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Survey on the actual situation of Japanese design archives

what is going on?Design archives of these people


Osaka Shinkansen Museum Construction Preparation Office


Interview: June 24, 2018 13: 00 ~ 14: 30
Interview place: Osaka Shinkansen Museum Construction Preparation Office
Interviewee: Tomio Sugaya (Osaka Shin Museum Art Museum Building Preparation Office, Head of Research)
Interviewer: Keiko Kubota, Yasuko Seki
Writing: Yasuko Sekiko



The Osaka Shinkansen (hereinafter referred to as "the New Art Museum") is scheduled to open in 2021 after 30 years since the announcement of the concept of the bubble economic climb in Japan in 1988, after various periods of change.Tomio Sugaya, director of the construction preparation department who asked the story this time, since the beginning of 1992, as a member of the preparation room, continued to ask "What is the future museum"?And in Japan, I have found out the active area of "Design Archive" which has not been established yet, and I am working on the foundation of it.
Even now, there are art museums that have design collections & archives, such as the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, Museum of Fine Arts, Toyama Prefectural Art Museum, Museum of Musashino Art University Library, etc.However, most of them are specific themes such as "poster", "chair", "craftwork", etc., or are targeted at the master's work such as "Yoshimaku Kamekura" and "Yori Yanagi".Of course these are definitely valuable archives, but you also want something that gives you a bird's-eye view of the design with a slightly larger world view.Because design is tools and environment that are closely related to people's lives, it is not established as a single chair, a single poster, or a single car.In other words, the design archive is also indispensable for research on society, culture, science technology and others.Although it may not be as good as artworks in terms of workability, it can be said that it is an object to be preserved as a precious archive of society.
Under such circumstances, the Osaka New Art Museum says "four specialties / exhibition" "collection exhibition" "collaboration" "archive" to the activity policy.Although I do not know an example where "Collaboration" and "Archive" are dignifiedly written at public museums, it seems that these two seem to be the hallmark of the activities of the new museum.I asked Tsuyoshi Sugaya about the relationship between the activities of public museums and design archives and on what kind of system they are working on.



Osaka Shinkansen Museum Construction Preparation Office



The value of the archive is decided by the future people

Outline of the Osaka Shinko Art Museum

- I heard that the Osaka Shinkansha (hereinafter New Art Museum) will also put effort into the design archive.I think that it is a big challenge, but first of all, could you tell me about the museum's overview?


Sugaya We are preparing for the opening of the year 2021.The site is the center of Osaka city, Nakanoshima, in the Edo period it is a historical land that there was a Hiroshima clan's warehouse.There is also consideration for flood damage due to the preservation of its remains and Dojimagawa, Yodo River and Osaka bay, and the new museum will be a five-story building on the ground without digging the basement.Mr. Katsuhiko Endo was selected for the architectural design, and construction is proceeding in line with the concept of "an art museum like a city where activities are intermingled with various people".
Operation is currently managed by the Osaka Shinkansha (Osaka Shinkansha) (Osaka City Art Museum) (Osaka City Museum of Art, Osaka Museum of Art, Osaka History Museum, Osaka Natural History Museum, Osaka City Science Museum, Osaka City Oriental Ceramics Museum Operation, Buildings, The work will be transferred to independent administrative agency planned to be established next year.The new art museum will also be assigned to a private company from there, and will be planning and managing preparations for opening, exhibitions and public relations.


- The operation system of the museum is quite complicated.


Sugatani It was common for traditional public art museums to do business within the given budget.As it becomes an independent corporation, after that, entrusting management to the private sector increases freedom in planning and management, and the range of voluntary discretion increases.We also believe that there is the possibility that various staff can participate, mainly staff, and we can flexibly realize unique projects and projects according to the times.


- What kind of collections will be the main pillars of the new museum?


About 5,600 Sugatani Art Collections, including domestic and foreign paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, designs, from the late 19th century to the present day, of which 4600 points were donated and 1,000 points were purchased.Above all, 60 paintings by Yuzo Saeki, a Western-style painter who was active in Paris, works of Western modern art such as Modigliani and Brancusi, about 900 works by Haruyoshi Yoshihara and concrete art association who worked in Osaka based on the New Art Museum It is an important collection to characterize.Design has epoch-like works from 19th century Arts and Crafts movement to Art Nouveau, Vienna workshop, Bauhaus, among others Otto · Wagner, Rietveld, Aalto, Shiro Kuramata of Japan etc. Major masters of modern design We also include works of ours.


