2020What design can do during an era of change
Yuma Harada
Considering “design for creating a place for distanced people

Appraising designs that are supportive of difficulties and problems not so visible from the outside


Yuma Harada, representative of UMA/design farm and art director and designer, listed the theme “Design for creating a place for distanced people” upon becoming a Focused Issues Director. By appraising designs that support people who live in environments not so visible from the outside, it is intended to increase the number of designs of that domain.

Shedding light on the welfare domain and considering peoples’ living environments is a role of the Good Design Award

Those living with disabilities, elderly people living alone, mother-child families struggling to get by, children needing protection, high school students unable to find purpose... In this society, there are people living with various difficulties and problems not so visible from the outside.

Yuma Harada

With the hope of increasing the number of designs that support not the familiar people in my field of view, but those with a different background from myself, “design for creating a place for distanced people” was chosen as a Focused Issues theme. Among the Best 100 chosen this year, there were many entries with the same interest as mine.

The first was “mi-chan's Sweets workshop,” which created a space for a 12-year old girl with a mental disability that combines rehabilitation and a link to society and the community.

The second was “House for Marebito” that used digital fabrication technology and produced jobs within an economic area with a 10 km radius.

The third was “Solar Town Fuchu,” a community experiment that devised the way lines were drawn within a site.

The fourth was the cookbook “welcome to hiyori shokudo” that calls to mind the concept of a nursery school as a second home and was derived from the initiative of educating nursery school children About food.

Also, I felt the same interest in “The sound of Earthquake Early Warning System” that can be heard by everyone, including those with hearing impairments, and allows appropriate urgency.

The “Solar Town Fuchu” design was one that especially left an impression. Made of 16 residential houses, this block uses a portion of each residence’s plot as common space called “garden path,” or in other words a space for the residents by changing the way lines were drawn. I believe such initiatives are now necessary.

I also liked that seven years had passed since the completion of “Solar Town Fuchu” in 2013, and the community was evaluated after it had matured. There are some space designs like “mi-chan's Sweets workshop,” where the effect on the girl is relatively quickly understood, but in the case of Fuchu, it can be said that it reaches completion after a long time span, and there are things that are not actually visible until after a long time has passed.

In that sense, I believe it is a good trend for a long-term project like this to be entered for evaluation. I feel I would like to visit the sites of designs such as “mi-chan's Sweets workshop” and “Solar Town Fuchu” right away.

An item not mentioned above, but that personally caught my interest was “MA-Q,” a baseball spin analysis system that measures the spin rate and spin axis just by throwing the ball. While there still exists an irrational fighting-spirit-type coaching in club activities, including high school baseball, this technology brings possibility to a change from irrational coaching to rationally explained instruction and shows the potential for influencing other sports as well.

For my own future problem consciousness, I hope that the number of entries from the welfare domain will increase by evaluating designs that support areas not so visible from the outside as we have seen on this occasion and by conveying voices from those situations. I have also interacted with those with disabilities, mother-child and foster families, and foster homes in my everyday job, but they are busy with immediate issues and have considerable difficulty having reserve power to encounter new information or make an entry for the Good Design Award.

By my shedding light on this domain, I hope to see even a slight increase in the number of entries from the sites of welfare. Thinking not only of the economic environment, but of the living environment is a benefit of the Good Design Award, so I hope to further consider this issue.

See More
Focused Issues