN D hand A (2005), StepStep (2008), Pulse (2009),
HINOKI SUITE O - Bath (2010), KISARAGI (2014)


<Interior, Exterior>

Nagasaki Club Nasu Lounge (1986) Tsurumi Tsubasabashi (1994) Numazu Club (2008)



"Masako - Furniture of Motomi Kawakami" (1986 · Rokuyosha)
"Motohiro Kawakami - Design connecting people and technology" (2002) · Amuz · Arts · Press) etc.

Motomi Kawakami's work



Design Archive for Mr. Kawakami

- What kind of image will you have when you hear that Mr. Kawakami is a design museum?


Kawakami In the past year, Yanagi Sori Memorial Design Laboratory was established in Kanazawa as a facility attached to Kanazawa College of Art and Design, but what about the archives of forerunners such as Mr. Watanabe and Mr. Yoshio Akioka? Although the implication may be slightly different, there is a researcher at the collector of the chair called Mr. Kenji Oda in Asahikawa of Hokkaido.Organizations such as the Oda Collection Cooperation Association ( ) have been made, based on collections of precious chairs worldwide, activities such as holding study sessions and exhibitions, publishing books, etc. It is.About 2000 legs chosen from chairs from around the world, mainly based on Scandinavian furniture and living tools.Many years ago, there was a plan to set up the Oda Museum in Asahikawa where this collection is located, but his thoughts on the creation of a living museum were deep, and it did not progress quite well, but finally Higashikawa cho It started out with.


- Asahikawa is famous for the furniture production area, and recently it is Asahikawa Zoo.


Is this the Kawakami zoo?However, originally Asahikawa is known as the leading furniture producing place in Japan, making full use of the rich forest resources of Hokkaido.If the Oda collection is also gathered like a museum, I think that you can expect customers from the world with the furniture and craft movement in this area.


- Mr. Kawakami I would like to ask about the current state of design materials of yourself, but what about drawings, idea sketches, etc.? Mr. Kawakami has heard that drawing of furniture etc is drawn in full scale ... ....


Kawakami Yes, the drawings etc are still unorganized, it is in the office.But recently, I usually draw it on computer.


- What is a mockup or something like a study model?


Depending on Kawakami , in the case of a chair, we will consider making a prototype prototype immediately from the drawing, so we will consider that it is not so, ah, there are few models produced for the study.Also, because the factory is made more than mockups, I will be disposed of when the project ends.Actually, even those that became products are not necessarily kept properly in the world.It seems that some makers have put their own products in the form of a museum, but it is actually the case that there is little left.


- Mr. Kawakami Have not you thought of borrowing a warehouse yourself and keeping it?


Kawakami There were things I thought so long ago, but since I have no choice, I've already given up and gave up.Many things I gave to my friends and acquaintances.However, for me, the prototype is not so important, as it is a way of progress and stepped up as a product.


- So, what are the remaining items to a certain extent, are you only drawing?


There are also upstream photos.


- The point is that things that do not take up bulk?


In the case of Kawakami products, especially furniture takes place, so keeping it is quite difficult.Although it is not an actual thing, I think that it is one way to organize it as a "collection of works" in the sense of archiving.I have issued two books of my works so far.In 1988, Keiko Kubota gave a summary of "Masako - Kazami Kawakami's furniture" by Rikuyo Shosha, and another one was "Ambuts Art Press" in 2002 as "MOTOMI KAWAKAMI-Design with Precision and Flexibility" I got it from a publishing company in Osaka, but it was already gone, because it was printing with analog, I do not know where I went for printing data.


- It's a waste.


It means Kawakami .So, now, for photographs after 2000, only pictures, but I make small booklet myself.There is also a single product catalog created by each manufacturer.


- I think Mr. Kawakami's design is one of the important footprints of Japanese design after the war, do you feel like you want to leave it in some form?


