Design Feature #59

Kako Fujita – The Aesthetics of Japanese Design

Text: TL ling
Translated by: Joel Wong
Image: PMQ

The people of Hong Kong are fond of Japan and love to visit the country for shopping, dining, and entertainment. From a design perspective, the beauty of Japanese design aesthetics is also found in their essence. Kako fuijita, a seasoned innovator in her field, was awarded the prestigious 2023 Newcomer Award from the Japan Graphic Design Association (JAGDA), a testament to her prowess in the industry. With over a decade of experience, Fujita's design philosophy is not just about creating visually appealing designs, but about understanding the essence of Japanese aesthetics. She identifies new values and appreciation and skillfully utilizes design language to showcase and bring such an updated vision into the future.

Curves, incorporated

The Graphic Design in Japan 2023 (Hong Kong Edition) exhibition at PMQ features more than 300 works by Japanese designers selected for the JAGDA design yearbook. One notable design is Kako fuijita's boutique hotel revamp project, Korinkyo, showcasing the updated beauty of Japanese design. Korinkyo, a former art gallery specializing in traditional crafts like ceramics and glass, is a testament to the transformative power of design. Located in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, the building has a history of over 50 years. However, the recent remarkable transformation under the guidance of Kako fuijita has indeed brought it into the spotlight.

Under the art direction of Kako Fuijita, the art director of Sun-Ad, an established Japanese advertising company, Korinkyo's brand image underwent a significant transformation. Fujita, the art director of Sun-Ad, brought her innovative design approach to the Korinkyo project. The interior design team and Fujita's branding design team both employed the “archs” from the original design to create the essence of the new Korinkyo, embedding traditional elements in modern design. This transformation is a testament to Fujita's ability to revamp conventional design elements and bring them into the modern era.

Fujita was in Hong Kong to give guided tours to visitors at the exhibition.

Graphic Design in Japan 2023(Hong Kong Edition) displays a book about Korinkyo, and the element of curves of the building can be seen in the picture.

The incorporation of archs in the branding design of Korinkyo is a prime example of how traditional elements can be modernized. The city is renowned for its traditional crafts heritage, including various utensils, furniture, and other items. Though the town shares the same atmosphere, each location has a unique story.

The curves of Korinkyo's old building are well-known in the area and have been transformed into a visual symbol. This allows visitors to experience the history and culture of the place, giving them a new sensory experience while still retaining the integrity of the past. The elements of curves have been incorporated into the design of hotel room numbers, keys, "clean room" signs, toiletries packaging, and other items. This innovative use of curves in design has given it a fresh update, showcasing the unique approach of Kako fuijita.

The design of room number plates utilizes the elements of curves. (Image: JAGDA Facebook / JAGDA Instagram )

Fujita applies the element of curves in the design of room keys and toiletries packaging.

The Brand Colors

The Graphic Design in Japan 2023 (Hong Kong Edition) exhibition showcases a newspaper print advertisement for the Japanese beverage brand "Suntory." The advertisement promotes its Kita Alps Shinano-no Mori Factory, which produces natural mineral water using sustainable methods. The factory in Nagano Prefecture is open to the public for visits to educate people on the importance of preserving natural resources. Fujita is in charge of the brand image design and art direction. She explained that designing for Suntory differed from designing for Korinkyo, as Suntory is a large company with established brand values, which she had to carefully consider and understand before working on the design.

The exhibition features print advertisements for the Kita Alps Shinano-no Mori Factory.

Fujita explains Suntory's idea to protect the natural environment and how to "Living with water," as the campaign emphasized. To convey such a message, the company offers visitors to the factory a range of activities at the Kita Alps Shinano-no-Mori Factory, which produces natural mineral water. The factory is situated amidst the mountains at an altitude of 3,000 meters. To promote the brand image, Fujita uses a four-color scheme: aqua blue which is Suntory's brand color, white to represent cleanliness, silver to represent factory machinery and quality assurance for producing natural mineral water, and wood color to describe nature—different areas of the factory feature different combinations of the brand colors. For instance, the reception desk at the entrance is predominantly in wood color to give visitors a sense of welcome by nature.

Like Suntory, many companies now focus on social responsibility. Fujita feels that designers also have social responsibilities. When she was awarded the 2023 JAGDA Newcomer Award, she mentioned in her acceptance speech that after the joy and accomplishment she felt upon receiving the award, she immediately realized that she had a great responsibility, "Designers must use design to solve problems faced by customers or society, but they should also explore new ways to do so. Expressing beauty and renewing aesthetics can contribute to our culture. This is the social responsibility of designers. "

The reception area of the factory is decorated in wood color. (Image: JAGDA Official Website )

Brand Colors: aqua blue, silver, and white can be seen throughout the factory. (Image: JAGDA Official Website)

《Graphic Design in Japan 2023(Hong Kong Edition)》Exhibition

10 April 2024 (Wednesday) – 5 May 2024 (Sunday) (11:00 - 19:00)

PMQ SG03 – SG07, Staunton, G/F

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