Author(s): Kenya Hara
The story of Japan's design ethos, by Muji's celebrated art director
As Art Director for Muji since 2002, Japanese graphic designer Kenya Hara (born 1958) and his aesthetic of pared-back, beautifully functional objects has taken the world by (quiet) storm. With Kenya Hara: Designing Japan, the designer presents his vision of how his industry can contribute to the future of his country: a future founded on Hara's unique philosophy of beauty as well as crowd-sourced wisdom from around the world.
The book spans history, from the beginnings of professional Japanese design in the 16th century to the impact of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. But Hara's real focus is on the future. A master collaborator, meticulous organizer and globally conscious innovator, Hara draws on more than three decades of work in design and exhibition curating, as well his professional interactions with creators from many fields.
Designing Japan offers a foundation course on the essence of Japanese aesthetics, while maintaining a practical approach to Japan's circumstances and future possibilities. Hara reveals the methods by which designers in Japan work with government and industry, and considers how design can propose solutions for this island nation as its population ages, other nations take over manufacturing and technology develops. Illustrations and examples recognize successful problem-solving through design, proving that design is a living, changing industry that remains relevant not in spite of, but as a partner to, advancing technology.