There is Kawakami, but my wife said, "Even if you do your best, the design will go naturally disappearing ... ...".In fact, I think that there is such a place of design work, especially industrial and product work.The point is that we are making daily necessities and changing rapidly due to progress in technology and changes in our lives.Though the things that survive remain, the majority will disappear with time ... I think that it is of such nature.After all it is not a work of art. But there are parts that are such a cold feeling, but on the other hand there is a feeling that I want to leave footprints a bit.Recently, the art museum of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts, which is a graduate school, donated it because it says that it will store some work.It was only about things related to a few projects, as well as sketches and models at the competition, but I handed it over.Although it is a little, there is a thought that it is okay.


- Tokyo National University of Fine Arts has a wonderful museum as well as exhibitions are actively held.


Even in upstream , I have collections of paintings and sculptures, but there is no design.That seems to have started recently.Is it the era?In that sense, Musashino Art University also has collections such as chairs, posters, toys and so on.Several works of my work are also collected.Others are also housed in museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama.


- Other, how about an idea sketch or something?


The idea floating up Kawakami is drawn on the old letter paper and pieces of paper on the other side rather than drawing it properly in the sketchbook.However, not all of them are left behind, and if there are things remaining at that time, most of them are thrown away.


- Because recent design work has a lot of computerized parts, the designer's freehand sketches and thumbnails are difficult to remain.However, I think that handwritten pictures are very precious in the sense that they follow the traces of creation and footprints of designers.


Kawakami Now I am in the edge of free-hand and computer.But it is certainly a sketch, it will only be transmitted by that.The approach of thinking, the concept of design, and the background and personality of that person, the sketch conveys more than words and characters.However, I myself could not have taken care of such things carefully.


- Mr. Kawakami was also designed for bridges, but did not you think to do architecture and cities?


I have designed Kawakami individual housing.The good or bad of the housing is up to the client, and I have been bothersome about the part where the human relationship is too dense.The design of items such as furniture can simultaneously proceed with consideration of the relationship with the environment while checking the shaping and the function at the same time.However, rather than thinking about the closed space itself, I'm more interested in society's more advanced designs, such as those that are connected to the environmental space diffusely from things, and I'd like to engage with public exterior designs etc. I will.


- But, Mr. Kawakami has many furniture designs, so you are interested in houses and office designs, are not you?


Before Kawakami , I saw the collection of architecture works by Kitayama Hisashi, and I noticed that after seeing the exhibition of the Venice Biennale, the design of houses, etc. who served as a commissioner in 2010, I feel a change in the times That's it.The woody material has come back and the style of life is getting diversified.It seems like a cooperative house or a share house, private rooms are secured, but living and dining are shared, the living and living space where the first floor level has been released to the area on the first floor level are coming up.Changes in family and living units are natural, but the way of building has changed.A new urban landscape is born as an environment, so I get interested in such a situation.The design of furniture and daily necessities has also changed.


- Lifestyle is changing, but how you work and the way you work are changing, are not you?


Kawakami The way the office is located is true as well.You need to understand the relationships and changes in the way people work and space designs such as cities, architecture, and offices.The point is to grasp the needs of the world in that era.


- It is important not only to grasp, but also to look ahead.


Kawakami The furniture that I design is a product for a maker, it is a product, so it is conceptual like a piece by Shiro Kuramata, for example, a unique piece expressing the edge of the era and the everyday It differs from what is used in.The width of these designs will differ depending on the culture of the country, the times and the living environment as well.It is said that design work is "problem solving", but the foresight of what is the problem is important, and I think how important it is to shape and materialize it.


The idea of private museum


- I heard that Mr. Kawakami 's office was created to verify full size drawings and mock - ups.


Kawakami Yes, I wanted a wide space above my eyes, I made a space of 6 meters in height.I attach verification sculpture of the actual size on the wall, and put a prototype of the actual size in the room to verify it.Especially, contract furniture etc can not be judged only by drawing, unless it puts it in a large space to some extent.There was a time when I thought that it was useful to realize the scale, such as being bigger than I thought it was small.


- This office is really wonderful.There was a small courtyard and outside light was in there.Is this designed by Mr. Kawakami?


