Japanese design is strongly linked to the Shinto religion, from which it draws the oriental aesthetic values of nature, essentiality, harmony and elegance.
Additionally, the themes of lightness, reduced sizes and repetition of modular elements emerge from the architecture of Buddhist temples. The same principles were at the basis of Frank Lloyd Wright’s development of organic architecture after his trip to Japan. In the 1980s, with the development of technology, high tech elements also made their way into the Rising Sun design language.
Born in 1942, he is one of the most famous Japanese designers, with studios in Osaka, Milan and Guangzhhou, China.
His products are exhibited at MoMA in New York and he won the prestigious Compasso d’Oro for Lifetime Achievement in 2011.
His works are very recognizable, eclectic and colourful, starting from his Wink armchair for Cassina (1980). It is a multifunctional, playfully looking armchair, whose posture may be adjusted by means of lateral knobs, so that it can even turn it into a bed. He has intensively worked with the Brianza-based company, designing Dodo, imagined as Wink technological and stylistic evolution, and Aki, Biki and Canta: a trio of upholstered armchairs sharing a common seat, but with backrests of different shapes, to be able to fulfil different needs or meet together in the same environment, with style and colour.
“I am interested in the human being, the relationship between man, objects and the environment”
Naoto Fukasawa has worked for several famous global design and technological brands, ranging from spoons to cars and working on lighting fixtures, appliances and cellphones.
“The product should be a simple progress for individuals. My goal and purpose is to ensure that people who use my products have a simplified, happy life in a natural way ”
Among his projects, the wall-mounted CD player for Muji, the collection of cell phones for au/KDDI and the Demetra lamp by Artemide, a pure disc in painted aluminium with an essential and elegant style.
For Danese he has designed the Itka ellipsoidal opal glass lamps and the Bincan clothes hangers.
“My goal is to create something that does good”
Naoto Fukasawa has gained over fifty awards, including the US IDEA Gold Award, the German Gold Award, the British D&AD Gold Award, and the Mainichi Design Award during the fifth Oribe Award
Although founded only in 2002, Nendo is the most influential and demanded Japanese studio worldwide, employing architects and designers under the guidance of architect Oki Sato. “Nendo” in Japanese means “clay”, and refers to the ductility of this material, which can be shaped and modelled to reach surprising stylistic solutions.
“To give people a small moment. There are so many small moments hidden in our everyday life!”
Its talent is coveted by many design brands. The purity of lines, the organic gesture, the works on geometries identify its style. It is worth mentioning the intense collaboration with Cappellini for which the studio has designed many iconic products such as the unusual Tent coffee table, the poetic Koeda coat hanger, the double woven low table Tangle Table, the essential Drop container but above all the family of Peg upholstered furniture and accessories, with a solid wood fitting structure coming out from the soft organic forms.
For Alias it has created Okome upholstered system, the Flow tables with an integrated bowl and the Twig armchair in wood and metal, where void plays an important stylistic role.
For Kartell it has designed the Sundial free standing bookcase and the H-Horse children’s swing collection, originating from the graphic gesture of breaking down a transparent double “T” beam.
An iconic Japanese-born architect and designer but Italian by adoption, he was born in Nobeoka in 1930 and died in Bologna in 2010, Kazuhide Takahama owes the explosion of his creative flair to meeting Dino Gavina in Italy, who introduced him to the Milanese design world of the sixties, rich in cultural exchanges due to the most active local designers of the time. Gravina welcomes him to the Simon Company, subsequently taken over by Cassina, where he collaborated with Carlo Scarpa.
Among his most representative projects are the lamps with a metal rod frame and covered with white fabric, or the Tulu and Gaja chairs where the padded part seems almost suspended, thanks to a slender steel structure.
Bramante is another iconic piece of furniture, still today one of Cassina’s top elements: a container console with an irregular glossy lacquer prism-shaped glossy, enhanced with precious brass handles.
A student of Shiro Kuramata and Issey Miyake, he has absorbed from them the concepts to formulate a personal style, whose main theme is nature. Human senses must be stimulated by the elements that surround us, such as light, sound, and perfumes.
Transparency is an issue that has always fascinated him, which has led to the creation of amazing and evocative installations such as the Crystallized Project in 2008 where crystal merges with music or the Rainbow Church consisting of 500 crystal prisms.
With Kartell he has realised the greatest expression of his vision, creating various objects related to the theme of transparency, such as the Invisible Table, the Sparkle stool and the Planet lamp.
During the 2010 Milan Design Week his staging inside the Kartell Flagship was impressive, as he “inundated” the space with very thin polycarbonate cylinders, such as ice crystals.