Design in Japan
Breaking out of my Los Angeles routine was long overdue, and I yearned for the immersive experience of exploring a new culture. So, I decided to embark on a design exploration trip to Japan, a place known for its rich design culture and innovative approach to craftsmanship. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene landscapes of Kyoto and Mt. Fuji, every moment of the trip was filled with inspiration and new insights.
Japan's history and culture have influenced the world in countless ways. The elegance, simplicity, and attention to detail of Japanese design have always been a personal source of inspiration for me. I was struck by how Japan's strong culture of discipline and kindness permeates all aspects of life and creates social harmony. This same sense of harmony is reflected in their design aesthetic, which features minimalism, organic and geometric shapes, and the use of natural materials. Japan truly is a unique place on earth!
Japanese textiles and ceramics have always captivated me, and I was fortunate enough to witness these traditional crafts firsthand. The level of skill and attention to detail that goes into each piece is astounding. The vibrant colors and bold patterns of Japanese textiles and the delicate beauty of Japanese ceramics are not just functional items, but true works of art. I was impressed by the use of traditional techniques in modern designs that are both functional and visually stunning. Japan's value for craftsmanship and respect for tradition while pushing the boundaries of design were truly inspiring.
The use of natural materials is a defining characteristic of Japanese design. From the bamboo used in traditional tea ceremonies to the natural wood finishes of furniture and architecture, nature is incorporated in a way that feels authentic and harmonious. In addition to minimalist and nature-inspired design, Japan is also known for its striking examples of brutalist architecture. Brutalism, a style characterized by raw, exposed concrete surfaces and rough textures, gained popularity in Japan in the 1950s and 1960s. Architects like Tadao Ando and Kenzo Tange are known for their use of brutalist design elements in their buildings, which range from museums and cultural centers to office buildings and residential complexes. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, designed by Tange in the 1980s, is a notable example of brutalist architecture in Japan. Though not typically associated with Japan's traditional design aesthetic, brutalism has become an essential part of the country's architectural legacy and continues to inspire designers around the world.
Cleanliness is a hallmark of Japanese culture, and this is evident in their public spaces and restrooms. I was amazed at how immaculate everything was, from the floors of train stations to the public restrooms. However, it was the toilets that left a lasting impression. Japan's advanced toilet technology features high-tech bidet seats that offer a range of functions, including heated seats, water sprays, and air dryers. But what stood out most was how clean the toilets were, even in public restrooms.
As I return to Bend Goods, I feel reinvigorated and inspired by the beauty and simplicity of Japanese design. Japan's culture of discipline and kindness, combined with its inspiring design aesthetic, has renewed my passion for design. I'm excited to see how this adventure will influence future designs at Bend Goods.