Designed with Akira Watanabe, Kawakami .I used to collaborate with him in various jobs.This is made by the Mensori construction method which was popular in the 1990s.In short, it is the method of piling up the form block, arranging the reinforcing bars and injecting the concrete, but in this case piled up in two layers, the underground part is made into 3 layers and an air layer is provided, and the surface of the block is daringly shown as rough polished I will.Because of that, I think that we have put a lot of trouble on the craftsmen, as we have to load it more properly than usual.Also, we joined in dropping the "Noro" on the surface and I felt a lot of trouble.


- You can also make this a Kawakami design museum as it is.


There are private museums around Kawakami , but in reality, there are many difficulties in maintaining operation.Where artists are familiar painters and sculptor museums, the place where only the work of the person is displayed does not hold the exhibition etc, so there are few repeaters and it is struggling with management as well.Even if it is said to make a museum / shop to make restaurants and cafés for attracting customers, it will be difficult if they actually do.Even if it is made into a foundation, management is difficult unless funds continue.


- Is not the staff going to be inherited?


Kawakami After all, there is a part of my individual request for work, so I think that it may be a little different to succeed it.In terms of museums, if some royalty remains, you may use it.If you are an organized company you have a lot of staff and you have an obligation to connect the organization properly, but my way is not to make the scale bigger.


- Indeed, I think that it is necessary to organize in the sense of the operation of the museum.However, on the other hand, I think that it can be said that it is easy to leave as a museum because it is an individual condensed work like Mr. Kawakami.There are several design groups such as the Japan Industrial Design Association (JIDA) in Japan, but I do not hear about the activities related to archiving.


There is no moving body to manage the Kawakami design archive, but JIDA has a design museum in Shinshu.Several products have been selected for each fiscal year and are left behind.Machine products are mostly.From now on, it would be nice to be in a comprehensive form that various design genres gather, archived properly, workshops etc. are held periodically.However, since the industrial design should preserve the dynamic state rather than the static preservation, the hurdle is even higher.


- Dynamic preservation is actually moving, is not it? When you turn on the switch, you can see the TV or actually run when you run the engine.


Kawakami If true, the meaning of industrial design archives will be diminished if you do not do so.If only the shapes are lining up, it will become a mere history museum.You are preserving the dynamic state of Smithsonian museum in the USA.But actually it can be done with the budget of the country, but it is hard to maintain and operate with individuals or one corporation.Formerly, there were also art museum designs by 8 design groups.


- Do you have 8 groups?


Kawakami industrial design, graphics, interior, jewelry and so on.I was surprised that I also have 8 groups.It is too much like a government administration, I hope to connect laterally.However, the design museum concept has gone up several times in the past and it will not work out every time.Indeed, making box objects, considering operation, estimating expenses, there is no economic margin and collecting things rather than building vessels is the future, or the discussion is not gathered together , I can not go wrong.


- Instead of putting them together in a large container, things like small-scale Motomi Kawakami Museum, Shirokura Kuramata museum are scattered, they are linked together and put together in one MAP, Is not there a way to say that such a visitor would have it and enjoy the city at the same time as the museum? There are two main venues such as the Venice Biennale, but the aristocratic palaces and halls in Venice and the galleries in the streets are opened as venues for the Biennale.The visitor sees MAP and goes around them, but it is also planning to stroll around the city of Venice at the same time.


Kawakami: Even though each one is certainly small, if each museum has attractive works and valuable materials, I think it is possible.Currently, there are digital museums that make full use of IT, but designs do not convey essential things if there is no such thing as things or space.You had better be able to actually sit and touch the chair.Digital museums are certainly important, but they are only information.Unfortunately, we still do not have patronage or culture that supports such movement.


Change in design archive


- Does Mr. Kawakami have many photos and slides of the work?


There are both upstream .I am doing digitization, but since it costs enormous budget when I do all it is feeling that I do it as necessary.But the digital seems to be perfect because of image deterioration, it is a troublesome era.


- Are trial production etc stored?


