3rd Hearing: Kyoto, Japan

28 – 30 November 2019, in cooperation with the Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT)


The 30 participants from Japan, Singapore and Europe represented a broad spectrum of the different players involved in design practice: small studios and large companies (e.g. Sony, Canon, Yamaha, Hitachi), universities and research institutions, managers and experienced independent professionals, as well as young professionals. They also represented different disciplines in addition to the traditional design fields (business and engineering, fashion, art, ethnology).

What was discussed?

The discussions in Kyoto revolved around distinctly different thematic foci compared to the first two hearings in Gmund am Tegernsee (Bavaria, Germany) and in Pasadena (California, USA).

Part of the discussions focused on the practice of design as an aesthetic field of expression for what is needed today. This also included the ethical dimension of dealing appropriately with cultural tradition on the one hand and acting responsibly for future generations on the other. Design was defined to be located at the interfaces between art, craft, industry, and post-industrial digital production of appliances and messages. At the center of this debate was the Japanese term “Kogei”, which can only be inadequately translated as arts and crafts or folk art. In this context, design is called upon to carefully transfer into the future the experiences and “wisdom” of generations, which are inherent in traditional everyday goods.

Another part of the discussions concerned the different contexts with which design is interwoven in various ways. These contexts are subjected to faster or slower changes of different intensities. This is true, for example, for stakeholders in business, culture and society. It also applies to local dimensions, i.e. local, national and international contexts. Last but not least, it applies to the roles that external parties ascribe to designers and to those that designers develop for themselves: as specialists or generalists, as avant-garde visionaries or pragmatic translators in the development of meaningful and valuable products.

Statements of our experts

Prof. Daijiro Mizuno
Kyoto Institute of Technology
Design Researcher

Dr. Mitsuhiko Nagata
Nagata Office

Dr. Henriette Cornet
Principal Investigator TUMCREATE LTD

Tomohiko Hirata, CEO
Ziba Tokyo

Asami Sasaki
Softdevice Inc.

Feilang Tseng
ROOTS Company

Yoshifumi Ishikawa
Advisory Director
Senior General Manager Canon Design Center

Prof. Sushi Suzuki
Kyoto Institute of Technology

Our experts