Our first impression of Japanese design is probably a little zen-like and prone to minimalism. While there's nothing wrong with that, frankly, it's all getting a bit too predictable. Which is why when TAKT PROJECT first caught our attention with their 3D-printing project 3-PRING PRODUCT, we thought: 'Now here's something we would like to have it in our home. Immediately!'. That was in 2014, a year after lead designer Satoshi Yoshiizumi set up his design studio.
Since then, his designs have ranged from 'dyeing your own furniture' (which won multiple awards including Red Dot and iF) to creating flat watches for Sony. And that's not to mention, the out-of-this-world lighting series COMPOSITION+ -- it blew our minds away with the ingenious idea of deconstructing basic lighting into its electronic components and encased in clear acrylic for maximum wow effect.
It was to no one's surprise when they were selected as one of 2017 Designers of the Future - an award organised by Design Miami/ and sponsored by Swarovski. TAKT PROJECT was asked to create 3D-printed tabletop objects in crystal - something that has never been attempted before. The results were shapes and surface textures that are not possible with traditional crystal glass moulding, blowing or cutting. Another unforgettable moment indeed.
At last, TAKT PROJECT finally gets the chance to show the world that they're a design team that can innovate despite their country's current state of stagnation. With regards to that, Yoshiizumi himself probably described it best: "In any ages, the future is created by innovative proposals."
We couldn't agree more.
First off, what does TAKT means?
It is the German word for the music baton. Because all kinds of people are involved in any design projects, I think they can only turn out well when everyone is drawn in by the same strong vision. Just like an orchestra, in which various performers gather to play good music while watching the same conductor. I chose this name because I have the strong desire to create new visions through design.
For people who are not yet familiar with your group, what's the most important thing to know about TAKT?
Re-definition,Re-invention,Re-interpretation…of things.These can lead to a new vision. We do such things like “DESIGN THINK+DO TANK”. THINK=Creating attractive proposal beyond problem-solving. DO=Take action to make it happen, not just planning. We represent the future vision by design and take action by design.
How do you describe your design aesthetics?
I think that beauty is important. But what exactly is "beauty"? I believe it is important to think about that. If I can create designs that present a strong answer to that question through my various projects, then I think beauty is something that will come about naturally.
How do you decide which kind of projects to tackle?
Society has a lot of strong preconceived ideas. If we are tied down by that framework, nothing new will be created, and to put it simply, we will be robbed of our freedom. It is quite difficult to notice this in our everyday lives. I think that design is a technique to look at things from a different angle. I want to use design to discover that existing framework and present ways to go beyond its borders. For example, the production way of consumer electronics is quite fixed. As a way of changing that, I presented the piece COMPOSITION. By thinking about and researching such things every day, I decide on the next thing to create.
Where do you find your inspirations?
Through my various client work and design activities, I discover things I never knew. I also find a lot of strong preconceived notions and frameworks. Perhaps we can call this a societal structure. Through such experiences, the simple question, "Wouldn't it be better to do it this way?" comes up. For me, that is the inspiration. It is not problem-solving, but problem discovery. I am talking about a stage that is different from just designing a product right away.
Since all of the team used to work at Nendo, in what way has worked there influenced your design philosophy?
We share the proactive mindset of making autonomous suggestions.
Being selected as the Designer of the Future must be quite a surprise. Where were you when you get the news?
I was in front of my computer. The reason was an email notifying me of a prize from Design Miami/.
How long did it take to come up with the idea of the vase? What is the biggest challenge?
It's about two weeks. The biggest challenge this time is trying to produce a new expression of light by printing a crystal glass with a 3D printer.It is like printing light.
Will this design be commercialised?
What made you want to based in the Tokyo Bunkyo area? What're the advantages?
As I searched for places (for our studio), I ended up there by coincidence. There are a lot of schools including Tokyo University, so it has an academic atmosphere. And because it is a traditional, quiet area of Tokyo, I feel it is an excellent place for deep reflection.
Where will we see you next?
I am planning to hold a solo exhibition in Tokyo this autumn. I hope you will be able to see it.
Lastly, we'll leave you with TAKT PROJECT latest creation at Triennale during Salone del Mobile.Milano - Visible Motion for Aisin (2017) is an installation expressing cutting-edge automotive technologies.