JUDGES

Ryosuke Uehara

Ryosuke Uehara

CEO, Art Director & Creative Director of KIGI Co., Ltd.
MORE INFO

website : www.ki-gi.com

Ryosuke Uehara

CEO, Art Director & Creative Director of KIGI Co., Ltd.

website : www.ki-gi.com

Ryosuke Uehara was born in Hokkaido in 1972, and graduated from the Faculty of Art and Design at Tama Art University. He worked at DRAFT Co., Ltd., and established KIGI in 2012 with Yoshie Watanabe, with whom he had worked for a long time. He seeks new perspectives on artistic creation through his activities, which include art direction and product design for many companies and brands, as well as establishing the KIKOF brand with craftsmen of traditional arts in Shiga Prefecture. In 2015, he opened OUR FAVORITE SHOP, a gallery and own-brand store, in Shirogane, Tokyo. He organizes exhibitions and events to provide opportunities for creators to present artistic creations. He has won the Tokyo ADC Grand Prix, its Membership Award, and the 11th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, to name a few. He held KIGI WORK & FREE, a large-scale solo exhibition, at Utsunomiya Museum of Art in July 2017. In 2018, he participated in the Hojoki Shiki Exhibition at the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2018 by designing the Yoigoma standing bar.

We decided to make the theme a symbol instead of words, so that the entrants can break free from language and fully unleash their imagination.
It could mean love, life, existence, or healing. Or the design itself could be shaped like ♡, or the result of using it could be ♡. This is a theme that will challenge the power of your imagination.
These days, things—both tangible and intangible—are created and consumed at an accelerated speed, and they disappear in a flash.
This is an age in which various people, companies, and information are all intricately connected and intertwined like a net. I feel that what we are required to do is to solve every issue at once using our imagination, instead of unravel each element piece by piece.
I’m looking forward to seeing where your imagination takes ♡.

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/

Masashi Kawamura is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of Whatever. Before establishing Whatever, he worked as the co-founder and executive creative director of PARTY, a creative lab. He was also the CEO of PARTY NY and Taipei, and was in charge of all global business for those companies. He is involved in a wide range of projects, including numerous global brand campaigns, the development of products and TV programs, and music video production. He has won many awards, including at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. He was selected by the American magazine Creativity as one of the Creativity 50, a list of the world’s most notable creators and innovators, and was also selected for Fast Company’s list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business, and AERA’s 100 People Breaking Out of Japan.

This is the third time that I will be a judge at this competition. I felt that the themes in recent years have been more suggestive in and of themselves, hinting at entrants what kind of designs they should propose. This year, we have two new additions to the panel of judges, so I took the opportunity to propose a highly flexible theme, one that’s a little different from past themes and gives the entrants more incentive to come up with ideas. In doing so, I expect to see a variety of designs that are based on a wider range of interpretations of the theme.
Nevertheless, this theme can be understood in many different ways. I think the key to success is to first establish what your approach to ♡ is, and what message you want to send through your design, then, once you have that solid foundation, develop your ideas into a design. I feel that, since the theme is so broad, it will be important that entrants be able to explain their interpretation properly.
The symbol ♡ does not rely on words, and is a concept understood all over the world. I hope to see a rise in global entries with ideas that are not bound by context. At the same time, ♡ encompasses many meanings, and I think that interpretations will vary greatly depending on where each entrant is from and their cultural background. I look forward to receiving such diverse designs!

Tsuyoshi Tane

Tsuyoshi Tane

Founder of Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects / Architect
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website : at-ta.fr/

Tsuyoshi Tane

Founder of Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects / Architect

website : at-ta.fr/

Tsuyoshi Tane is an architect. Born in Tokyo in 1979, he established Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects and, now based in Paris, France, he works on many projects in Europe, Japan, and other parts of the world. His works include Estonian National Museum (2016), New National Stadium Kofun Stadium (proposal) (2012), LIGHT is TIME (2014), Todoroki House in Valley (2018), Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art (2017-), among others. He has received numerous awards, including the French Ministry of Culture Architecture Prize (2007), 67th Japanese Ministry New Face Award of Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts, and Architect of the Year 2019. He has also been nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award. He has been teaching at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation since 2012.

This is my first time joining the panel of judges for this competition. As we discussed the themes, I imagined how I would interpret each theme if I were to enter this contest, and what kind of design I would present. Coming from the field of architecture and being based outside Japan, I hope to bring out different ideas and take different approaches that have not been thought of before.
Competitions are full of dreams. We decided on “♡” for this year’s theme because we wanted to create a situation in which entrants would blow us away with their ideas—show us ideas that make you go oh my God, we’ve got an amazing talent here!—rather than us judging who’s got a good or bad design. Stretch your imagination, starting from a single symbol that doesn’t use words. I expect to see designs that amaze us, go beyond our expectations, and possess a kind of power that people can sense intuitively. We judges are serious about this. We don’t simply accept designs—we will stay on our toes and keep our eyes open, with every intention of bringing out the value of a design, even if its creator wasn’t aware of that value and and didn’t expect it, and carrying that value into the future.
Competitions are an opportunity in which a single idea can create a new future. I hope you take that first step and put yourself out there on the world stage with ambition and daring.

