JUDGES

Ryosuke Uehara

Ryosuke Uehara

CEO, Art Director & Creative Director of KIGI
MORE INFO

website : www.ki-gi.com

Ryosuke Uehara

CEO, Art Director & Creative Director of KIGI

website : www.ki-gi.com

Director of KIGI Co., Ltd. Born in Hokkaido in 1972. Graduated from the Faculty of Art and Design (Textile Design), Tama Art University. Worked at DRAFT Co., Ltd. and established KIGI in 2012 with Yoshie Watanabe. In addition to art direction such as for PASS THE BATON and theater products, also provides D-BROS art direction and product development. Established the product brand KIKOF with traditional craftsmen in Shiga prefecture, creates artwork and holds exhibitions and is active in searching for new concepts in creation. Uehara and Watanabe run OUR FAVORITE SHOP, a gallery and own-brand store, in Shirogane, Tokyo. Uehara has won the Tokyo ADC Grand Prix, the 11th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, the JAGDA Award, TDC Award, NYADC Gold Award, and the ONE SHOW DESIGN Gold Award to note but a few. A large-scale solo exhibition "KIGI WORK & FREE" exhibition was held at the Utsunomiya Art Museum in 2017.

Recent creations are born more and more from free ideas, free positions and free timing, and are consumed and disappear even if they still remain.
What kind of creation can you propose for such chaotic times?
I think we creators are in a very important position to shape the next era.
It seems that making things in segmented genres is no more than just following past methodology.
I want you to carefully observe the world.
It might be good to conceive something by observing processes.
It might be good to conceive something by observing materials.
It might be good to create something connected to moving in the opposite direction.
It may be good to conceive something by contemplating ways of thinking.
Something that lies beyond the boundaries may release tension.
I am hoping to come across works of the future that are thought up with free ideas that are not conscious of boundaries.
I want each of you in your own way to stretch your imagination and think of ideas.

Masashi Kawamura

Masashi Kawamura

Creative Director & Chief Creative Officer of Whatever
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website : whatever.co/

Masashi Kawamura

Creative Director & Chief Creative Officer of Whatever

website : whatever.co/

Established the Creative Lab PARTY after serving as a creative director for world renowned advertising agencies such as 180 Amsterdam, BBH New York and Wieden & Kennedy. Based in New York, Taiwan and Tokyo, he is involved in a wide range of activities, from advertising campaigns for global brands to product design and development of music videos and television programs. He has won various world-class awards including Cannes, and has been selected as one of the "50 most creative people in the world" by Creativity Magazine and as one of the "100 most creative business people" by Fast Company Magazine.

Boundaries have been disappearing as the world has been connecting on the Internet but, conversely, I feel that boundaries that were hidden before are now being revealed or that new boundaries are being created. LGBTQ, religion, gender, the poverty gap... Various “differences” around the world are producing all kinds of small and large conflicts, and when I live in the USA, I often encounter situations where I am particularly conscious of such boundaries. At the same time as these boundaries that have a meaning in the context of society, there are also boundaries that exist in smaller everyday situations. Are you left-handed or right-handed? Can you read English or not read English? Are you tall or short? First of all, I would like you to find a boundary line within yourself that you would like to cross, and then think about an idea for a product that could resolve or destroy this boundary.
If your proposal is selected for higher than the merit award, professionals will seriously study commercialization of the item, regardless of how much the idea is like a dream. Even looking at proposals that were made into products in the past, we can probably only see special and exquisite items that definitely could never have been realized without this opportunity. For me, I think that this “commercialization” is another chance to change.
I'm already excited about what kind of wonderful product can be created if new ideas or fresh perspectives are gathered from all over the world that can be further enhanced with the addition of Japanese technology. We are hoping that by surpassing the easy-to-understand borders between countries, amazing ideas can be gathered from all over the world.

Oki Sato

Oki Sato

CEO & designer of design office nendo
MORE INFO

website : www.nendo.jp

Oki Sato

CEO & designer of design office nendo

website : www.nendo.jp

Born in Canada in 1977. Graduated as the top student from the Department of Architecture, School of Creative Science and Engineering, Waseda University in 2000. Sato finished the master's course at Waseda University in 2002 and established his design office, nendo. He works as a designer in various fields such as architecture, interior design, product marketing, and graphics, and was chosen as one of Newsweek's 100 Most Respected Japanese People in the World. He has won many world design awards, including those from Wallpaper* Magazine (U.K) and ELLE DECOR magazine. Many of his works feature in the collections of the world's most renowned museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York (U.S.), the Pompidou Centre (France), and the Victoria and Albert Museum (U.K).

The boundary between the table and the cup placed there.
The boundary between the cup and the water it contains.
The boundary between the water and the air touching its surface.
It can be said that things exist due to various boundaries and the balance of these boundaries.
Observe these boundaries well and gently shift them.
At the moment when something breaks, a completely different state of equilibrium is maintained and new value is born.
I am hoping that we will get designs that will expand the possibilities for things.

