Tuesday, 20 March 2012

.DOCK Talk: "Nippon Design / Kobe Design"

.DOCK stands for "Document of Creativity in Kobe". It is the name of a free paper magazine to be launched in July 2012 by the UNESCO City of Design Kobe, showcasing the creative activities of Kobe as well as discussing the significance and role of design in our world. (You might remember the bus tour event in October 2011 to produce a prototype media. That prototype is out now, more about this soon.)

.DOCK Talk "Design's inside and outside" is a series of talk events the editors initiated as a kind of public material gathering, to explore the contour of "design", what is part–"inside"– of it, what is "outside", and the fruitful interactions of both. Please see the details about all talk events of this series (in Japanese).

In one talk of this series (this Sunday, March 25th, doors open at 14:30), the topic of "Nippon Design / Kobe Design" is addressed by foreign residents of Japan, to illuminate Japanese design and creativity from their "outside" view. Guests are Lucas B. B. of Knee High Media Japan, Hal Udell & James Gibson of collect.apply, and Duncan Brotherton of OOO Projects and me.

Duncan and I will talk about the Japanese Package Design Exhibition which approached the question of "What makes Japanese packaging design so special?" through the eyes of foreigners.
After the presentations, all visitors are invited to reflect with us on real packaging design examples from Kobe.

This and all the other events take place at KIITO Kobe Design Hub at the 26th floor, and admission is free. So besides an exciting conversation, expect an awesome view.

Please note, the talk will be almost in Japanese.

Another talk of this series, I would like to point to, happens on March 28, from 18:30 on. Nosigner and Wataru Asada will talk about "Self compilation and work from now on", how to define yourself when working in various creative fields–and beyond–, and how to communicate this.

Great thanks to Tetsuya Goto and Duncan Brotherton of OOO Projects and the UNESCO City of Design Kobe.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

"Ore no Yu": Dip your feet in warm water and mingle with the artists

Imagine my surprise when I walked by the art project room ARTZONE yesterday and saw all these barefoot people behind the closed entrance doors, dipping their feet in water.

Not that it is unusual for this gallery that its space gets substantially transformed -- I well remember the doubled staircase of the Ultra Award exhibition.
And not that ashi yu (public footbaths) are something rare in Japan -- especially in hot spring areas, where you can find them even in train stations. (And Kyoto has several, too.)

But the combination of both is bold and exciting.

An elevetated floor, some bays left open and covered with plastic sheets, sealed with silicone, some waterproof and isolated heating rods -- that's what it needs to turn an ordinary building into a temporary footbath.
It even doesn't lack the must-have of every Japanese public bath: A wall painting of Mt. Fuji.

Created by an artist group called ORERA (all students of the Kyoto Zokei University of Art and Design in their 3rd year but from various fields like graphic design, art, sculpture, space design etc.), this space wants to offer a casual and cosy atmosphere where visitors and artists can mingle, faciliting new encounters and ideas.
They call it "Ore no yu" (my bath) and everybody is welcome!

To access the gallery, take the elevator in the back of the building to the 2nd floor (just follow the signs).

Different events take place everyday, and there are only two days remaining, so don't miss it.
Today, March 3rd, is hinamatsuri (doll's festival), so there will be a special event for little girls.
And tomorrow, on the final day, will be an event for adults only. One member of the artist group promised me that it is going to be extra-ordinary... seems like they have invited a stripper. (Please note: Although it is an event for adults, it happens during daytime, the gallery closes at 17:00).

If you are interested in the previous events at "Ore no Yu", please check the pictures on the ARTZONE staff blog.


"Ore no Yu" at art project room ARTZONE; until March 04; on workdays 13:00 - 20:00, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 12:30 - 20:00, on the last day until 17:00; admission: free; access map.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Meet the designer of a world-renowned logo

This exhibition report was also posted to Café de OSAKA.

"Okumura Akio and Works" at ddd gallery, Osaka

Do you know "Pocky", the chocolate covered biscuit sticks? In Europe they are called "Mikado", and in some countries it is referred to them as "Rocky". But despite the different names, they are all manufactured by or under the licence from Glico—and I am sure, you have noticed their logo on the package.

It is a logo that makes you smile. Its font resembles children’s handwriting; warm and playful, it evokes memories of happy and carefree childhood moments. A good representation for a company, that specializes in all kinds of treats.

If you come to Osaka, you currently have the very special chance to meet the designer of this logo, Akio Okumura, who made it in 1992.
And when I wrote "meet" in the previous sentence, I mean "meet". In the exhibition at ddd gallery, as the title "Okumura Akio and Works" suggests, not only his works, but also he himself is exhibited.

Graphic designer Akio Okumura has temporarily moved his office to the gallery. The exhibition space is partitioned into "cubicles", some of them display his package designs (original products), others his poster designs (projections)—and in one, you’ll find Akio Okumura working.

This way, the design process (=what is required for a meaningful result), becomes more comprehensible to exhibition visitors. They even can get involved in it by ordering business cards or a poster. (Please see below for details about schedule and prices.)

When ordering, you can directly experience, how Okumura translates your briefing (=what is the message you would like to convey) into visual language. For him, it is important to show that design is communication. In the way how he arranges words and characters, the font and colour he chooses, he manages to evoke an image that instantly, at one glance, expresses the intended idea.

