KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD 2017

2017 Theme: NEW STORY
We have received 1,326 works from in and out of Japan (880 from Japan and 446 from overseas).
The 10 designs that passed the first round judging will undergo final judging on Janualy 18, 2018.
One Grand Prix winner and three Merit Award winners have been selected.

Grand Prix

Grand Prix

creator

title 
Eatool

creator 
nyokki (Daisuke Kakinoki / Haruka Mitani / Yuki Yawata)

Description

Compared to the free atmosphere in offices abroad, somehow in Japan having snacks does not give a positive impression. However, if tools are essential to work, snacks are also a wonderful "tool". For example, if "Eatool" becomes an office fixture, you can feel at ease just popping it into your mouth during a meeting or you can stick it to the office wall and that may create a place for communication. By defining snacks as ingredients, giving them a certain form and a special place, office snacks will start working as "tools".

creator

Work Introduction Video(YouTube) *English/Japanese Subtitles

Comments by the judges

I think that this work presented an unprecedented way of using tools (goods). I found it interesting it that it is not from an existing genre, but rather from a mixture of genres. I felt the possibility that a new story will be born from such factors. I thought that it was a perfect fit for the theme "NEW STORY".

Ryosuke Uehara

What was good was the leap forward achieved by the idea of creating a new product in the area of stationery and the office that came from the perspective of food. It also suits the trend of the times of ambiguity in terms of categories, as it cannot be defined as either stationery or food. Based on the fact that there are many functional foods, we can strengthen the efficacy and packaging etc. with the power of the design.

Masashi Kawamura

Actually, my impression of this work greatly changed from the Initial Judging to the Final Judging. By listening to the story directly from the designers, the thought process and possibilities for the future became clear to me. If you consider it from the point of view of making work feel comfortable, you could say that food makes for fine stationery. It seems like a taboo, but it may in fact have picked up on a fundamental truth.

Oki Sato

When eating it at the time of the presentation it tasted better than I had imagined, and I felt that the actual act of putting it in my mouth had the power of magic. In the context of tools to move people, it had a sense of presence as a snack that could be regarded as being in the category of stationery. Personally, I would be happy if there were a calcium "Eatool".

Yasuhiro Suzuki

The judging this year was more difficult than other years. I selected this one by thinking about whether I myself would need it and also because it was good that it embodies a genre that I had never thought about before. I would personally like to use these “Eatools” if they are commercialized into something really good for the health by using select ingredients and organic materials.

Yoshie Watanabe

I thought it was an interesting proposal since the Initial Judging. Creating a movement among working people is something that KOKUYO has long worked to achieve. Although the medium is food, this proposal sits right in the mainstream of what we are trying to do.

KOKUYO

Merit Award

Merit Award
creator

title

Time Sail

creator

T4-202 (Chih Chiang, LIU / Yung Hsun, CHEN)

Description

Technology has made us aware of the precise time, but also, made us slaves of time.
"Time Sail" is a clock that makes people rethink about time and their lives.
It is just like a little sailboat, free and comforting, silently sailing the ocean named "time",
slowing down the pace of surroundings and easing the user.
Most of the functions of "Time Sail" have been taken away, not to mention, it won't wake you up.
However, at a later time in the future, it might awake something important in your mind.

Work Introduction Video(YouTube) *English/Japanese Subtitles

Comments by the judges

The concrete shape creates a movement of stories and emotions. In an era where emotional value is also emphasized as well as the value of the function, I think that metaphorical expressions like in this work, or combining objects and stories in one context, will continue to increase from now on.

Masashi Kawamura

Since "NEW STORY" is a theme that can be tackled from various perspectives, there were several examples of works that were eliminated in the judging at first but were revived once they were reevaluated and reinterpreted from a different viewpoint. This work is also one of them, and although it appeals to my personal feelings as "being somehow nice", the point that it has some elements that people can share and connect with is also excellent.

Oki Sato

The way it is used depends on the person and as we don’t know what time of day it is in the first place either, this work could not have won any previous KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD. I feel that the way the function is interpreted goes beyond the practical scope of the product and gives us a sensitive response. In that sense, this Award has come a long way and I feel that the real thing has arrived.

Yasuhiro Suzuki

It is appealing as a way of marking the passage of time, and it made me happy imagining the scene of it slowly going around on the desk. In recent years, themes have become conceptual and simple designs with clearly presented concepts have often won awards, but it is something new for a work like this that is both concrete and expresses emotion to win an award. I am hoping to see more designs like this in the future as well.