Explore the design archive business


- I'd like to ask more about design archives at once.


The Sugaya Osaka New Art Museum was announced in 1988, and in 1990 the preparation room was established and the basic policy including the design field was decided.After that, after various discussions, I added a design archive that reflects the industrial and commercial landscape of Osaka, in order to have its own characteristics in addition to the conventional collection.
One of them is home appliances symbolizing the design of Japan, especially Kansai after the war.Originally the actual collection is basics, but in reality it is near impossible.Because there are so many types of objects such as washing machines, refrigerators, rice cookers, wiring instruments, lighting fixtures and so on, regardless of home appliances.Furthermore, even if it narrows down to the washing machine only from the viewpoint such as era, technological innovation, epoch design etc., it becomes quite a number.It is not possible to set up a storage room to store all of it or to maintain it properly.


- So, what kind of form are you proceeding now?


Sugaya As we are cooperating with manufacturers, we are proceeding with archiving materials with two approaches.One is a material that understands specifications of photographs and products and specifications of details.Photographs are taken again, including planes and elevation angles, as in design drawings of architecture.The other is interviewing the design at the time of development and the situation of society at the time of listening to the designer's oral history who was developing at the time.
In other words, I think that we can develop a more ambitious design archive by collecting "record" and "memory" of household appliances at the same time.


- It is a huge work of repeating each process one by one.


Sugaya We can not do it alone.Fortunately the teachers of the university were also interested, and in 2014 the Osaka Shin Museum Art Museum Preparatory Office, Panasonic, Kyoto Textile Industry University, the industry-academia-government tripartite cooperation project "Industrial Design · Archives Research Project (IDAP) "Was launched.Recently, we have established "Industrial Design · Archives Council" in the form of developing it, and have joined Osaka Institute of Technology such as Panasonic, Sharp, Elephant Mark, Osaka Gas, Musashino Art University.I feel that the circle of activity is spreading little by little.The progress of the archive will be uploaded to the web from time to time.


- I am also looking forward to the oral history to designers.


In Sugaya product development, design ideas come in in the 50's and 60's, many manufacturers establish design departments and start hiring designers.So-called in-house designers are coming, but people active during this time have already retired.I believe that they can grasp the design in many ways by hearing about the development stories of the immeasurable products and the design situation at that time in the materials.It will be uploaded to the web as soon as it can be arranged.


- It seems to be a revolutionary archive.


Sugaya It is still a long way but I would like to continue.I would like to expect such a project to raise awareness of manufacturers and designers' preservation of products and materials.


- Although it was difficult to store the actual thing at the new museum, is that to leave it to the manufacturer?


Sugaya It is true.As we proceed with the archiving work, we will create a record of what, where, and what state it is stored.By sharing it with museums, manufacturers, researchers and stakeholders, I think that the actual thing can be confirmed when necessary.Of course the cooperation of the manufacturers is a major premise.The important thing is not to do everything in an archive business with one institution, but to build a system, that is, a platform that distributes information at the right place and concentrates information, that is, a platform.


- What other items are there other than home appliances?


Sugaya 18,000 items of "Suntory Poster Collection" were deposited from Suntory Holdings Corporation in 2012.In 2014, in collaboration with the Kyoto Institute of Technology's Craft Materials Museum, we hold "Poster Exhibition in Belle Epoque".


- To say that it is a poster, the Hayakawa Yoshio poster exhibition from Osaka that was held several years ago was impressive.


Sugaya It was held at the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo.Before that, we hold a large-scale Hayakawa Exhibition hosted by the preparation room in Osaka.Actually, in that generation there are so many graphic designers from Osaka.Hayakawa Yoshio, including Kazuhiro Katayama, Kazuhiro Tanaka, Kazumasa Nagai, and Atsushi Miyazaki of textiles, first moved to Osaka and later moved to Tokyo.Recently, not only talented designers but also large companies such as Panasonic and Suntory relocated functions such as publicity and advertisement to Tokyo, so we moved creative groups such as planners, designers, photographers and copywriters involved together Okay, I am worried that the cultural hollowing out of Osaka is accelerating.


