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Interview with Junya Nakai

Home > Designer Interviews > Junya Nakai

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Junya Nakai (JN) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Junya Nakai by clicking here.

Interview with Junya Nakai at Thursday 9th of August 2018

FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
JN: I liked to draw pictures using various colours when I was a child and I was painting on a white T-shirt and making original T-shirts.I wanted to do creative works since from about 17 years old.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
JN: I currently do not belong to the company. Basically, I am working alone.

FS: What is "design" for you?
JN: It's hard to explain in short,I think that there is a difference depending on the type of product, but design thinks that it is a job to find a way to be friendly to people.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
JN: Usually, I use natural fiber and some kinds of biodegradable materials to make fabrics. Lately, I'm concerning about the plastic pollution in the ocean.Somehow, we should solve this problem. For example, can we make recycle fiber or other products from plastic waste in the sea? From now, we designer should face directly to the environmental problem.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
JN: There is the word 温故知新(on ko chi shin ) in oriental thought. It means that is "developing new ideas based on the study of the past." Always study, It's important to try a new challenge.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
JN: I have a career as a textile designer for more than 25 years, so my first design is actually fabric, but I have an experience with other design like graphics or interior designs.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
JN: It is the same as Q.04, I would like to use the things which reduce the burden on the environment. Also, I'm looking for the technology that will solve the problem.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
JN: Of course, it is time to think and produce.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
JN: The design is always with products. The product is required strength and durability.The design helps them and should not be disturbed.Restrictions on production machines are also important. Knowing the machine is essential for making a good design.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
JN: I have to keep cool. Always I ask myself, it is right or not, it is on the right way or wrong way.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
JN: Absolutely I will be happy, but I will feel responsible to care about the product after it reached to consumers.

FS: What makes a design successful?
JN: I have to understand the zone and concept. I need a research for it. The thing is what for? What is the benefit for people? What is that you want to tell?

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
JN: Whether or not it suits the needs of consumers. Whether or not it will be linked with the times and environment.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
JN: Basically, the things of design should stand beside people like people will be comfortable. If it can add something as a designer, I would like to propose a problem. These Days, we have the variety of problems across the world. However, people hard to notice about everything. If I would be able to put one as a suggestion on design, my responsibility is telling the problem and make up the problem expressed easily or visualised.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
JN: The wall of making designs is lower than before by developing computer technology. I guess everybody has an opportunity to be a designer. The design field will be divided more and more. Necessary things are just sense and concept. However, do not make something you want to make. Designers need the ability to create what people need.Some human who can love people will be responsible for the future of design.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
JN: I have not held an exhibition for while. I'm making some new project now. When it will be done, I want to.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
JN: I live in the countryside and there is surrounded by trees and many birds. Then I've been interested in nature worship. Japanese have the old folk story like 8 million spirits live in nature. For example, people pray to the mountain or the tree or the rock. They believed the spirits in there. My design source comes from the bark of tree or seashells or autumn colour of leaves and nature things.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
JN: I would like to go to the place of coexistence between people and nature. Using biodegradable materials or recycle materials, and quit making a cause of pollution.If we do not start now It will not be ready in time.If we can make good design by recycled materials, it will be a good message. Here is a good example.https://www.kanazawa21.jp/data_list.php?g=78&d=159&lng=e&gid=81No worries, this link is safe, just the website of Japanese museum.His last artworks made from plastic wastes on the beach.He has already passed away, but he left a great job.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
JN: I live in New Zealand now, but my original is Japan.I have got plenty of influences from Japanese culture and I feel that is my basic. I'm not sure about the pros and cons, because in my case, my design will be picked up or not.

FS: How do you work with companies?
JN: When I was in company, I have experiences of making yarn for weave fabric. Also, the textile industry is divided so many parts such as yarn twisting, dyeing, weaving, effect, finishing, etc. So, I have to go to each company in some case.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
JN: Sometimes companies or makers don't like about the work efficiency dropping. However, designers should prioritize value or high quality than work efficiency dropping. After that, the attempt will be a good property for the company. Companies should select a designer as an explorer.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
JN: When I do textile design, at first ask or discuss this item is for what. In other words, one fabric is not for all item.For jackets, for shirts, for bottoms, everything is different. Of course, sometimes we do all items at the same time. Then, what season, what theme. After that, I start to do design, colour, pattern, material, design of weaving or printing.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
JN: I like a Chinese lantern design. Isamu Noguchi who is respected by many people has also inspired and made the creative lampshade. My big dining table is my favorite which was an old wooden door before. One of my hobbies is collecting frames. It is interesting frames made in east-south Asia or India. Ceramics tableware made in Okinawa Japan called "yachimun" has a very warm atmosphere. Our house is 75years old, quite old, but we can see good works by the old craftsmanship. I especially like the plaster ceiling with composition ornament.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
JN: I don't use much time for my job. I use much time for housework. Like cultivating a field or cutting branches and planting trees or flowers. These things give me a lot of ideas. It is important to looking carefully at nature for me.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
JN: Young people make me jealous. Because I had no information to be a designer when I was young. I walked a mile and there was no exit, then I returned, and again.However, detour or redoing was important for me. It made encounters to the new people and new experience. I like long way than direct way. Please have a trip without a mobile phone.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
JN: It is positive to have ambitious and passion and it is negative to protect from some.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
JN: Inspiration and reconsideration

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
JN: Ability to hear from people.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
JN: Actually, we need some software for design, but those are just tools like a hammer or saw. I prepare books for the theory of colour on the desk, and my room is messy for seashells and driftwood and stones.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
JN: I'm preparing some of my original uncompleted design sources. Sometimes those are useful when I am rushed or no exit.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
JN: I don't know. Between a few hours to few weeks or more. It is important to continue.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
JN: Why did you choose the way to be a designer? Why did I choose this way? Sometimes I ask myself even now.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
JN: It was my encounter with Mr.Jurgen Lehl that decided my work now. He was my boss in the company also my teacher. He was a great creator. He gave me the precious clue for what is a creativity and the way of thinking that living with the earth.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
JN: My clients were usually maisons and brands.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
JN: My favorite material is linen. linen fabric is so comfortable. Because it is good at water absorbency and drying. Especially, I like organic linen.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
JN: I love art as well as design. What is a fusion of art and design? Of course, the design is one of the most important parts of society, also I would like to send messages directly to people as an artist.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
JN: I make designs by myself.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
JN: This project is almost art. At first, it has started for inkjet print pattern, but these patterns were more sophisticated and expressed as art. Almost print patterns are made from flower images.

FS: How can people contact you?
JN: http://www.junyanakai.com/

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
JN: OK.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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