Iigura Project starts
In 1976, a plan to develop Japan's first privately owned design center in an exclusive area of Iigura Katamachi in Roppongi, Tokyo, was launched as the Iigura Project. Japan's top designers and planners were involved in the project to create a concept for a new design movement. A "design and lifestyle proposal body" was envisioned, with lifestyle proposals, promotional proposals, and space proposals, all of which are highly cultural in nature. The project was given the name "AXIS" (axis), advocating that it would be the central axis of design.
Characteristics of the site area
Roppongi was a cutting-edge and multifaceted area where many people in creative professions gathered. On the other hand, there were residential areas around Iigura, and it was thought that this place, located at the junction of the busy Roppongi area with many offices and the quiet Iigura area, would be a suitable place for a new presence and proposal.
A place for introducing design and lifestyle diversity
We believed that design will play an increasingly important role in the rapidly developing industrial society and in the lives of people. The AXIS building was established as a base for our design promotion activities in the hope of bringing richness and happiness to people's lives by making them aware of designs, products, and activities that are deeply rooted in the everyday world.
The design of the building should be neutral and not overly assertive, with the visitors, the products and their activities, the shops with their own individuality, and the business itself with social significance all playing a leading role in the formation of AXIS as a place for introducing design and lifestyle diversity. The colors are based on gray tones, and superficial decoration was eliminated so that the objects displayed in the show windows and the people who visit can look their best. The goal was to create a rich space that seems to be gently enveloped as a whole.
AXIS Inc. established
Integrating the concept of AXIS, AXIS Inc. started its activity as a think tank with design information and network.
AXIS Design Center opens
The AXIS Design Center opened in Iigura Katamachi, Roppongi with high quality shops including the directly-managed "Living Motif" and "Le Garage."
First issue of Design Magazine AXIS
A quarterly magazine AXIS was first published at the same time as the opening of AXIS Design Center. It provides design-related information from around the world and proposes new design trends, and became the center of attention as it was called the "moving" AXIS due to its unique editing policy which focuses on concept across various genres.
Living Motif opens
Living Motif opened as a flagship shop directly managed by AXIS at the same time AXIS building opened to become the center for design communication. The shop introduced a wide range of exceptional design products in the state-of-the-art space. As a pioneer of lifestyle shop, it gained a great deal of attention.
Le Garage opens
At the same time AXIS opened, a directly-managed shop with its interior designed by Shiro Kuramata featuring garage and automotive products opened. The shop offers a wide range of automotive accessories such as tires, wheels, and steering wheels, as well as BMW Motorsport clothing, bags, and Porsche-designed accessories.
Forming "Le Garage Cox Racing Team"
Activities of the directly-managed shop "Le Garage" had stretched to form a racing team and participated in F3000
Championship ahead of the motor-sport boom in Japan.
Members of the international council of MOMA visited the AXIS Design Center
When the exhibition of works by Emilio Ambasz, an architect based in New York, was held at the AXIS Design Center, members of the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA) Advisory Committee visited the venue.
Design Magazine AXIS won an international award
Design Magazine AXIS won an award in publishing category at the International Council of Societies of Industrial
Design (ICSID) Award in Washington DC.
The5th anniversary of foundation
Bilingual version of Design Magazine AXIS starts
AXIS became a bilingual magazine in Japanese and English to meet increasing needs of international readers.
Proactively introducing the computer in creating designs
Design by computer such as DTP in Design Magazine AXIS has been promoted proactively since 1987, drawing much attention in the design industry at the time.
As an information disseminating station for AXIS, a bookstore specializing in a wide range of foreign books on design, architecture and interior design was opened. The shop’s name comes from the word bibliophile meaning book afficionado and book collector.
The10th anniversary of foundation
Exhibition "Richard Saul Wurman: Information Architecture"
Wurman proposed the relationship between information and design, and predicted the design for the computer age. The exhibition attracted a great deal of attention as a pioneer of information design.
Full renewal of the directly-managed shop "Living Motif"
The15thanniversary of foundation
Three-company structure formed after merging Market Design Institute
AXIS Inc. became Axis partners dividing it into three individual companies, AXIS Inc., AXIS Market Design Inc., and AXIS Publishing Inc. to strengthen the areas of publishing and consulting business.
Exhibition "Luminous: Shiro Kuramata"
“Luminous: Shiro Kuramata”, a retrospective exhibition of interior designer Kuramata, who contributed many of his works to AXIS, was held. This exhibition triggered a later re-evaluation of Kuramata’s designs.
Renewal of Design Magazine AXIS
The cover visuals were revamped into a series of portraits of the designers. The cover with portraits started. The first issue was Ettore Sottsass.
Birth of the new AXIS
AXIS Inc. and AXIS Market Design Inc. merged with Iigura Institute Inc., an affiliate company of Bridgestone Corporation working on the 5th floor of the AXIS Design Center.
A full-scale design consulting business starts
Consulting functions such as design development, research, and strategy development were bolstered, and the accumulated know-how was to be widely utilized for the benefit of clients and society.
The20thanniversary of foundation
Release of the AXIS Font
The Japanese font "AXIS Font" born from Design Magazine AXIS was released (developed by Type Project). The font is a modern unification of Japanese and European texts with excellent readability.
Exhibition "Tokujin Yoshioka Design Exhibition — Xperiment"
The AXIS 20th anniversary exhibition featured Tokujin Yoshioka's first solo exhibition. The exhibition explored the source of Yoshioka's ideas and thought processes leading to experimental designs that break through preconceived notions, and introduced the values that people and the times demanded through design, and the potential of design in the 21st century.
Renewal of Living Motif with additional floor space
Design Magazine AXIS reaches its 100th issue
In commemoration of the 100th issue of the magazine, we have put together a special feature called "Prototype 100," which brings together 100 prototypes and models by manufacturers, design companies, and freelance designers from Japan and abroad. The cover was designed with a human-shaped mirror instead of a portrait of the designer.
The25thanniversary of foundation
Renewal of Living Motif with additional floor space
The directly-managed shop "Living Motif" expanded its sales area to the basement, and the bookstore “Bibliophile” was set up next to it on B1F. The shop penetrates through three floors of the building, becoming one of the largest design specialty shop in Japan.
Exhibition "Super Normal"
This is the AXIS 25th anniversary exhibition with Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa as guest curators. The future of design was contemplated from the idea that there are things that are so ordinary that we don't think of them as design, but in fact they have an appropriate form that should be accommodated in certain places.
A full renewal of the directly-managed store "Le Garage"
Le Garage became a shop introducing a new lifestyle of car owners.
AXIS Inc. receives the Special Prize of Mainichi Design Prize
AXIS won the Special Prize of "2015 Mainichi Design Award" (organized by The Mainichi Newspapers), which is awarded to the most outstanding design of the year, for its many years’ activities to promote design.
Renewal of Design Magazine AXIS
AXIS renewed the contents to become the “joints” to connect the knowledge and creativity of different fields such as business, technology, creative, etc.
Web Magazine AXIS launched
The design information site "Jiku" was renewed and relaunched as a media that covers a variety of fields on a daily basis and stimulates the creativity of its readers.
"AXIS THE COVER STORIES— Interviews with 115 designers" published
In addition, talk sessions by designers and young creators featured in the magazine were held at AXIS Gallery every day for a week.
AXIS design website launched
A website was launched to introduce the projects from the Creative Division. The website provides information on various activities, from the story of the project to the design concept, details, and ideas behind the work.
Planning and operation of the museum shop starts
AXIS started planning and operation of the museum shop at Artizon Museum by utilizing the knowledge and expertise gained from operating directly-managed shops.