When Kenya Hara, a Japanese designer, designed a logo out of Human hair at the Haptic Exhibition, he opened new gateways to creativity. “I designed it using human hair, which shocked some and impressed others. I believe that the human body has a great possibility to fill the walls of one’s home. I want people to use their entire body to create a fantastic world of art,” explains the visionary.
Sustaining excellence right from Nagano Winter Olympics, 1998 to “Designing Design” an influential book, Kenya Hara is a design institution in itself.
Hara theory is object designing and art out of the most unknown ideas. In a recent interview, Hara recalled the masterpiece in his career; ‘Re-Design: The Daily Products of the 20th Century’ in 2000. “That exhibition happened when a new century was beginning. As the art director of that exhibition, I asked many talented artists to redesign ordinary things like matchsticks, toilet paper and even diapers. Those objects actually became art pieces in my eyes, it was then that I posed the question to myself and society — what is design?” recalls Hara.
The essence to create design out of the uncommon and wild objects signifies his work. “Everything is design — a pen, a cup, the coaster the cup is placed on, each tile on the floor, the city. I want to awaken people to the reality of design and make them aware of the difference between re-inventing a design and creating a new one. That’s what interests me most — to understand the challenges in changing something from the old to new,” shares Hara.
Japan, his home-country, has lot of influence on him and the design projects. His latest being methodological floor design for Japanese houses, where footwear are not allowed inside the house, design something that comforts both the feet and the house. “Like in some other countries, the Japanese also take off our shoes when we enter a house. If the floor is more intelligent and can capture information about the human body like blood pressure, temperature and weight, we can imagine a new dialogue between a house and the inhabitant. A house can be a high-tech art form that combines various technologies,” he explains.
He recreates from old to new and culture oriented artifacts by not restricting his designs to current trends only. “Don’t think of the future as the next five years but think of it as a 40 to 50-year time frame. Similarly, when you go into the past, go back at least 100 years and from that viewpoint, look at what you can do today,” advises Kenya Hara.