For those who want to know design, want to learn, enjoy

Survey on the actual situation of Japanese design archives

what is going on?Design archives of these people


Tamotsu Yagi

Graphic designer, art director


Interview: July 10, 2017 17: 30-19: 00
Location: Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo 1F Lounge
Interviewer: Keiko Kubota Yasuko Seki 
Writing: Yasuko Sekiko



Tamotsu Yagi

Graphic designer, art director
Born in Kobe in 1949.
After going through Hamano Institute of Commerce in 1984, he was an American apparel maker,
     Go to America as Esprit's art director.
1991 Established Tamotsu Yagi Design in San Francisco.
     More than 100 works of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA)
     It becomes a collection.
A solo exhibition was held at the opening of SFMoMA in 1995.
2000 Concept of Apple Store concept and consulting.
Moved work place to Los Angeles in 2011.

Awards: USA · AGI member, American · Clio Design Award etc.

Tamotsu Yagi



Yagi is one of the few Japanese creators who worked with Apple founder Steve Jobs.In 1984, Prior to the American fashion brands such as GAP, I got an enthusiastic love call of Espir founder Douglas Tompkins who put great success and transferred the work base from Tokyo to San Francisco.At the time, he was already an art director at Hamano Institute of Commerce, and he was working on a number of big jobs, and he had established a position, so it must have been a big decision to start a career from scratch with a visit to the United States.Encounter with Jobs was through D · Tompkins who had friendship among entrepreneurs on the west coast.After that, while building a network with leading creators through the work of Esprit, the scope of its work has crossed the Atlantic, and it extends to European companies such as Benetton.
After enrolling in Esprit for 7 years, he established an office Tamotsu Yagi Design in San Francisco.Since becoming a complete freelance, we are developing projects all over the world to the US, Europe, Japan and China.Its contents include not only graphics, brand design, product design, books and exhibitions, signs of buildings, etc.None of them are Yagi 's own natural and delicate, life - based creative work.
Yagi with a wide range of connections also has a face as a collector of art and design.A number of contemporary art chosen by the unique choice eyes, including legendary interior designer Shiro Kuramata and works by Jean Prouve of France, casually blends into the atelier as if it is a miscellaneous goods.San Francisco, and the current Atelier of Abbott Kinney Street in Los Angeles, were presented in many living magazines as a quality gallery rather than a designer's workplace.Recently, her daughter Rikako also operates a select shop "CHARIOTS ON FIRE" near Yagi 's atelier.Yagi's design which puts a line between trends and business is born from a rich life feeling.Recently he is in charge of creative direction of JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles.



· Benetton's "Trib" package design (1990)
· Apple store concept and professional type design (2000) Collaboration with Kuniko Ueki
· Next Marni's chair (2005)
· Hiroshima City Environmental Bureau's Medium Factory sign plan (2006) Architecture, Yoshio Taniguchi
· Kenzo Estate, Brand Design (2006 ~)
· "Palm" Package Design (2008)
· Rohto Pharmaceutical "Epistemes" Brand Design (2009) Jointly with AXIS
· "Shiro Kuramata and Ettore Sottsas" Exhibition Graphic Work (2011)
· "Selected eye of Yagi Yasu" (2011)



"Yagi Yasu" Exhibition SFMoMA (1995)
"Selected eyes of paper and graphic design Yasuki Yagi" Exhibition Takeo (2012)
"Selected Eyes of Paper and Graphic Design Yagi Yasu" Exhibition Osaka · Kitakigaya Sample Book (DESIGNEAST 04) (2012)
"Yassi Kei no Assemblage" Exhibition Kyoto College of Art and Craft Arts and Crafts Museum (2015)



"Esprit: The Comprehensive Design Principle" (1985)
"ESPRIT's Graphic Work 1984-1986" (1987)
"Yagi's work and surroundings" (1997) Rokuyo
"Selection eye of Yagi Yasu" (2011) ADP

Yagi's work



As a design, art collector

- Mr. Yagi himself is also a graphic designer and art director who produces a great work as an art director, but on the other hand it has attracted attractive design works as a collector.


