Takusei Kajitani

Specialized in Furniture Design.

Takusei Kajitani

About Takusei Kajitani

Born on 28 April 1966 in Kyoto City and spent childhood time in Kurashiki City of Okayama Prefecture. Studied urban design at Kyoto University ,wrote a treatise on urban image formation. Particularly influenced by "The City of the Images", Kevin A. Lynch and "Notes on the Synthesis of Form", Christopher Alexander at that time. Began working for the design consulting department of the interior design and construction company in Tokyo for 5 years. Changed jobs to the advertising company Hakuhodo in 1995, and worked for the spatial design department that plans, designs, and produces various corporate branding facilities. In 2007, established Hakuhodo Experience Design, which specialized in "spatial experience design" and have been promoting various businesses with the theme of experience design that brings good relationships between corporates and the users. Established Consentable as private studio in 2014, after which I began to work on the theme of digital life furniture.

  • Winner of 2 A' Design Awards.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Furniture
Consentable WT Ao PC Work Desk

Consentable WT Ao PC Work Desk

Furniture Design

Swing Ao Stool

Swing Ao Stool

Furniture Design


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Interview with Takusei Kajitani

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
When I was a student, I studied urban design at Kyoto University. At that time, I was impressed by a book called "Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander. He was an architect, famous for saying that "a city is not a tree," and he argued that urban planning is not a top-down process, but a bottom-up one. He compiled the elements that make up a city like a "language," creating a kind of dictionary for architects, which he wrote down as theory in his book "Pattern Language." He thus created a stir in the urban planning industry of the time by presenting the idea that urban planning could be achieved by designing each small facility in harmony with each other. I fully agreed with his idea and thought that a bottom-up approach was needed not only in urban planning but in all of our designs. And I wanted to be a designer with that perspective. So I believe it is important to think of design not as mere decoration, but as a part of the larger plan that is our lives. After graduation, I wanted to work on designing various stores as components of a city, so I joined an interior design firm and designed several stores and commercial facilities. After that, I wanted to work on design with a slightly broader perspective, so I moved to the spatial experience design department of an advertising company. There, I have been involved in the planning, design, and production of brand experience facilities for various companies. In 2014, I launched Consentable as my personal studio to work on designs other than client work, and I continue to design and develop digital life furniture.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Consentable is a furniture design studio for developing the digital-life furniture founded in 2014 by Takusei Kajitani. Our vision is to innovate the daily lives of modern intellectuals using various devices to be simple by Japanese sensibility. We convey two meanings in this coined word of Consentable. One is "Able to be connected" to Concent which means power outlet in Japan, and the other is "Able to be agreed" by users. With this concept at the core, we will be designing and producing various types of digital life furniture with Japanese craftsmanship. Consentable's activities to date include the following We have unveiled our first product WT, PC work desk at Tokyo Designer’s Week in TOKYO in 2014, and MT, multiple-table as the secondary product at IFFT Interiorlifestyle living in TOKYO in 2015. After that, we have exhibited our pieces at various Design exhibition such as Salone del Mobile Milano and Paris Design Week in 2016, Hong Kong Design Week in 2017, NEW YORK Design Week in 2018 and 2021.
What is "design" for you?
For me, "design" is like an important part for philosophizing my life as a homo sapience. Also I believe that design is a very effective planning tool for our humanity to "live" well. I often wonder why "design" was born in the human race. It is said that our human ancestors began designing stone tools for food processing during the Lower Paleolithic Period, about 3 million years ago. This was long before the discovery of fire. In other words, "design" may have existed even before the formation of collective societies such as families and hunting groups. In other words, "design" may have arisen not only to express something to the collective society, but also as a result of greed for "survival" in the harsh environment of ancient times. Of course, today's environment is easier to live in than in ancient times, and expression in collective society has become more important, but still, when we look to the long distant future, we should create the "design" that human-being needs to "live" well. After all, I think it is important to design from our own insatiable desire to "live" well. I believe that design is an important task that makes me think about the relationship between both large and small perspectives, such as "now" in long histories of human-being, and "here" in the diverse places on the earth.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I like the design process that creates some new experiential value. It is a process that offers a completely new perspective on a product that has existed as a matter of course and something surprises that delights the users. It is an exciting and fun process for me like thinking of some little prank. And it makes me happy when I see a scene in which users are having happy experiences because of the design I created. I like that moment. Whether I am thinking of architecture, interior design, furniture, logo design, or any other kind of design, the process is very exciting.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My favorite is Swing. When I ask my friends to sit in Swing, they all look surprised and enjoy the new experience. It is so much fun for me. The idea of Swing started when I began to work from home because of COVID 19. As a football enthusiast, I had a growing sense of anxiety that my body would continue to decline because of all day sitting. I heard similar concerns from my teammates, and I began to think about designing a chair that would benefit them. Then, as I learned a lot from the books on the human body structure, I became very interested in the importance of the human sense of balance and unconscious body manipulation. This is how I came up with the image of Swing. Most chairs are designed based on the idea that sitting is a static action, even though the human body is designed to move. This may cause our bodies to remain still for long periods of time and accelerate the decline of our physical senses. Swing is designed to allow the seat to move freely like a small swing in conjunction with the movement of the sitter's pelvis. The Swing has a structure that allows the seat to move freely like a small swing, in conjunction with the pelvic movement of the sitter. It is a stool that aims to activate the body's senses while enjoying the feeling of floating. I feel I have designed a good solution for people with similar problems in Work From Home.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
It was Consentable / WT. It is a specialized table for PC users with the ability to store noisy power cords, USB cords, and various devices under the table top. In addition, Consentable WT Ao, an upgraded version of WT completed with a wood indigo finish, received Bronze A' Design Award in 2021.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
Wood is my favorite material because I am charmed the unique and beautiful grains which tells the own stories of the growing in the nature. If every tree also had conscious, wood would be talking to us humans by grains. In addition, I am very interested in traditional Japanese woodworking techniques such as Kumiki, Sashimono that use no steel nails in all joints. I think this wisdom to use wood effectively will continue to be valuable in different ways.
