2019 judges

Kenya Hara

Portrait of Dezeen Awards 2019 judge Kenya Hara

Japanese designer Kenya Hara has been art director at Muji for over 15 years.

Tokyo-based Kenya Hara joined minimalist retailer Muji as art director in 2002, following the success of his exhibition Re-design: Daily Products of the 21st Century. The exhibition, held in 2000, featured uplifted homeware designs by Japanese architects and designers including Shigeru Ban, Naoto Fukasawa and Kengo Kuma.

Known for its simple and pared-back branding across its homeware, clothing and office stationery products, Muji's rapidly changing designs correlate with social trends, resulting in the brand’s growing popularity. Recent projects include a driverless shuttle bus for Finland's general public, a hotel in Shenzhen, the retailer's first hospitality project, and compact prefabricated huts made from blackened Japanese timber.

The designer also heads the Hara Design Institute, emphasising the equal importance of design in both ordinary objects and experiential spaces. His designs aim to respond to the observations of a developing society and the discovery of new solutions.

Hara’s influence across Asia can be seen from his travelling exhibition Designing Design: Kenya Hara, which started in Beijing in 2011, to his books which have been translated into multiple Asian languages.

www.ndc.co.jp/hara

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