Even if you don’t place an order, feel encouraged to take the chance to talk to Akio Okumura about his designs (preferably in Japanese).

And also take the opportunity to curate your own ‘Akio Okumura Logo Design Collection’. Besides the Glico logo, in his more-than-40-years-long career, he has created numerous logos. A huge array of them, printed on business card sized pads, are displayed on a wall in the gallery. Feel free to take the ones that inspire you, and store them in the red boxes (they resemble the soap package design he did for Cow Brand Soap Kyoshinsha), which are also provided for free.

"Okumura Akio and Works" at ddd gallery, Osaka , until March 08, 2012 (Thursday); Opening hours: 11:00 - 19:00, on Saturdays until 18:00; closed on Sundays, Mondays and national holidays; Admission: free.

Akio Okumura will work at the gallery on the following days: In February on the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 29th; and in March on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th. (Please understand, that this schedule might be subject to change.)

You can order 80 business cards for 10.000 Yen or 1 poster for 30.000 Yen (design fee included). Design process takes from about 15 minutes to an hour.

Monday, 23 January 2012

In 2012, turn a carp into a dragon

Today, on January 23rd 2012 of the solar calendar, starts the New Year according of the lunar calendar, which was traditionally used in Asia. It stands under the sign of the dragon.

The Asian dragon is, contrary to those of the European tradition, no evil fire breathing monster, it is a most auspicious symbol. The dragon is special, among all the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac, it is the only fabulous creature, consisting of various animals. In its appearance, you may recognize the trunk of a snake, the horns of a deer, the claws of an eagle, the scales of a carp, the head of a cow, fangs of a tiger, and, and, and...
And even though the dragon has no visible wings, it can fly.

Countless legends and stories are told about the extraordinary power and abilities of these dragons. Among them, I particularly like the one of the carp, which manages to leap up a waterfall and as a result turns into a dragon. It is an ancient story of Chinese origin; in Zen Buddhism, it is considered as a symbol for enlightenment; and it promises change to the better for those who dare to venture into the seemingly impossible.

With this in mind, I wish you a Happy New Year. 2012 seems to be the right year to successfully take on important endeavors and challenges. Abundant bravery, endurance and achievement to us all!

And for all of you who are in Kyoto or plan to come, in the garden of Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, you can see a marvelous waterfall, the „ryuumontaki“, dragon gate waterfall. Its stone arrangement takes up the theme of the carp striving for metamorphosis.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Café de OSAKA reporter

Today I would like to welcome you to Café de OSAKA, an official social media project by the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau. It is all in English and involves real people sharing their personal highlights of Osaka -- so expect also some exciting insider information.

I am happy to be one of their reporters and will contribute with exhibition reports like I do here, but also take the opportunity to explore Osaka more and share my discoveries.
My first piece is about the exhibition "Ways of Worldmaking" at the National Museum of Art Osaka, which runs until Sunday, December 11th. (Opening hours: 10:00 - 17:00, on Fridays until 19:00, last admission: 30 minutes before closing, Admission Fee: 850 Yen, Map). Great works of paramodel, Ryota Kuwakubo and others await you there. Please check my report on Café de OSAKA.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Agenda moved...

to Google Calendar!

Dear readers,
I have been absent quite a while, however, there is a lot I want to share with you. Several changes to the site are on my mind, but for today, let me give you the link to the Agenda on Google Calendar.
From now on, this is the place where you can find those events you previously discovered on the agenda. If you use Google Calender and like my picks, you can even add the Agenda to your list of calenders. Via twitter, I will also inform about new events added there.

That way, it is easier for me, to point you to interesting events - even during busy times.

More soon.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Inspire Japan

The Global PechaKucha Day - Inspire Japan is tomorrow (April 16th)!

The one in Kyoto takes place at Butterfly Kyoto 17:00-20:00. Admission is 1000 Yen (incl. 1 drink) plus suggested donation of 1000 Yen in support of the victims of the disasters in Eastern Japan.

I'll be one of the presenters, talking about the Japanese Packaging Design Exhibition , and I'm already nervous!!!

Have a look at the list of presentations, it is going to be an interesting evening:

1. Micah Gampel (Photographer) - Cell phone photography
2. Hosokai Yui (Art Complex) - 300 ways to learn, 300 workshops; the International Workshop Festival [300 DOORS]
3. Christine Flint Sato (Sumi artist) - Sumi Work
4. Kawakami Takafumi (Shunko-in temple) - Religion and Science: Zen
5. Bianca Beuttel (designer-essayist) - Japan Package Design Exhibition and beyond

- Break -

6. Felicity Greenland (Singer) - Singing Around the Table
7. Niimoto Ryoichi (Writer/Kyoto University of Art and Design)
8. Kit Adran (Astrologer)
9. Ishibashi Keigo(Representative director of gallery neutron & ART FAIR KYOTO committee ) - The Future of Japanese Art from Today
10. Aileen Mioka Smith - Green Action Japan
11. Yanai Shinichi (Artist) + Ito Shinya (photographer) - Daily Life (in Fukushima)

See you there!