Japanese Design Today 100 Makes a Stop at MIAD

Everyday products can offer tremendous insight into a culture, providing a glimpse of what everyday life may entail.  The Japanese Design Today 100 traveling exhibition allows viewers to explore 100 works that represent Japanese product design, ranging from innovative designs to those that are more modern. 

Japanese Design Today 100 is on view October 30 – February 6 in the Brooks Stevens Gallery, with an Opening Reception Friday, October 30.

“The composite or complex features of a product design reflect the culture of the people who create and use it,” said Hiroshi Kashiwagi, design critic and professor at Musashino Art University.  

These designs feature 100 objects, 89 that were created since 2010, as well as 11 objects that represent Japanese post-war modern product design.  These designs can be separated into 10 categories: classic Japanese design, furniture and housewares, tableware and cookware, apparel and accessories, children, stationery, hobbies, healthcare, disaster relief and transportation.

Although there are an estimated 20,000 products used in daily life, these 100 offer a well-rounded view of contemporary Japanese culture. Not every piece is representative of mass/popular design, but some are considered “high design.” 

“Not all of them have the hard-edged, clean lines typical of modern design; many have more supple forms typical of traditional crafts,” said Kashiwagi.

The exhibition, which is sponsored by the Japan Foundation and Japanese government, will be on view October 30 – February 6 in the Brook Stevens Gallery, with an opening reception with a lecture focusing on 'Community and Design' by design director Shu Hagiwara on October 30. 

Design Director Shu Hagiwara

Shu Hagiwara was born in 1961. He graduated from Musashino Art University’s Visual Communication Design Department and was employed at Dai Nippon Printing and Living Design Center OZONE until he began working independently in 2004. He has started and maintains several original projects including the stores Kami no Kousakujo, Kodo mono Koto, Chuo Line Design Network, Kunitachi Honten, Nishi-ogi Shiten, Kokubunji Sanchi, Tenu Kore, and Kami Mino. Books he has authored include Nine Tsubo House and Design Stance. He currently is the shopkeeper of Tsukushi Stationery, a representative of the public company Shuhenka, and a professor in the Design Department at Meisei University in Tokyo. 

For more information about the exhibition, click here.

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