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<REPORT> Revitalization through Design

Japan Sign Design Association “Revitalization through Design” Proposals for Naha Bus Terminal in Okinawa May 29, 2015

Japan Sign Design Association(SDA), with its mission to improve and promote sign designs, has been holding seminars and conferences throughout the years. Its latest program, “Revitalization through Design,” features presentations by various designers to discuss designs that restructure transportation infrastructure, public facilities, regional and urban communities and the nation as a whole. As the first event of the program, public presentation “Restructuring of NAHA Bus Terminal” was held at Tokyo Midtown Design Hub on April 22.
 Four frontrunners in the sign design field with different expertise -- Mr. Makoto Takeuchi, Mr. Yutaka Maeda, Mr. Katsuhiro Shimazu, and Ms. Kei Miyazaki – made presentations in the room packed with 125 audiences.
 At the beginning of the presentation, moderator Taro Watanabe explained the importance of the bus transportation system in Okinawa (the sole prefecture without a railway except for a monorail) and the issues of Naha bus terminal such as insufficient signs and route maps.




 The roles of signs in architecture: Proposal for architectural redesign by a sign designer

Makoto Takeuchi (President of Takeuchidesign Inc./SDA vice president)  
The first presenter Mr. Takeuchi proposed architectural redesign of the bus terminal and optimization of traffic line through spatial design. He discussed the ways to create easy-to-recognize flow lines not only with signs but also with enhanced use of space and to effectively integrate signs and space. His proposal was comprehensive, capturing the essence of signs.

Okinawa’s bus system: Restructuring through design

Yutaka Maeda(President of Uji Design)
 Based on his research and field work on BRT(bus rapid transit) system in foreign countries, Mr. Maeda proposed the use of hana blocks (Okinawa-style ornamental concrete blocks) as the central motif of Okinawa bus system. His aim is to establish Okinawa bus brand by designing everything from bus stops, bus shells, ads and accessory items. His thorough explanation on the significance of visual identity left a deep impression on us.

New design strategy for our (watta) bus: Delivering design for the community’s bus with civic pride
 Katsuhiro Shimazu
(President of Shimazu Environmental Graphics Co., Ltd./SDA executive director)  
Mr. Shimazu introduced his strategic idea of launching the fundraising campaign for Okinawa buses and creating the design that showcases the contributions so that the citizens can take pride in them. Introducing various cases including that of Toyama Light Rail, he convinced us of the applicability of his ideas to Okinawa. The presentation was followed by a lively question-and-answer session.

Future heritage in town: Bus terminal as the starting point for future – Let’s go on the journey beyond space and time
Kei Miyazaki(President of KMD Inc./SDA vice president) 
 Ms. Miyazaki started her presentation with the question, “What does Naha bus terminal mean to Okinawa?” She then went on to explain that the current Naha bus terminal was rebuilt after the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in order to change the rule of the road from the right-hand traffic to the left-hand one. Emphasizing the historical and architectural value of the terminal, she suggested keeping the current terminal as it is while adding new contents to provide its historical background to the users.

At the end of the event were comments from the representatives from Daiichi Kotsu Sangyo Co., Ltd., the business operator of Naha bus terminal, and Kuniken Ltd., the company in charge of the revitalization plan. They said that even though the plan is already in progress, the ideas presented were all extraordinary and worth incorporating into the current plan.
 The presentations were not prearranged to draw one conclusion and thus the outcome was unknown, but the speakers with different perspectives gave excellent presentations, inspiring the audience with their designer spirit in addressing the theme, ”Revitalization through Design.”
 The event successfully appealed to experts and business persons in various fields, expanding the possibilities of further projects on ”Revitalization through Design.”

(SDA Seminar Chairman, Taro Watanabe)

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