There are very few people who have inspired us more than Japanese master Kenya Hara. After his never-ending source for inspiration ‘Designing Design‘ and ‘White’, the visionary force behind MUJI has returned with another insightful gem named ‘Ex-formation’, which was released today – brought to our attention in the latest Currently of our good friend Samuel de Goede. The concept of exformation, to which a chapter was already devoted in ‘Designing Design’, continues to preoccupy the Japanese designer. In contrast to ‘information,’ ‘exformation’ describes how little we really know and thus becomes the starting point for any type of design. Based on a range of projects stemming from Kenya Hara’s teaching at the Musashino Art University, the book describes what ‘exformation’ can look like in design practice and how this concept alters our classic understanding of information design. Following the path embarked on with his first two books, ‘Ex-formation’ continues to explore the void, absence, and indeterminacy in contemporary design through the vision of one of the undisputed icons of modern design.
‘Ex-formation’ is opposite to the familiar ‘information’, which means exploration of the unknown. He explained the methods and principles of design combined with his program. This program has been divided into 6 sections: Shimanto River, Resort, Shiva/Wrinkle, Overgrown, Naked and Women.
Graphic designer Kenya Hara specializes in designing not objects but facts or events, such as identifications and communications. He produced the exhibition ‘RE-DESIGN_Daily Products of the 21st Century’ in 2000, and through it he showed that the most marvelous sources of design were to be found in the context of daily life. In 2002, he became a member of the advisory board of MUJI and also took over as art director.
In 2004, he produced the exhibition ‘HAPTIC_Awakening the Senses’. With this exhibition he demonstrated that within the contemporary context of design, in which designers tend to find their motivations spurred on by high technology, in fact vast resources for creation lay dormant in the human senses. He has directed work related to national events, such as the programs for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Nagano Olympics, and the official posters of the Aichi Expo 2005.
Based in Tokyo, Kenya Hara has been seeking future communication resources he finds within Japanese culture and technology. His highly impactful book ‘Designing Design’ has been translated into several Asian languages, and in 2007 he largely rewrote it for translation into English, for publication by Swiss Lars Müller Publishers. At present he is the representative of Nippon Design Center Inc. and Professor of Musashino Art University.
All images courtesy of Lars Müller Publishers.