Hara is giving a talk about the book at an AIGA lecture in New York on 29 November. Details here.
Below is a press release about the book:
In this 474-page, fully illustrated hardcover work, Kenya Hara, one of the Japanese design communityâ€™s most comprehensive thinkers and prolific designers, explains his work in the context of changing global power structures, the â€śprank of postmodernismâ€ť, and historical changes in design and production. Easily approachable as a designer and writer, Hara is at once inspirational and lucid.
Kenya Hara runs his own studio within the august Nippon Design Center, acts as a professor at Musashino Art University and is both a board member and the art director of MUJI, the no-name brand founded by a brilliant boom-era bond between Japanese business and design. As a designer, a visual communicator, a thinker and a speaker, Hara skillfully represents the newly maturing generation of designers born in post World War II Japan and raised in the shifting sands of the 1960s and 70s, when the nation transformed itself from a heavily militaristic Asian society with feudal roots into a developing power in a Euro-centric economic world.
Designing Design is Haraâ€™s first book written specifically for an English-reading audience, and as such introduces and explains the importance of such concepts as â€śemptinessâ€ť in the visual and philosophical traditions of Japan, and their application to design. For this audience, Hara has chosen examples of his work that clearly illustrate the visual cultural background that underpins his philosophy, examples ranging from programs for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Nagano Winter Olympic Games 1998 to signage for clinics, interior work for unique hotels, and book designs, as well as numerous pieces defining the MUJI brand and concept.
A brilliant strategist and educator, Kenya Hara has also devised and directed numerous conceptually powerful exhibitions, including Re-Design: Daily Products of the 21st Century in 2000, HAPTIC â€” Awakening the Senses in 2004, Exformation RESORT in 2006 and SENSEWEAR in 2007. Through these product-oriented, yet philosophically astounding group shows, which are curated around important design and lifestyle themes and undertaken by contemporary superstars in such fields as architecture, product design and electronics, Hara has queried the entire community of designers as to the purpose and ultimate use of design today. This book is his attempt to open up the discussion to even more designers and to members of the global community, all of whom are intimately affected by design on a daily basis.
474 pages, 400 color illustrations, 50 drawings
16.5 x 24 cm.