- The Agency for Cultural Affairs seems to relocate to Kyoto, but I think how creative Tokyo's concentration is concentrated.


Sugaya In Japan, media such as broadcasting, newspapers, publishing, and cultural institutions are concentrated in Tokyo, but it seems not to be the case in America, Germany, etc.I think that it is also necessary to divide family life.
In terms of advertising, in Osaka there was the oldest advertising agency in Japan called 'Years', founded in 1890.Although it was a company that created a business style of modern advertising agency, it went bankrupt in 1999 due to the influence of concentration of Tokyo in advertising industry.As a result, enormous materials faced a crisis of dissipation, but Osaka business people must not dissipate the history of Kansai company and record of advertisement ingestion period, buy them and donate them to the new museum It has come to pass.


- It is an episode that makes you feel good in Osaka.


The Sugitani Bunkasan head office building was in Osaka city.I went to the materials room with the trustee and took about 200 boxes such as commercial films and posters.Among them are the planning documents, the president's greeting, the Japanese newspapers gathered for investigation, the Japanese newspapers abroad, valuable materials to know the activities of the company and the era.While keeping it untouched for a while in Osaka city's abandoned school, Osaka City University teachers and students and members of "Osaka Media Cultural History Study Group" raised their hands and promote archival It was.Although we digitized about 6000 commercial films, it is necessary to clear complicated copyright problems unique to advertisement and it is regrettable that we can not publish at the present stage.However, its outline is published under the name of "Millennial Collection" on the Osaka City University website.


- Is it important that the archive not only be saved but also published?


Sugaya I also donated 200 boxes of materials from Osaka and other related persons who worked mainly in Osaka and attracted worldwide attention in recent years, but they are in the process of being organized now.As for me, I think that it is important to bring such valuable materials and works to the public so that they can be opened to the public.Archives are kept and become worthwhile only after being utilized.


- By the way, I thought while talking to you, is not it an "archive equal exhibition" at the new museum?


As the Sugitani Art Museum, the object of the archive is the material, not the work.It will be a collection.Of course, archived materials are also exhibited, but preparations are necessary to make things stored as archives available in the form of exhibitions.When planning an exhibition after analyzing and researching the archive, I think that there are both approaches when conversely setting up an exhibition and organizing the archive.


- In an individual designer I heard that you will archive Mr. Shiro Kuramata's data.


Sugaya Yes.Mr. Shiro Kuramata is internationally recognized as a highly respected designer and has a great influence on the current design as well.Even in our preparatory office which collects design works from the 19th century to the present age, Mr. Kuramata's work has a few items including "Miss Branch" and I would like to increase it in the future.There are many art museums that store his work overseas too.As a global designer born in Japan, I'd like to add drawings, photos, sketches etc of Mr. Shiro Kuramata to the design archive of the new museum, and I am currently consulting with Mrs. Kuramata Ms. Kuramata of Mrs. Kuramata.


- It is a very important activity as valuable materials of individual designers go abroad and dissipate.


Sugaya When I saw an architect who works based in the Kansai the other day, I heard that most of the drawings of his masterpiece were donated to the Center Pompidou in Paris.I've heard that many of the drawings by Kenzo Tange and other post-war architects actually went to Harvard University and Pompidou.Currently, Japanese architecture attracts the world's attention, but researchers say that no materials can be seen unless they go to Paris or Boston.Even if it is seen on the digital or net, is not it that you want to see the actual thing like handwritten drawings?Mr. Kuramata's material is now handed to Ms. Mikiko, but considering the importance of documents and the preservation and disclosure, we think that it is better to keep them with public institutions in the future as well.It will be the source of future Kurata research, and as a result I think that it will also increase the evaluation of Shiro Kuramata.


Design archive and the future of museums


- Until now, the story of donation was central, but is there sometimes to purchase works and archives?


