/ #design


To the West­ern world, Naoto Fuka­sawa is known as the designer behind many iconic Muji products.

To the Japan­ese, Naoto is much more. He pro­motes design edu­ca­tion and is a fix­ture in the Japan­ese scene. Nao­to, together with fash­ion design­er, Issey Miyaki, and graphic design­er, Taku Satoh, founded the 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT muse­um, where they direct and curate each exhibit.

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT has rotat­ing exhibits and I got a chance to see the “GRAND PROJECTS: HOW FAR WILL YOU GO?” exhibit. Grand Projects fea­ture large-s­cale projects (hence the name “grand”) that inspire a sense of awe and won­der (“how far will you go?”).

These projects are inter­est­ing because they strike the per­fect bal­ance between con­cep­tual art and pur­pose­ful design. Through these works, we can explore how much more delight­ful and inspir­ing our daily lives can be.

An instal­la­tion of glass wall, seg­mented into parts and filled with com­fort­able bed­ding and enter­tain­ment. There was even an overnight event where peo­ple could stay over, while peo­ple on the out­side could watch.

Sure, it’s totally weird and voyeuris­tic, but hav­ing been inside, it’s oddly com­fort­able. There’s some­thing with the soft sheets and the beau­ti­ful nat­ural light and court­yard. It should be very uncom­fort­able but it isn’t.

A plas­tic cocoon made out of clear tape. It’s a resilient struc­ture with a very inter­est­ing form. The cocoon flexes when peo­ple walk around inside, but it is secured with very strong metal parts.

The instal­la­tion is an expe­ri­ence in itself. While lin­ing up, you can hear voices and sounds of the peo­ple inside, but you have no idea what it’s like in there or what they’re doing.

It’s a mys­tery, and when you finally get to climb inside, it’s exciting.

There are other design muse­ums in Tokyo, but 21_21 stands out as the most inter­est­ing one. Other muse­ums, like the Nezu Muse­um, boasts design work, but in real­ity are filled with his­toric paint­ings and arti­facts, not design work.

So, 21_21 is def­i­nitely worth a visit.