Teruhiro Yanagihara

Teruhiro Yanagihara

Designer
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website : teruhiroyanagihara.jp/

Teruhiro Yanagihara

Designer

website : teruhiroyanagihara.jp/

Teruhiro Yanagihara was born in Kagawa Prefecture in 1976. He is a designer, and established his own studio in 2002. With the idea of designing environments for designing, he is engaged in a number of design projects—spatial design, product design, and everything in between—that go beyond the boundaries of countries and genres. He has also been a part of the launching of several new brands as a creative director. Among those brands are the furniture brand KARIMOKU NEW STANDARD, the ceramics brand 1616/ Arita Japan, and 2016/. Some of his works have their place in the permanent collections of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the CNAP (Centre national des arts plastiques), to name a few. He is also the co-author of several books, including Real Anonymous Designs (from Gakugei Shuppansha), Design manners from 11 designers between 2000 and 2009 (Rikuyosha).

I participated in some competitions when I was younger. They gave me an opportunity to learn that you can’t design a product with your own ideas alone—you have to look at what companies and consumers are looking for and what you’re proposing. Products are born out of the relationship between both parties.
KOKUYO may seem to most people like a serious company with a long history, but in reality, it’s a flexible and creative company. KOKUYO is changing its public image in bold ways, not just through product development. I also want you all to think about the challenges that KOKUYO is taking on in regard to the theme “♡.”
Designs that win an award are made into commercial products after the competition, but it’s not that KOKUYO puts them on the market without involving their designers. It is ensured in the commercialization projects that the company and winners work together when it comes to putting the products on the market. I want the KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD to be a competition where KOKUYO, the judges, and the entrants can grow together through a relationship of parties who share the same dreams, rather than a competition where dreams come true.

Yoshie Watanabe

Yoshie Watanabe

Art Director & Designer at KIGI Co., Ltd.
MORE INFO

website : www.ki-gi.com

Yoshie Watanabe

Art Director & Designer at KIGI Co., Ltd.

website : www.ki-gi.com

Yoshie Watanabe was born in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1961, and graduated from Yamaguchi University. She worked at DRAFT Co., Ltd., and established KIGI with Ryosuke Uehara in 2012. Besides being a graphic designer, she engages in product and fashion design. She has been involved in product planning at D-BROS, created the fashion brand CACUMA in collaboration with Hobonichi, and established the product brand KIKOF with craftsmen of traditional arts in Shiga Prefecture, to name some of her activities. She also creates artwork in her free time and holds exhibitions to present them. In 2015, she opened OUR FAVORITE SHOP, a gallery and own-brand store, in Shirogane, Tokyo. Through Little More Books & Store, she has published the picture books BROOCH, UN DEUX, and Journey, as well as KIGI and KIGI_M, which showcase her work and those of other artists. She has won the Tokyo ADC Grand Prix and the 19th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, among other honors.

There are many things that we associate with ♡.
Maybe it looks like happy excitement to you. Maybe to you it seems soft and gentle, like connecting with others. Perhaps it’s something like a ray of hope that helps us in our darkest hour.
Or, you can turn that image on its head and come up with something on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Think of things that make you feel ♡, instantly or gradually.
It’ll be fun to imagine what you want to create.
Each entrant has seen, felt, and thought about different things, depending on where they were born and raised, and their environment.
I want to see ideas from various regions and countries.
We’re looking forward to getting many entries!

Hidekuni Kuroda

Hidekuni Kuroda

KOKUYO Co., Ltd.
President and CEO
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Hidekuni Kuroda

KOKUYO Co., Ltd.
President and CEO

Hidekuni Kuroda joined KOKUYO Co., Ltd. in April 2001. After working in corporate sales for the office furniture department and taking a Corporate Planning Department Manager position, he became the President of KOKUYO FURNITURE Co., Ltd. In 2015, he became the President of KOKUYO Co., Ltd. KOKUYO established the following as their mission statement for the future: KOKUYO aims to be a Life & Work Style Company that enriches society by providing value through our products and services to enhance customers’ creativity and to deliver improvements to their Quality of Life so that they can work, learn, and live better. To this end, starting in 2019, the company is working to achieve a second mid-term management plan that focuses on acquiring capacity for sustainable growth.

♡” was proposed out of the hope of discovering designs that exceed our expectations. It is a challenging theme for KOKUYO, too.
Since its establishment, the KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD has searched for designs that would create new value for KOKUYO and society as a whole. Particularly in recent years, the competition has focused on the presentation of stories and scenes in which the designs are used. We changed direction this year, with the aim of bringing out entrants’ inspiration and imagination in bolder ways.
KOKUYO’s stationery, furniture, and tools are often appreciated for their functionality, among other aspects, but society’s standards for products are now expanding to encompass the emotion of the individual. In a world like that, we hope to see designs that have momentum and explosive power that appeal to people on an unconscious level.
♡” is a neutral symbol that leaves the door wide open for each individual’s imagination and creativity. Broaden the horizons of your creativity and surprise the judges with bold ideas that will turn our eyes into ♡. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games coming up, I’m sure it will be a year to remember for all of you as well as KOKUYO. Come up with your own idea of “♡” and show us what you’ve got.