switch - Kouichi Okamoto "Design of Play"

27 April - 3 June 2012
Venue:Pola Museum Annex / Tokyo,Japan

9 - 30 June 2012
Venue: CCC (the center for creative communications)  / Shizuoka, Japan

22-23 September 2012
Venue:Victoria and Albert Museum / London,UK
London Design Festival 15 - 23 September 2012

Creative Director&Art Director: Hideyuki Kume / ICN
Curator: Hisami Omori / ICN
Sound Producer & Product Designer: Kouichi Okamoto / kyouei design
Photography & Movie Director:Hideyuki Kume / ICN
Space Designer:Hideyuki Kume / ICN
In cooperation with: Pola Orbis Holdings Inc,CCC (the centre for creative communications)

Switch ‒ Design of" Play" by Koichi Okamoto

In 2006 Koichi Okamoto founded his own product design company" Kyouei Design". Since then his unique designs have been celebrated in numerous design events all over the world, as well as through global media. His products are available in over 30 countries and stockists include London Design Museum and Colette Paris among other major concept shops and museums worldwide. Kyoei Design has undoubtedly grown into a global brand and is one of the most exciting Japanese design talents currently working anywhere on the planet. Surprisingly not many people know about Okamoto's long career in the music industry; he has released records from Dutch label" BEKKOU" since 1997. It was only 2003 that he turned his hand to product design as a new direction outside of his music yet by 2005 he had already produced his all time best seller" Balloon Lamp". What makes him original and unique is not only that all his products link in many ways back to his roots as a sound producer, but also the fact that he has built himself into a designer without any formal education; he is indeed a maverick of product design world.

The charm of his products lies in the materials used and their sense of" play". He doubts the undoubtable, challenges our common sense and mixes materials most designers would avoid. Just like a child, his curiosity links unrelated everyday objects and magically turns them into products.His sense of" play" is expressed through his designs such as" Balloon Lamp" (a simple rubber balloon turned into an LED lamp)", Cube Letter Set" (an envelope made with a paper balloon) and" Reconstruction Chandelier" (industrial clip lights used to create a chandelier). His design strength is in his playful imagination and he continuously adds fresh surprises to our otherwise mundane everyday lives.

We are delighted to introduce two brand-new products from his" Switch" collection ‒" Musical Table" and" Lighting Chair". Different meanings and stories emerge when a musical box is transformed into a table, and a light into a chair. As an important element, users' own imagination is a key ingredient to experience these products and it is important to enjoy Okamoto's designs with a completely open mind. It is probably natural for users to feel in some ways challenged by their encounters and interactions with the products. In other words, the theme" Switch" could also be the switch of positions between player and the object ‒ the question is, who is actually doing the playing? This exhibition will challenge our sense of" play".

Hisami Omori, curator(ICN)

Artist Profile