Dezeen and MINI World Tour: as digital technology changes the way we work and relax, Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa discusses its impact on furniture design in this movie filmed in Milan last month. Update: this interview is featured in Dezeen Book of Interviews, which is on sale now for £12.
Speaking to us at the B&B Italia showroom in Via Durini, Fukasawa shows us how he designed the Papilio range of armchairs, sofas and beds – which all feature wide, butterfly-like backs – in response to the way people use their mobile phones and tablet computers.
"In your life, everything is integrated," he says. "So you lie down on the bed, watching TV, calling on your mobile, working, eating food. That's why I designed these chairs and the bed with a back."
Shrinking technology is changing the types of furniture people use at home, he says. "Why do we need such a big table to work at, or a huge screen?"
But Fukasawa rejects suggestions that furniture itself will become embedded with technology. Instead, he strives to create high-quality, iconic pieces of furniture that will last for years. "I don’t like to put any kind of technology in a lounge chair," he says. "Hi-tech should be smaller but life doesn’t change much. Just keep the quality."
Fukasawa also demonstrates the Infobar A02 mobile phone, which he designed in conjunction with legendary interface designer Yugo Nakamura. The phone's interface features icons that behave like bubbles that can be dragged around on the screen.
The designer established the Infobar brand for Japanese manufacturer KDDI and has designed a number of devices including the Infobar 2, which have been extremely popular in Japan but have never been made available abroad.
Among Fukasawa's other clients is MUJI, the Japanese homeware company for which he has anonymously designed numerous products, including the iconic wall-mounted CD player. "I’ve designed a big number of products for them but they never give out the designer's name," he says.
"I'm really trying to design iconic products," says Fukasawa, who was born in 1956 and is based in Tokyo. "I’m always using the same minimalistic, simple design. And people like it."
Products featured in the movie include Fukasawa's Meteo barometer, thermometer and hygrometer for Magis, his Blocco stool for Plank and his Trapezoid watch for Issey Miyake.
Transport was provided by our MINI Cooper S Paceman and the music featured is a track called Where are Your People? by We Have Band. You can listen to the full track on Dezeen Music Project. Watch all our Dezeen and MINI World Tour video reports from Milan here.