BOOKS: Naoto Fukasawa's "Thoughtless" Product Design

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From Naoto Fukasawa
From Naoto Fukasawa
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New from Phaidon Press, Naoto Fukasawa is a $69.95 hardcover billed as "the first book to present the groundbreaking Japanese designer's entire body of work." Fukasawa, known for the often stunning simplicity of his designs, writes, "While many today aspire to stimulating design, too much stimulus is not a good thing in anyone's life; stimulus inevitably interrupts the unconscious flow of activity by provoking conscious attention. Rather, in my view, an unconscious, harmonious accord of people and things is best conveyed 'without thought.' " Hence his stimulating series of "Without Thought" design workshops. The volume is edited by Fukasawa himself, with contributing essays by British sculptor Antony Gormley, British designer Jasper Morrison, Ideo co-founder Bill Moggridge and Ideo CEO Tim Brown, among others. (Fukasawa worked at Ideo in the U.S. before setting up the design company's Tokyo office in 1997; he left Ideo in 2003 to open Naoto Fukasawa Design.)

The monograph features 300 color illustrations showcasing more than 100 products, including watches, telephones, umbrellas, vases and sofas, not to mention Fukasawa's acclaimed wall-mounted CD player, part of the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection, marketed in 1999 by Japanese retailer Muji, where he was formerly creative director. Seen here are some Fukasawa designs, opening with "Personal Skies," 2001, from the MoMA "Workspheres" exhibition. In the PDF: 2) a 2001 prototype LED watch seen at a "Without Thought" exhibition themed "e-fashion," 3) a humidifier from Fukasawa's Plus Minus Zero brand of "minimal" home appliances, and 4) a "Haptic" juice skin, seen at the 2004 Takeo Paper Show. Finally in the PDF, the cover of the book features the wall-mounted CD player, with its built-in speakers and ventilation fan-inspired pull cord on/off switch. Photo credits: Hidetoyo Sasaki (1-3), and Masayoshi Hichiwa (4). See Phaidon Press for more.

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