Tokyo Designers Week interviews:
Gwenael Nicolas

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Tokyo 09: in this short interview commissioned for the Tokyo Designers Week guide, designer Gwenael Nicolas asserts that anything is possible in Tokyo.

Gwenael Nicolas - The concept of 'green' is still unclear

“Design is all about exploring, and unless we look to the future nothing will be solved. In Japan, ecological concerns are more integrated into the design processes than elsewhere. I’ve worked with companies abroad that just consider the materials and have asked me to use specific recyclable ones that are just too expensive to be feasible. The concept of ‘green’ is still unclear – it means different things to different people.

Right now, I’m working on a large commercial space where the facade will be covered in solar panels so that the energy systems and technology become a design feature. I’m also experimenting with product packaging as it’s important to consider the entire process from production to delivery, otherwise your influence is purely cosmetic.

I moved to Japan 18 years ago and I live in central Tokyo in Tomigaya. Tokyo is not just a geographical and cultural shift from Europe; it’s a time shift. I feel like anything is possible here. Discussions involve ‘how’ not ‘why’. It really is a refreshing change coming from France where everyone likes to argue about everything. There’s also much more synergy between different disciplines here and everything is about collaboration.

At 100% Design Tokyo, I will show LIGHT-LIGHT – a performance of 100 lights floating freely in space, as if by magic, which people can interact with. It's inspired by the beauty that can be found within the chaos of Tokyo .”

Gwenael Nicolas is president of Curiosity design studio.

Photography by Phil Fisk
Art direction by Micha Weidmann
Interview by Malaika Byng

This interview is taken from the official Tokyo Designers Week guide, produced by Dezeen and art directed by Micha Weidmann.

More interviews in this series:

Jaime Hayón
Tokujin Yoshioka
Max lamb
Tom Dixon
Arik Levy
Ilse Crawford
Matthew Hilton
Shigeru Ban

See all our stories about Tokyo Designers Week in our special category.