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Cover

AXIS vol.197

February 2019
Feature Nameplate: Gen Miyamura
Feature
Feature

The evolution of Japan's in-house designers

Guiding the design of making things in Japan, from home electronics to cars, are creative groups located inside a company that are commonly called "inhouse designers." In-house activity, which extends from the design of products and services to branding and communication, is seeing heightened expectations for its role as a core existence for new business creation and the enhancement of brand value. The days are gone when such in-house activity was placed far from business management, which indicated a low status within the organization and a paucity of connections with elements inside and outside the company. In-house designers are quick to apprehend future trends, embody them, and implement them in the company. In this feature we also explore the present and future state of design organizations that are going beyond the term "in-house," through such activity as participating proactively in projects and building upstream brand strategies.

Round-table
Round-table

Discussion Why did you become an in-house designer in Japan?

How do in-house designers from overseas working in Japan see design organizations at domestic manufacturers? We had designers from overseas working at various manufacturers talk about the characteristics of Japanese enterprises that the Japanese tend to overlook. Through this discussion, the path that Japanese in-house designers should take became visible.

Leaders
Leaders

Toru Iwasa [Creative Director, CEO of Jiyujin]

Toru Iwasa moved his base of activity from Tokyo to Minami Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture in 2004 after being convinced that not only information media themselves but also things and places can function as media from the response and feedback to the magazine Jiyujin himself founded. Ten years later, Iwasa opened the Satoyama Jujo, an inn made by renovating an old traditional house, which is now so popular it is difficult to make a reservation. It serves as a medium that conveys the splendor of the area and is also contributing to local revitalization. We had Iwasa who has constantly been pioneering the "next step" delve into the state of contemporary society.

Insight
Insight

Special Dialogue Jonathan Ive x Naoto Fukasawa
The industrial design that changed the world

In November 2018, Apple's Chief Design Officer Jonathan Ive visited Japan. We were given the opportunity to arrange a special chat with Naoto Fukasawa, the Japanese designer whom Ive regards most highly. The two figures who led the world of industrial design for the past 20 years discussed where they are now and how the world of industrial design has evolved.

Insight
Insight

Long-life design enters China

D&DEPARTMENT advocates the concept of long-life design. It is even stimulating the movement of reconstructing local areas in China as Chinese translations of books by its founder Kenmei Nagaoka are being published one after another in 2018. New creations and their possibilities sprouting from daily living in local areas where time flows gently are spreading wider from D&DEPARTMENT in Huangshan City that opened recently in China.

Kinya Tagawa's BTC Talk Jam
Kinya Tagawa's BTC Talk Jam

Guest: Tim Brown (IDEO CEO/President)

This article is an extract of a talk session with Brown and Tagawa, "Design and the Future" at the AXIS Gallery on November 2, 2018. Responding to many questions from participants about design frameworks and their expansion and transformation, Brown answered, "Now is the best time to become a designer," showing his proactive stance toward societal changes and collaborations.