公益財団法人日本デザイン振興会 公益財団法人日本デザイン振興会

Messages

Motomi Kawakami
Chairman, Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP)

As times change, the methods and direction we have taken in the Good Design Award and other Japan Institute of Design Promotion activities have changed with them. Our perspective has shifted from an initial focus on helping Japanese industry rebuild, through more competitive products, to a public-minded viewpoint that recognizes how design can enrich culture and bring harmony to environments at many levels. As society matures, the scope of design naturally broadens. Instead of merely making things more convenient, design should afford a sense of contentment that comes from living in tune with nature.

Although times may change, the enduring essence of humanity does not, and as our post-disaster society reflects on the path Japan has taken, we have seen initiatives to get back to basics. In design and other fields, people are objecting to many aspects of the status quo, turning toward locally rooted globalism, and reviving traditions in various ways, attempting to redefine Japanese ideals.

This raises a few key issues for us in design promotion, which we must consider in fulfilling our basic role of bridging the design community and society at large. First, we must realize how vital it is for design to support community development "both industrially and environmentally" by fostering personal growth, the creation of intangible community assets, and so on. I myself contribute in community building through regional design competition screenings and other work. Local goals and approaches may vary, but where the soil is fertile for good leaders, I sense that communities can thrive. The next important topic for us is how younger generations approach design. One emerging trend among younger designers in Japan and elsewhere who face less favorable employment conditions is to take the initiative and produce one’s own projects. Another Information Age development is the potential for freer interdisciplinary collaboration, which promises to drive more design in Japan. People are still exploring these developments, but there is great interest both in what will inspire how younger generations think and work and in the new dynamics that may emerge.

Tourism and interaction with foreigners exposes people to other cultures and lifestyles, but JDP must instill a deeper appreciation of unfamiliar things and ideas through design promotion that accurately conveys underlying thinking and ideologies.

In design promotion, it is the Institute's mission to look for indicators of good design and share them with society. We will not stray from this mission, which we approach with a certain sense of ethics, sound judgment, and keen aesthetic sensibilities. Through our mission, we have developed the Good Design Award ideals that we continue to share with fast-growing Asian nations and around the world. To expand our role in this regard, we will need stronger support from those who ultimately use the products of design. Consumers have become more discerning, and some have more foresight than designers themselves. Accordingly, industries are evolving away from uniform mass production for the masses to more specialized, responsive production aimed at offering a generation's favorite new products.

On the other hand, building a fulfilling and sustainable society requires us to redesign our current society of consumption. Although people have been working toward the kind of society that values long-term recycling of high-quality products by addressing ecological issues, saving energy, and taking action for the environment in many ways, these efforts are relatively recent. Further progress depends on new social structures aimed at overall coordination, through collaboration and reorganization in many industrial and academic fields. Such developments can drive innovation in Japanese industry, and we will continue to promote design along these lines, believing that it can clear the way to truly fulfilling lifestyles.

Atsushi Oi
President Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP)

The Japan Institute of Design Promotion has announced the winners of Good Design Award 2017. On behalf of the organizers, I would like to extend warm congratulations to all of the recipients.
This year's Good Design Award winners were selected from among 4,495 submissions, the most we have received in 30 years. The 1,403 award-winning designs were determined based on a rigorous five-month screening process conducted by the 82 members of an international judging committee.
In addition to product and architectural designs, this year we once again received submissions for designs in a diverse range of other fields, including a variety of societal and local projects and initiatives.
I believe that this diversification of design is due to the fact that more and more people are taking note of and appreciating the fact that design is seriously tackling various social issues facing Japan, such as technological innovation, the declining birthrate and aging population, revitalization of local economies, human-resource training and education, medicine and welfare, and disaster prevention, and trying to devise solutions.
In addition, the number of submissions from outside Japan, and particularly from other countries in Asia, has risen dramatically. Behind this may be the fact that governments and the private sector have recognized design’s strategic importance, and are actively working to create environments that foster outstanding design. An increasing percentage of both the submissions and winners from Asian countries are designs for not just "things," but "ideas." This is a fascinating trend that epitomizes how the fields where design is needed are growing on a global basis.
All of the winning designs show careful consideration for the lifestyles of various people, tell rich stories, and take us a step closer to a new era.
In order to widely share the ideas and aspirations behind these winning designs, we will be holding several public events. "Good Design Exhibition 2017" (Tokyo Midtown, November 1-5) will feature the full array of Good Design Award winners. "Grand Award Election 2017" (Good Design Marunouchi, October 4-28) will display candidates for the Good Design Grand Award, which celebrates the design that most symbolizes this year's contest, with voting open to the public. In addition, "My Favorite Design 2017" (Tokyo Midtown Design Hub, October 4-27) will showcase the judges' personal favorites. I hope that many of you will attend and experience for yourself the amazing possibilities of design.

October 4, 2017

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