Within the range where it fits upstream .It is too much and you have to throw away what you do not need.However, things like furniture parts, mechanisms and parts are relatively left behind.It's the most interesting part of not designing too much space and design.


- How about a magazine where Mr. Kawakami's work was posted?


I am not doing something like Kawakami scrapbook, but I put post-it in the magazine and the actual book's book and keep it.


- It would be nice if students studying design in the future could make mock-ups based on Mr. Kawakami's sketches and ideas, touch on the original size drawings, study, develop into an exhibition plan right.


Kawakami: That's right.I think it's better than having them take them to the antique dealer all the time (laugh).


- How do you think Mr. Kawakami will replace design with computer?


Kawakami For me the absolute size of the analog, the good thing that sticks to the original size is that I always feel a sense of scale, or that I can advance my work while feeling reality.On the other hand, there are many good parts by being computerized.On demand it leads to manufacturing from drawing, and in the past it had to stay up all night to fix, but computer is also very useful as a management tool in that case. In furniture there is a word of in-process, taking shape from a square material as a material, opening a mortise hole, etc. and assembling stocks once stocked, but if you use computer and multi-axis CNC I can do it at once.Computers will think about woodpecking.


- Tree wood?


Because Kawakami wood is a natural material, it is often not established without knowing the nature of the tree, whether the tree is grainy, the nature of the grain and the like, or whether it is out of view or not.However, if you use a computer, you can read the drawing and automate it up to 3 dimensions.In the past, computers solved what they were doing most easily.However, in order to make such software, there is a fear that the existence of people who know the nature of wood and the process of manufacturing and indispensable handwork are obsolete.


- As soon as the site of the design changes, it is necessary to change the manner of the design museum as well.


Kawakami That's right.


- By the way, Mr. Kawakami was studying design under Milan's Angelo Mangiarotti, but do you know what design dealing with design archives is in Italy?


Kawakami What's going on?After the death of Mangiarotti four years ago, my daughter was succeeding as the chief professor of the architectural department of the Milano Institute of Technology, continuing the office, nearly archiving it, seeking to trust the office, afterwards I died the other day just to follow.The staff member who was counted suddenly died and seems confused.Currently, Japanese women who are staff for over 20 years continue to work towards trusting.


- There are a lot of great masters in Italy, are not there?I heard that Mrs. Ettret · Sotsatos' archive was handed over to Pompidou Center.


I heard that the office of Kawakami Achille and Castiglioni will also be closed.


Speaking of Seki Castiglioni is a master, is not it? What will happen?


Kawakami : This is a worldwide problem after all.However, there are places in the company that have a museum in a solid European manufacturer.Vitra · design · museum etc. are magnificent in scale and contents.There are many small furniture industries in Japan and there are several major steel furniture makers, but there is not room to create a museum in present condition.Although it is not a design museum, now Mr. Kishiyama Kishi served as Deputy Director, the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, designed by Hiroyuki Naito, originally held a world-wide graphic design competition in a triennial format for many years I also collect posters and furniture.You might as well ask a future plan.


- There are public art museums that are focusing on design and architecture relatively, such as the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art, Saitama Prefectural Museum of Art and so on.


In Kawakami as well, there is a tendency to review the history and culture of local people in the context of ethnicity, culture climate in Japan, so it would be nice to find something wise in the future to preserve design museums, design archives, etc. right.


Censure: Yasuko Seki


Where archive of Kawakami Motomi's archive

Contact address 

Kawakami Design Room


what is going on?
Design archives of these people

There is also the possibility of changing subjects of survey.

The subjects (individuals) to be surveyed have been selected, including those who have already died, referring to the 2006 Asahi Shimbun publication "The Great Masters who have designed Nippon".

* Is a person who has died.




Let's talk about Shiro Kuramata

Symposium held

Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991) is a legendary designer who was active in the 1960s and 1980s.
His character and his work continue to fascinate people all over the world.
Thirty years before his death, he held a symposium to connect the design of Kuramata to the younger generation from the past to the present and the future as "Introduction to Shiro Kuramata".


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