Yagi French architect, designer Jean Prouve, Japanese interior designer Shiro Kuramata's work, then Saito · Makoto's poster etc are stored.Most of the works of Mr. Kurata and Mr. Saito are from the person himself.
Especially, Kuramata's work has a feeling.Mr. Kuramata is the person who made the opportunity to come to the United States, I joined a number of projects in Japan, and even after I came to America, I got friendly through Esprit's work.In the 1980s he was active all over the world as a leading designer in Japan, but he was casually given presents to his close friends such as furniture which was experimentally produced by himself, with little greed .I have also received some.


- For example, what is it?


"Mis branch" of Yagi collector 's saliva, table of a tabletop of cracked glass, parts of a leg of a table made of expanded metal, and so on.All Kuramata's designs have an overwhelming presence, and they are shining like art.However, it is very sensitive, so care must be taken in handling. "Miss Branch "thinks that there is a fear of discoloring if it is placed in a sunny place, and it was about as long as it was placed in the bathroom where the sun is not hit.Recently, I put out a table on the tabletop of cracked glass for New York auction.I liked it very much, but it is a conclusion that I had troubled for a long time.Everything is very heavy, even if you move a little, it costs six people.It was a bit heavy for me in many ways.


- Mr. Yagi used to talk with NIGO of the creative director in 'Selected eyes of Yagi Yasu' before, "To collect things that I think is good and to hand over to the next generation is to design by myself As much as, there is more than that ....There is such a feeling in my collection, too. "It remains very impressive.


Yagi I do not think that art and design works must be held by the same person all the time.I think that it is the happiest thing for the work that the person who loves the work and who treasures has it at that time.Kuramata's table at the auction was also the same thought.Excellent things will be handed down from people to people, from times to times.I think that it is unfortunate for the work even if it is a valuable work and putting it in the back of the room with a cloth on it.


- You are actually using Proove's work.


Yagi I think that the charm of his work is "casual wearing sensation".Originally I was interested in chrome furniture made by chrome, but I was tired all the time because I had to polish all the time.Coincidentally, when I met Puru-ve's furniture, it was shocking.Even if paint is peeling somewhat, it is rather attractive, and I can actually enjoy using it as furniture ... I'm completely settled down.I still enjoy using it as part of shelves and interior.


- In the case of Ms. Yagi, it is important to actually incorporate art and design into life, rather than just collecting and storing.


Yagi That's right.Although the story shifts a bit, the current design is completed in front of the personal computer, but I think that it is important to think from the whole environment.Touching objects, observing ... There are knowledge, wisdom, and discoveries that can only be gained from such experiences.Actually, even in the process of doing work, you can understand intuitively with such dialogue such as "You want such feeling" or "I want to find such a color" if you have a similar experiences or feelings .But I have no experience, I can not communicate with people who do not know things or people talking with people with different sensibility. I am a very sensuous person, so it is very important to keep in mind that I am impressed and attracted to the art and design in the sense that I think of design from actual experience such as things and the environment.


Yagi's own design archive


- Yoshiki Yagi I would like to ask about your own design archive, but how do you think about works and idea sketches?


As Yagi work, I have left one street but in my case there are few posters, so many jobs like logo and package brand design, architectural signature, book and book design, interior direction, so leave the real thing It is quite difficult to keep it.When the project is over, I will almost dispose of sketches and samples made for presentation.And my style is to start a new project after turning my mind.


- Mr. Yagi is opening a lot of solo exhibitions including SFMoMA, but for that reason, it is not just arranging works, but a wonderful presentation that tells the background of each design work has been produced.For example, a panel expressing the bottle concept of Esprit's fragrance "Trib" seemed to be a piece of art rather than a temporary exhibit.Have you even disposed of them?


Yagi There are things left behind, but many things have been disposed of.Though it is possible to keep things of paper relatively, it is difficult to physically keep three-dimensional objects taking place.
Also, as I often encounter inspiration from natural leaves and branches, old stamps and packages, such as real things, I think it is not limited to art and design work, so classify it and save it in a box It is.I do not know when they will be needed, and I can not quite dispose of them.


- Come to remember, what is the progress of the limited edition of Special Edition of Yagi 's Selected Works collection published five years ago? Based on the popular edition, Yagi memorized that the limited book was a plan to create three dimensional books with various items such as tickets and paper samples attached, that is, a one-point art book It is.Once completed, that is exactly Yagi's design archive.