Yoshie Watanabe

From the shape to the intrinsic design, I really felt that the designers had been imagining the people using this item when deciding various points. In the past few years the KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD has intentionally been heading in the direction of sensitivity and stories, so I think that the creation of such a design was an inevitable result of this flow.

KOKUYO

Merit Award
creator

title

Eraser Writer

creator

PURABANBAN (Nahoko Nakajima / Takayuki Kihira)

Description

Eraser Writer looks like a pen-type eraser, but it is a tool for "drawing".
When used like a pen, the rubber is worn down and adheres to the place where you draw.
The fact that the lines drawn easily disappear simply by rubbing them by hand,
has made it possible to draw freely on various things around you and then erase it.
Even us adults who have become accustomed to only drawing on paper most likely used to draw freely as children regardless of whether it was within the framework of paper or not.
We think that we want people to return to this free way of looking at the world that they had in their childhood and create new stories in their lives by using the Eraser Writer.

Work Introduction Video(YouTube) *English/Japanese Subtitles

Comments by the judges

The perfection in the prototype was of a high level and I could get a real sense of the contents of the proposal. Although there were some problems in how comfortable it felt to write with the model, I am hoping for some improvements from future research.

Although the proposal was for a scene with both parents and children using it, by having both "writing" and "erasing" compatible with each other in the design, I felt that there is a possibility of it becoming a tool that encourages children to develop free expression along with the educational aspect that teaches children to clean up afterwards.

Ryosuke Uehara

Both the concept and the prototype were wonderful, but there was a kind of play on words calling it an “Eraser Writer” rather than an eraser and I did wonder whether it really needed to be made from rubber. There may be other materials, shapes and solutions, as well. I think that the number of votes would have increased if it the proposal had been a little more understandable to the judges.

Masashi Kawamura

I felt the possibility of creating a comfortable new kind of writing material that enables you to draw on walls. The point that was evaluated was the fact that they experimented independently by hand until they came up with the right formulation for the rubber as the core. Although there are variations in its performance at the moment, there may be a breakthrough and something completely different from the present object may be created. This could happen by starting with the exploration of possibilities for the development of materials that may produce a sensation for drawing that has never been known before.

Yasuhiro Suzuki

Even if there were variations in the quality of the prototype, I was moved by the enthusiasm and efforts of the designers who studied the components of rubber themselves and made handmade designs on their veranda. We are also trying to commercialize this winning work. I think that such a strong feeling is very important to create a product from this design.

KOKUYO

Merit Award
creator

title

Magnet stationery

creator

Sohma Furutate

Description

Stationery with magnetic force.
This is a proposal to gather stationery together without a holder by each item sticking together as a mass by magnetic force.
Although magnets are commonly used in our surroundings, the invisible force they have to draw things together and separate them is a mysterious thing. By giving the magnets the function of "stationery", the relationship between pen and pen, pen and person, person and stationery, will change. We can look forward to new ways of using magnetic force and I think that the element of surprise that the "stationery sticks together" will also create a talking point.
Since we use stationery every day, I think it would be nice to have a little fun using it.

Work Introduction Video(YouTube) *English/Japanese Subtitles

Comments by the judges

Imagining the scenario of realistic usage, there seems to be a disadvantage to leaving the stationery exposed and carrying it just with the magnetic force, but the attractiveness of the design goes beyond that and I was impressed with the elaborately planned presentation that emphasized the merits of this design.

Ryosuke Uehara

In addition to the appeal of the design and story, I was also inspired by the sense of whether I would want it myself or not. Something that is not conveyed in photographs or presentation sheets is the pleasant feeling created by the clinking sound of the magnets as they are drawn to each other, but in fact this is an important element. Because everything virtual is now popular in these times, I hope that further expressions focusing on five senses and haptics can be developed.

Masashi Kawamura

Within the idea of putting items of stationery together, it feels good to gather them up together roughly in the middle. The sound and sensation when they stick to each other is also interesting. The creator was also good at explaining the process, and he had the ability to suggest the future of the product, "there is such a possibility in the future." It had such an impact in the Initial Judging and would have been perfect if he had dug just a little bit deeper for the Final Judging.

Oki Sato

I always put a lot of stationery in my bag, and then I notice that there are several erasers in it and I am always searching for something in my bag. So I was surprised at the idea that I could carry my stationery around like this all together. Actually I would like to use the mechanical pencil, ruler and eraser fixed together like this.

