We have turned a big corner away from the era of mass production and mass consumption, and both individual demands and society’s needs are becoming increasingly complex. Also, the conventional design process, which involves spending time within a large-scale framework, aiming at a completed form, is becoming less applicable. We are surely now being asked to adopt an approach which confronts and solves problems more flexibly and speedily, and with greater attention to detail.
Even while we hold up lofty goals, we begin by making small moves. We think About the next approach in the light of the signs revealed by our initial moves. Then the project itself, like a living thing, seeks “the ideal design for now”, and continues forward. I would like to turn my focus to the nature of and the work towards this “incomplete design”.
Design created together with the next generation
We are currently slowing down our economy and society, at a great cost.
On the other hand, it could also be said that we are leaving future generations to pay an enormous debt.
If this is the case, thinking together with the next generation, which includes the people who are sometimes called “SDG natives”, ought to be an indispensable requirement when planning the society of the future.
If we look again at the figures, we can see that half the population of the world in 2030 will belong to Generation Z; in Japan, too, it is said that half of the working population will be made up of millennials and members of Generation Z by the latter half of the 2020s.
As we are confronted with imminent generational change, our focus is on design created together with the next generation, which will be a ray of hope for the society of the future.
Design which takes time
Natural phenomena beyond human understanding, such as disasters or viruses, shatter the illusion that humans can control the world. Moreover, the voices of minority groups, which have more opportunities to be broadcast widely via social media and so on, make it clear that the human society has in no way been perfected. To begin with, the problems which can be solved in the space of a single generation are perhaps far smaller than we imagine.
It has been believed that design is something to make things and situations which exist “now” better. However, even if we cannot judge the value of something right away, we can believe that others whom we have not yet seen will discover its value, gradually making good the imperfections of the human race. This is also a recovery of our faith in the human race. I would like to think About this kind of design, at the same time as expanding the scope of the imaginative power which we can currently possess as widely as possible.
Design which generates a gaze
Each person has their own lifestyle. When these lifestyles are grouped together, society is formed, and has continued to grow until now. However, what was this growth aiming at? The spread of the novel coronavirus throughout the world has appeared to make us pause and consider this.
On the other hand, have we been able to imagine the people who were not able to pause? Moreover, have we not left behind not only people, but also invisible relationships including animals, plants, and the earth’s environment? Is design able to direct its gaze to these places?
This year, while incorporating last year’s theme, I would like to focus on the nature of the challenges posed by the gaze of design, in order to notice, support, and preserve the things which people have become unable to see.
Design for coexistence
In addition to the environmental problems which have been rapidly worsening since the Industrial Revolution, the slowing of economic activity due to the ferocity of COVID-19 has forced the human race to a halt. We are approaching a time when we will have to sincerely reconsider the form of society and our lifestyles going forward. We will rethink the disorderly intervention in ecosystems which has taken place in exchange for the development of human civilization, making a transition to study, communicate, and act in order to construct a new model for coexistence with living things including viruses; the earth; and the natural environment. I am turning my attention to the nature of and the work towards various kinds of design which take on the challenge of “living together” without excluding anything.