Play: Ichiro Iwasaki


Ichiro Iwasaki
Industrial designer

After early work for the Sony Design Center and a brief stint in Milan, Ichiro Iwasaki established his studio in Tokyo in 1995. His work is characterized by smooth, placid forms and a playful sensibility that informs a wide range of products from furniture to electronics. In addition to his work with the studio, Iwasaki is a Lecturer at Tokyo University of the Arts and Tama Art University. Pix is the result of our first collaboration.

© Iwasaki Design Studio

An introduction

I was born in Tokyo and started my design career at SONY. I am still based in Tokyo, collaborating with clients from in and outside of Japan for all kinds of products including electronic devices like digital cameras and mobile phones, as well as watches, household items, lighting and furniture.

On play and anti-play

From my experience, precision electronic devices full of engineering restrictions don’t leave much room for play. But it’s in those restrictions, and the knowledge that comes from them, that I find opportunities to better understand the nature of play. Play is an exploration of restraints rather than a subject, purpose, or method.

© Maria Fallada

On cultivating playfulness

Design history has been made and driven by the curiosity and vision of designers. I think of playfulness not as decoration but as an essential element to create sympathy and originality.

© Maria Fallada

On the new modular system

My intention was to create various spaces through the design of a new modular system. Nowadays public space has become more mixed wherein opposite elements coexist: stillness and motion, activity and rest, work life and private life, easiness and seriousness. Like small urban societies where various kinds of people live.

I have long had the feeling that the stereotypical sofa, made for relaxation, doesn’t have the capacity for this variety of contemporary lifestyles. This new furniture releases the sofa from old-fashioned definitions and context, its modularity designed to react to such a chaotic situation, to contemporary lifestyles and people. A modular system that allows you to sit, stand, lie down, chat, read, write, watch, eat, wait, think, work, rest, etc.

Read all the interviews on Play

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