Design Feature #01

Blooming Japanese Design Experts Across Boundaries

Ambassadors of Design, Japan (AODJ)

Written by RMM

Ambassadors of Design, Japan (AODJ) aims to cultivate the new generation of designers in Japan. It is an honour to know that AODJ actually draws inspiration from Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, and particularly its DETOUR activity. AODJ's founders' participation in the activity encouraged them to form this young designer community in 2012. With its belief in how innovation can take place where different communities converge and work together, AODJ has been experimenting different projects, broadening the Japanese designers' global vision and helping these young designers to break through the difficulties they encounter at work.

Thank you PMQ for recommending us to interview two renowned Japanese designers Mr. Shun Kawakami and Mr. Eisuke Tachikawa (NOSIGNER), who are also the founding members of AODJ. They are going to share with us their founding vision for AODJ and their ways of unearthing art, design and society’s possibilities for one another.

Official website of AODJ
Photo ©AODJ

According to your official website, you mention how "We are a community of creative talents in Japan. Through networking, information sharing and collaboration beyond boundaries, we strive to connect, inspire and elevate creative professionals in the world". In your opinion, what are the "boundaries" that young designers in Japan have to face? How are you going to move beyond that with your projects?

The biggest boundary for young designers in Japan is "language". Because of language, they have communication problems. AODJ will provide a platform for Japanese designers to challenge themselves. Through this learning and experiential process, they will practise how to communicate and be aware of the power of design.

We know that both of you have been very involved in your individual projects to connect art with people and the world. In your opinion, how do art and design respond to Japan's situation and our daily lives in the global sense?

Especially after the great earthquake and tsunami in 2011, a design-oriented approach in solving problems is getting more and more important. We need this approach to rebuild and revitalize our local cities, such as those traditional industries and the livelihood of the people that are all destructed by these disasters. In fact, it is not a question of art or design per se, but we should be asking ourselves whether the "power of design" enables positive changes instead.

AODJ in Detour 2012 Hong Kong
Photo ©AODJ

This community is for young Japanese designers. Do they have to be selected before they can become a part of this? If so, what are your criteria?

Ambassadors should have a track record of overseas business experience and speak fluent English. What's more, AODJ supporters should have a strong will to connect with overseas design talents, such as participating in design competitions, winning or having good performance in them.

What are the recent events and collaborations going on, and what are your ideas and inspiration behind?

AODJ's is currently managing a database website of Japanese designers with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and we will work on a Japan city's branding project in the fiscal year 2014.

In addition, each ambassador has also been working with many overseas customers from the US, Europe and so on.

AODJ Graphic Passport Exhibition 2012
Photo ©AODJ

AODJ Graphic Passport Exhibition 2012
Photo ©AODJ

Thank you Mr. Shun Kawakami and Mr. Eisuke Tachikawa. The following website provides updates of Ambassadors of Design, Japan for your reference:
Official website: Ambassadors of Design, Japan

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