Yoshie Watanabe

As well as being able to gather stationery together and carry it around, it was also good that actual scenarios for usage were specifically suggested, such as the unexpected need for a compass that could be assembled by combining various stationery items.

KOKUYO

Genral comments by the judges
* Judge occupations and titles current as of the time the individual served as judge.

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Ryosuke Uehara

CEO, Art Director & Creative Director of KIGI

I was hoping for a new genre to be born, so it was good that designs with that element in it appeared in the Final Judging. I think that it is an interesting trend that the kind of designs that have somewhat increased are those in which the creator does not provide guidance to the user about the design but rather entrusts a sense of freedom and imagination to the user. On the other hand, we did not know how to deal with the idea of a new genre, and there were some scenes with fiery discussions. Since designs will evolve further from now on, applicants will have to explore new structures for their ideas and think more deeply and express the area of feelings. Also, the judges will be required to read more deeply into the designs.

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Masashi Kawamura

CEO & Executive Creative Director of PARTY NY

It was the first time for me to participate as a judge and I really enjoyed it. In recent years, there has been more of a focus on incorporating the elements of narrative and context into designs and with the importance of emotional value being talked about, I think it became inevitable that the theme of NEW STORY emerged. I was looking forward to seeing how the applicants would interpret this theme, and as a result, there were a rich variety of designs and I was able to look at each one with a fresh feeling. From now on, I am hoping to see more designs bases on themes that capture the feel of the times and give us a sense of surprise.

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Oki Sato

CEO & designer of design office nendo

Several designs that first of all had been discarded by the judges were revived after being interpreted from a different perspective. "NEW STORY" was an interesting theme in that the designs could be evaluated from various viewpoints. Although I had my personal feelings while reviewing the designs, I strongly felt the possibilities for the things that are able to expand connections by being able to create a sense of empathy in many people. Although it had been quite a while since the last time I was a judge, I was amazed by the evolution of the concept and process of the KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD.

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Yasuhiro Suzuki

Artist

The thing I felt in my 5th year of judging this Award was that it has reached a level of being able to deal with designs with no clear purpose. The number of works for which the usage changes depending on the people who use it has increased, and I felt that these designs were more like art than a product that meets the needs of the customer. I got the impression that the activities of designers and their way of living as creators has become more fluid. So the possibilities for the creation of designs in a softer and more flexible way have expanded in ways which would not be possible in the creative activities of ordinary companies or within a framework of closed values.

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Yoshie Watanabe

Art Director & Designer of KIGI

I was pleased that I could feel the power of something being concentrated and brought to life in the prototypes and presentations at the Final Judging. On the other hand, it was more difficult to make a judgement this time than ever before, especially when judging the Merit Award, the judges' opinions started to differ little by little, and even I felt confused about my own opinion. Although the concept of the award was maintained from previous years with simple and easy-to-understand designs receiving awards, this year it was something new that emotional designs with a sense of concreteness were also highly evaluated. I am hoping that such a direction will continue from now on.

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Hidekuni Kuroda

KOKUYO Co., Ltd. Representative Director of the Board, President and CEO

As the KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD reaches its 15-year milestone and continuing on after “Beautiful Lifestyle” and “HOW TO LIVE”, we selected this theme of “NEW STORY” in the hope of discovering ideas that appeal to people’s emotions and also have the potential to create new product genres. We want the company of KOKUYO itself to continue changing as well. I was more deeply interested in seeing how the applicants interpreted the theme than judging which the winning designs were. Through these awards, KOKUYO wants to think about future values and propose designs together with everybody. I feel confident that we are evolving as a result of such events.

Final Judging / Winning Design Announcement / Talk Show

Final Judging

The 10 finalist groups faced up to this year's theme of “NEW STORY” and gave passionate presentations.
The judges listened attentively to the presentations, carefully considering the concepts, design, and market potential of the designs.

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Winning Design Announcement

The Eatool was selected as the 2017 Grand Prix winning design.
The prototype of the winning design was on display in the hall, viewed with intense interest by many in attendance.At the event venue, past prize-winning products were also on sale.

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Talk Show

Judges discussed how they evaluated the winning designs based on the contest theme “NEW STORY“.
Event attendees were enthusiastic and attentive, listening to the insight of judges currently working across a wide range of fields.

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