Yasuhiro Suzuki

Yasuhiro Suzuki

Artist
MORE INFO

website : www.mabataki.com

Yasuhiro Suzuki

Artist

website : www.mabataki.com

Born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1979, Suzuki graduated from Tokyo Zokei University in 2001. Discovers unknown connections hidden in familiar events in everyday life and create works that evoke the memories and thoughts of the viewers. Representative works that have been released include "Blinking Leaves", "Ship of the Zipper", "Apple Kendama" and "Aerial Being". He held solo exhibitions at Mito Art Museum in 2014 and at the Hakone Open-Air Museum of Mori Art Museum in 2017. Received the 2014 Everyday Design Award. His collections of works are "Blinking and Flapping" and "Neighborhood Globe". Currently, Associate Professor in the Department of Scenography, Space and Fashion Design at Musashino Art University and a Visiting Researcher at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo.

“KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD” has crossed the boundary between users and manufacturers and has discovered a new value that can be created in our lives. I feel that a fluctuation has arisen in the categories themselves, such as stationery or furniture, through giving life to the story seeds in everyday life by “monozukuri (creating things)”.
For the theme of “BEYOND BOUNDARIES” can you somehow reconsider from a design perspective factors that arise in an advanced information society, such as the slight discomfort that you can sometimes perceive, and from this think about what aspects have not yet been computerized or cannot be computerized? An encounter with a person from a completely different background or the discovery of “another person” in your vicinity may produce an unexpected idea. I think that by cultivating an awareness everyday of a slight feeling of discomfort or of the behavior of casual acquaintances, a “fluctuation” or “dizziness” are created within what is already there, and the power of design is to overcome that word “boundary”.
Something that seems common in some circumstances may result in an uncomfortable feeling that shakes up one another's values. By thinking about a different way to overcome the gap without using the ubiquitous language of science and mathematics is an opportunity to expand the possibilities of design. Applicants from overseas may surprise us with ideas and perspectives that Japanese designers may not have considered.

Yoshie Watanabe

Yoshie Watanabe

Art Director & Designer of KIGI
MORE INFO

website : www.ki-gi.com

Yoshie Watanabe

Art Director & Designer of KIGI

website : www.ki-gi.com

Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1961. Graduated from Yamaguchi University. Worked at DRAFT Co., Ltd. and established KIGI in 2012 with Ryosuke Uehara, her co-worker from 1999. She works as a graphic designer, and has been a director of D-BROS since its establishment. She created the fashion brand CACUMA in collaboration with Hobonichi, and also established the product brand KIKOF with craftsmen of traditional arts in Shiga Prefecture along with Uehara. In 2015, she and Uehara opened OUR FAVORITE SHOP, a gallery and own-brand store, in Shirogane, Tokyo. Through Little More Books & Store, she has published picture books, "BROOCH", "UN DEUX", "Journey", "Only yours. Little Red Riding Hood, The Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland", and the collections of works "KIGI", and "KIGI_M". She has won the Tokyo ADC Grand Prix, the 19th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, the D&AD Gold Award, ONE SHOW DESIGN Gold Award, and NY ADC Gold Award to note but a few.

“BEYOND BOUDARIES” can be interpreted as crossing over boundaries, but this does not mean that the boundaries disappear and things become homogeneous. It conveys the meaning of taking up the challenge to break out of the framework of your own comfort zone.
Or it means that we want you to design a new creation by connecting to something that you find in a different zone.
Since it is a theme that may get you stuck in a fixed mind-set if you think too much about it, it may be good to try to talk to someone in a field quite different from your own and try and work together. It is easy for great progress in new discoveries and ideas to be achieved by talking with people. Although it is becoming a borderless era, I think that how you feel, what you like and what you need are different depending on the place where you live, the environment and national character. That is why I want people from various regions to enter this contest. And I want you to team up with a feeling that you want to take up this challenge and work together to stimulate ideas in each other.

Akihiro Kuroda

Hidekuni Kuroda

KOKUYO Co., Ltd.
President and CEO
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Hidekuni Kuroda

KOKUYO Co., Ltd.
President and CEO

Joined Kokuyo Co., Ltd. in April 2001. After working in corporate sales in the office furniture division, becoming the director of the corporate planning department and then Representative Director and President of KOKUYO Furniture Co., he became the Representative Director, President and CEO of Kokuyo Co., Ltd. in 2015. "Kokuyo realizes 'an improvement in the Quality of Life' by offering value that improves customers' creativity through products and services that give people better lives while they are working, learning and living; we aim to contribute to society by being a Life & Work Style Company and in order to reach our goals we are working on the first medium-term management plan for three years from 2016.

Recently, in addition to product functionality, practicality and beauty of design, we have introduced themes in the hope for proposals of new value and stories in people's work, learning and everyday life scenes.
And this year's theme is “BEYOND BOUNDARIES”. Factors such as ambiguity in the boundaries between work and everyday life and progress in the flattening of communications have changed the whole concept of the way in which boundaries have naturally existed so far. This is also happening in KOKUYO's business domain. On the other hand, we believe that the theme of crossing the boundaries in society, such as the boundaries between countries, cultures and genders, is worth watching.
It may be a social boundary or a small boundary in your everyday surroundings. Please find a boundary and propose a new world or a new relationship between people and things that you can see by crossing that boundary.
Last year, a work that captured the concept of food as a tool won the award. As all items generally used in everyday life are included in the target design areas, we are expecting the submission of flexible ideas, not only in stationery and furniture which are the main product categories of KOKUYO.