Yagi Unfortunately, it is not at a stage where it can be released yet.However, if it is said that it is only one art book in the world, it may be true that it is my design archive.It is a feeling that I am enjoying thinking variously in my mind what I am now.Of course, I would like to inform you when it will be possible to publish to a certain extent.


- Atelier of Mr. Yagi is like a gallery, do not you have any idea to make it your own museum?


Yagi Masayuki, I never thought about it.I like collections of others' works but I do not care about my own things ... · · ·And I think that it is too heavy for an individual designer to arrange a design archive alone.Designers will give priority to the work in front of them, rather than what to do with their own archives.
Besides, as I said earlier, I am happy that art and design works are in the person who loves it.Ideally it should be properly collected at public institutions.In the West, collectors and museums sell valuable works through contemporary art and design auctions.


- Mr. Yagi lives in the United States for a long time, but how is the actual state of the American design archive?


Yagi I do not know the details, but in the case of the United States the state governments take note and the museums and universities are positively collecting culturally valuable things such as excellent art, design and architectural models .I heard that they always collect works that have won some awards.Indeed, my work has also been collected in numerous areas such as SFMoMA and MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York).SFMoMA actively collects works exhibited at the exhibition.It is also a public institution and there is also a sense of security.
In addition, in the United States museums and libraries of each university - and research institutes are substantial, and I am very keen to collect materials and works in various fields.Archives are established as academic disciplines and seem to be trying to accumulate knowledge.In the United States, I can not miss that the donation system supports archival activities.


- Recently in Japan, the momentum of design and archive archives is getting higher.Although they are small activities, I think that if they came up with a network, it would be a big undulation in their own way.


Yagi Is not that enough?Again it is important to secure art museums and research organizations, especially the storage space, for the archive of design and architecture, centering on the national government and public institutions.What happened to the "National Design Museum" formerly proposed by Issei Miyake? In Japan it may be difficult to realize.In addition to just keeping the works, the design archive needs to organize, research and utilize the materials as cultural materials.Then, individuals and small organizations have too much challenge to tackle.


Another design archive


- Mr. Yagi was posting a letter of graphic designer Mr. Kazumitsu Tanaka in the work collection, did not he?Besides, do you have valuable materials such as unknown works, sketches, letters etc?


Yagi That's right.Since I am long in the United States, when Ikko Tanaka, Shiro Kuramata, Ms. Eiko Ishioka, Tadao Ando san got in touch with me, I invited you to the topics galleries and shops, and to eat meals at the restaurant There were many opportunities to do.As a way to thank it, I often got a letter, a little work or a gift.Among them are items and messages of precious memories to me.For example, although it is an old work, Mr. Kuramata is collecting a tie produced as a limited item in some way.It has never been published in Kuramata's collection of works etc, and maybe it is a valuable work that may not know about Mrs. Mikie of his wife.


- Mr. Yagi was also familiar with Eiko Ishioka.


Yagi Yes.We went and crossed each other's workplaces.Mr. Ishioka is occasionally my office and I have assembled big projects such as film costumes.Mr. Ishioka worked on graphic design work and equipment and costume design of movies and opera after moving the base of activities to New York in the 1980s.In 1993 he won the Academy Award in the costume design of the movie "Dracula", and the costume design of the movie "Snow White and the Queen of the Mirror" that became a historic work also had a big topic.
Although it seems that the story of archives related to her costume design has been raised for a long time, it is regrettable that it is not realized.Regarding posters, I heard that 476 points of poster work were donated to the DNP Culture Promotion Foundation, which is the mother of Dai Nippon Printing, based on his own will.


- I hope that a retrospective exhibition through Mr. Ishioka who unleashed the world with a advertisement design such as Parco in the 70 's will be held together.
The letters and small works Mr. Yagi mentioned earlier are the other design, archive that only Mr. Yagi knows, I think that it is worthwhile.


Yagi That's right.Of course, it is private communication so it requires extreme care in handling, but since there are also many nice messages put in it, I'd like to leave it in one form.For the time being, I would like to digitize it, edit it and put it in a book.Anyway, as raw information gets lost more and more, it is impossible to leave everything, but I want to manage valuable works and materials somehow to posterity.Because you get big stimulation by touching their raw materials ...


- Thank you very much for today.Mr. Yagi has valuable materials of so many creators as well as his own works and materials, so it would be nice to inherit and activate them somehow.Thank you, continue.




Tamotsu Yagi Design


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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