Production of an exhibition demonstrating the possibilities of high-tech fibers

CL: Japan Chemical Fibers Association Sponsor: “TOKYO FIBER” Executive Committee AD/D: Kenya Hara 
D: Yukie Inoue, Kaoru Matsuno, Tomoko Kishimoto, Takao Minamidate, Haruka Misawa PR: itochu fashion system co., ltd.

Nippon Design Center is a company that aims to play a useful role in society through design, and our area of expertise is communication. The role of design in communication is changing with each passing moment. Communication between corporations and consumers has already changed from the unilateral provision of information by the corporation to the creation of a healthy and vibrant mutual understanding between both sides. Reflecting the boom in social media, the methods of communicating information in advertisements are undergoing large changes, and the form of NDC’s work is in a constant state of change as well.

The power of design in these new forms of communication comes from the “power of conception” and the “power of editing.” It will be the role of communication design in the future to correctly understand the true nature of corporate activities, and at the same time to pay attention to the true needs of consumers in order to create a “place” where corporations and individual lives can intersect in an ideal way.

In this world of clashing civilizations, in our societies where wealth and economics are producing friction and discord, and in the global environment where we must face directly the impact of human existence, we must search for “sensory peace” instead of conflict, and “the pleasure of optimization” instead of wasteful expenditure. Design must function for that purpose.

50 years after its start, Nippon Design Center is determined to open its eyes to the true nature of the activities which our name describes, and to renew itself as a design company which functions in the cultural and industrial environment of Japan.

The exhibition titled “TOKYO FIBER ’09 SENSEWARE” was one job which was aimed at creating an opportunity to take a fresh look at the new functions of design. It was an attempt to use intellectually advanced fibers from seven high-tech Japanese fiber manufacturers and apply the creativity of design in order to create a vision for the future of the textile industry.

The textile industry is one of the core industries that supported manufacturing in post-war Japan. However with the high value of the yen and rapid growth in industrial production in Asian countries, Japanese manufacturers are being forced to abandon apparel products and seek to pioneer new markets. China, India, and other countries with low labor costs have now taken the lead in the production of synthetic fibers for apparel.

However high-tech Japanese fibers have opened up new possibilities by entering the environmental materials field and by expanding their market area. Today, high-tech fibers are being used in application such as aircraft bodies, tap water filter membranes, and artificial blood vessels, and further great advances are expected from them in the future.

The objective of the “TOKYO FIBER ’09 SENSEWARE” exhibition that NDC produced was to use the excellent Japanese creative abilities to present a specific vision of the new manufacturing possibilities using advanced fibers. The creators at this exhibition included architects, designers and artists from many fields, as well as scientists and manufacturers of automobiles and high-tech home electronics. Visitors experienced new applications for advanced Japanese fibers created from a combination of these skills, minds, senses, and technologies.

A sofa which can change its shape, a smiling car with a soft skin, formed hygienic masks in the shapes of human and animal faces, light-permeable concrete, a dusting robot, a lamp that can extend to a length of six meters without support and without bending, and many other innovations…

The combination of the high-tech fiber industry with the highly refined power of Japanese creativity produced an exhibition where these possibilities were given actual visible shapes. The exhibition was held in Milan and Tokyo, and had a considerable impact on the world. An exhibition where humans and objects interact directly is a particularly valuable information forum in the current Internet age.

A world tour is scheduled for this exhibition, with stops in Israel, China, and Singapore.

Kenya Hara
Graphic designer. Born in 1958 in Okayama. President of Nippon Design Center and professor at Musashino Art University. Joined Nippon Design Center after graduating from the Science of Design Faculty in the College of Art and Design at Musashino Art University in 1983. Specializes in identification and communication: the design of “concepts” not “objects.” Became a board member of MUJI in 2001, and received the Tokyo ADC Grand Prix in 2003 for his MUJI advertising campaign. Recent productions include the Matsuya Ginza department store renewal, Umeda Clinic signage system, Mori Building VI plan, Nagano Olympic opening and closing ceremony programs, official poster for the 2005 Aichi World’s Fair, and other works representing Japan. Exhibitions which he has produced, including “RE DESIGN,” “HAPTIC,” and “SENSEWARE” have attracted attention as attempts at changing the understanding of the relationships between design and society and between human beings and their senses. His recent book Designing Design has been translated into several languages and read by many persons around the world.

Photo: Nacása & Partners

1. Kashiwa Sato | Toys of visible air  2. Atelier Omoya + Hara Design Institute | WATER LOGO ’09  3. Shigeru Ban | Carbon fiber chair  4. Antonio Citterio | MOSHI-MOSHI  5. mintdesigns | TO BE SOMEONE  6. nendo | Blown fabric  7. Kengo Kuma | CON / FIBER  8. Ross Lovegrove | SEED OF LOVE  9. Gwenael Nicolas | Mist bench  10. Hiroo Iwata | Robot tile  11. Kosuke Tsumura | Mother Peace cocoon cradle  12. Yasuhiro Suzuki | Fiber person
Photo: Vda inc./amanagroup

Photo: Nacása & Partners