For Sugaya art products, purchasing works is getting harder.Outstanding works are rarely circulated in the market, and even if they appear they are getting very expensive.On the other hand, archiving materials donated is increasingly important.First of all we will work on archiving materials that we have received.


- The way of the art museum changes greatly from now on, is not it?


Sugatuy, are not you?Even at the new museum, we have four action guidelines: holding special and exhibition exhibitions, exhibiting collections, archiving and collaboration.In the industrial design archive, that is, the archive of household electric appliances, we are exploring the possibilities of maintenance and utilization of the archive in cooperation with manufacturers, universities, various people interested in art and design.
I have realized that the concept of the museum has changed significantly in the last 30 years.In the past, museums have tried to do anything on their own with as many staff as possible, but now it is no longer possible to maintain a large organization on a budgetary basis.So I came out of the museum as a "platform".It is an image of a new public facility where diverse people gather, flow, encounter, work together through art and design.


- It seems that the maintenance of the archive is already proceeding, but can you browse by the general public after opening the new museum?


Sugaya Yes, I am targeting that.Currently, the way of thinking about archiving is changing drastically.In the past, it was usual to first create inventories, organize them and publish them.But recently it is not obsessed with catalogs, first categorize roughly by rough classification by age and item roughly and then sorting into small chunks from there.And, if there is a person who wants to view it, it is a way to see some small chunks and work with the help of those people.
For example, if it is an archive of a certain design exhibition, all the related documents such as a planning document, a list of exhibits, exhibition planning, publications and the like are roughly compiled, and the viewers are raised to enhance accuracy as an archive It is an image.Since I can not publish and view it even when I ask for perfection from the beginning.


- Looking at the drawing of the new museum, there is a large archive room.


Sugaya I'm planning on securing a reasonable size.It's just a troublesome film.When storing the film in an ordinary environment, the deterioration is intense, a special space where low temperature low humidity and air circulates is necessary.Especially photographs of works are enormous in architecture and design archives.Therefore, we plan to create specialized storage space for film in the new museum.Of course, we are going to proceed digitizing work at the same time.


- What is the importance of the design archive project that Mr. Sugaya thinks?


Sugaya In Japan, design, especially industrial design is often told on the axis of industry, economy.But since this is an art museum, I think that design is more than culture rather than industry.Regarding the design archive in particular, we treat all designs equally without adding superiority or inferiority for reasons such as receiving a big prize or hit products.For example, a manufacturer tends to receive preferential treatment for products that have marked the G mark, but it is never said that the evaluation of that era will continue for a long time.After 30 years the design buried under the shade of G mark may be reevaluated.As for the archive project, a neutral viewpoint is important, and it is important not only what to tell the past from the past but also the future.An archive is a cultural resource for the future people to make new discoveries.


- Finally, is there anything you want Mr. Sugaya to realize as a design archive project?


It is an archive of Sugaya space.Regarding Mr. Shiro Kuramata, I heard that the museum called "M Plus" that can make Shimbashi sushi shop interior in Hong Kong buy it and reproduce it.First of all, I think that it is possible to archive the commercial space such as space, shops, bars and restaurants created by various designers including Kuramata.For example, in Mr. Kuramata and Mr. Takashi Sugimoto 's interior, there are many designs collaborated with artists, but now we have to imagine by looking at photos.Among them, precious works of art existed as part of space design.
In addition, Mr. Kuramata and Mr. Sugimoto-san's bar was a place where cultural men and designers of the time gather, it is an important archive as a memory of design.Although there is conservation movement with respect to architecture, the interior design will disappear like smoke without knowing it.Even though it is difficult to reproduce the actual thing, I think that there is a method of archiving that can experience the space by making full use of digital images and so on.


- Recently, I have various image technologies such as projection mapping, so I hope they are realized by all means.Today I heard the story and reaffirmed the importance of the archive again.


The value of the Sugatani archive is decided by the future people.For that purpose we think that we have to archive as much as possible and convey it.


- Thank you very much.


Censure: Yasuko Seki



Osaka Shinkansen Museum Construction Preparation Office Archive Location

Contact address


Osaka Shin Museum Art Preparation Office



Industrial Design · Archives Research Project (IDAP)


Osaka City University "Millennial Collection"



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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