PERSONAL PROJECT, WORK | The starting point for my trip to Japan related to the support from The Scandinavia – Japan Sasakawa Foundation, was to gain an insight into Japanese visual communication.
I visited both Tokyo and Kyoto and documented in the first place the Japanese visual language using the camera. I started wide with many different directions; architecture, pattern, manhole covers, signs, clothing, food, stores, packaging design and posters. The result has been nearly 1000 images. In addition, I visited various galleries, and had specifically benefit from an exhibition at the Ginza Graphic Gallery, where the award-winning graphic designer Rikako Nagashima showed various works. In addition, I worked on making contacts. I had a meeting with the Art Director Kaoru Matsuno at Hara Design Institute/Nippon Design Center. She works closely with Kenya Hara who is also the Art Director for Muji. In addition, I worked two days with Mr. Yamamzaki Yo, where I was trained in ancient Japanese bookbinding techniques. Mr. Yamazaki Yo is a renowned bookbinder in Tokyo.
Given the goal of the trip, it’s been an interesting journey. With the imagery I now hold, it will be interesting to go more in depth of Japanese design in order to relate it to Western design. The contact with Mr. Yamazaki Yo gave me not only a concrete introduction into Japanese bookbinding techniques, but there was also a fundamental insight into the Japanese way of life, aesthetics and accuracy. Kaoru Matsuno gave an insight into how Hara Design Institute works in various design processes.
The journey and the process has given me inspiration to convey impressions through both lectures and a book. The lectures are intended as a process description based on the experiences I have gained. The idea about the book is to create inspiration for both Japanese and Western designers.
An alternative, or as an addition, it is also possible to think of an exhibition. I have been in contact with Hagiso, a small, newly renovated Japanese house in Yanaka, north of Tokyo, that is a venue for art and other events. They are open to offer an exhibition space for the project. The idea of the exhibition is to introduce Japanese and Western design in a possible artistic context with the book and the bookbinding techniques as a starting point.