When do you feel the most creative?
I have to say it is the early mornings with quiet atmosphere, beautiful sun light, bird singing, and smell of greens. I can feel my lively energy as a humankind if I could feel standing on the earth in the animated surrounding. After that, I can feel the most creative myself. And no matter what the weather is, no matter where you are, it will always come.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
I focus on providing user experiences that change their preconceived values and perspectives. I want to design something that might look the same but have different functions, new experience values to the users.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
I'm just focused and acting innocently like a kid. It's been my habit for a long time, but when I concentrate on something, I get into a consciousness that seems to be separated from the surroundings. This is often the case when designing.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Unfortunately, once completed, I am not very impressed because I always want to check the various point for improvements. Sometimes I even think that completion means giving up on improvements. But when I see users enjoying the experience with it, I feel a totally different sense of delights. From then on, I feel positive about the effectiveness of the design.
What makes a design successful?
I think the shortcut to a succesfull design is to make improvements from the user's point of view over and over again. However, we must be careful not to blur the design concept at that time. In other words, I think it is important to accumulate small improvements for the user experience while making sure that the big concept that the product is aiming for does not blur. I believe that both a solid axis of concept and the accumulation of small improvements will lead to a successful design.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
When judging the quality of a design, I always focus on scarcity. In particular, I focus on the scarcity value of the experience. . What is designed becomes a product, is used by the user, and is eventually disposed of as waste. Considering that what I design becomes a product, I believe that I should not design too many products that have no scarcity value. In addition, I also place importance on the potential of the design to become a standard in the future. Our lives are changing rapidly with the times, and what is required of design will also change with the demands of the times. In this context, I believe it is important for designers to design with an awareness of the standards of the next generation.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
What always comes to my mind when designing is the Native American famous phrase, "The earth is borrowed from the next generation of children." I think it is very important to have this perspective at an early stage of design. In particular, I believe that the environmental problems caused on a global scale are major issues not only for designers but also for our children as future humankind. I think that designers should have the responsibility of not designing anything which is not sustainable as well as designing usable things.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
I think that “design field” is expanding as quickly as the urbanization of the earth now. I think that “design field” which has started with inventing stone tools 3 million years ago is evolving at an amazing speed that humankinds cannot keep up with in this era. On the contrary, the nature and resources on the earth, which are the raw materials for design products, will gradually decrease at an amazing speed. So, I think it become the normal design that we always have to redesign our environment with reusing existing products or cities in the near future. In other words, I think it will be very important for future design that the sustainability is considered from production to disposal in the beginning of designing. Now, we are standing on the being-damaged earth where should be rewrote with new ways of design.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
I have exhibited PC Work Desk, CONSENTABLE/ WT Ao at “Japan Ingenious” exhibition curated by Design Pier in New York last November. I also want to participate in "Salone de Mobile" again and to enjoy communicating with various designers from all over the world in the near future.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
My design inspiration begins with discovering the problems of our modern life. For example, "Swing Ao" is a product design that solves a problem in life where Work From Home has become the norm because of COVID19. The design presents a solution to a private problem: the need to keep the body active while sitting in a chair. This is my problem, but it is also a problem that many home workers have, and I felt it necessary to design a new chair to solve this problem. Designing to solve a problem is like trying to solve a complex mathematical problem. And when a beautiful answer is comming to me, the skeleton of the design is complete. After that, as a finishing touch, I always think about how to reflect my sense of style in the design. This is like a field of expression where there is no right answer. This is how my inspiration takes shape.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
Many users seem to think of my design as a category of minimal design. Actually, I am aiming to the simple and functional design that eliminates waste gives such an impression. I like the simple design that combines functionality and beauty, so that might be my style. At the same time, I think it might be better to put a more sustainable message in my design.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Tokyo, Japan. Since ancient times, Japanese people have a culture of enjoying the four seasons of nature, a sense of beauty that prefers to be simple and rational, and woodworking techniques that do not use nails. They have a great influence on my design. Rather, I would like to regenerate them to the modern daily life. There are still quite a few craftsmen who have inherited these techniques in Japan. I think it is a great advantage to be able to design on the premise of using the excellent technology of such craftsmen. On the contrary, if there is a design disadvantage of being in Japan, it is that the traditional cultural heritage is being lost due to the excessive urbanization and globalization in Japan. I feel this is a big problem for Japanese design.
How do you work with companies?
Consentable is a private studio that I managed, so fortunately I can do everything I want. When I work with companies, I try to get them to understand the value of my design as much as possible and work as if we were co-creating new valuable project.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
I think that you can work happily if you hire a designer who has sufficient sympathy for the vision and corporate value that the company aims for. Of course, the results will be more satisfying. In my opinion, good designers are usually more capable of understanding the client's true vision and have the flexibility to improve their design at each meeting.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
My design work begins with finding a problem to solve in my daily life. In finding the problem, I focus on what I can strongly feel it. Once I have identified the problem, I spend many days thinking carefully about how to solve it in my daily life. Then, once I have something in mind, I draw a rough image sketch. I use paper and pencil, and the pen tool on my iPad. It's easier to get ideas if I draw lines freely by hand. I also sometimes research designs in completely different fields. By going back and forth between these two tasks for a while, imagining the problem to be solved in my daily life and making hand-drawn sketches, I get closer to a solution. Then, at some point, inspiration strikes. At that moment, the skeleton of the design is complete. Once the design skeleton is complete, the first step is to create a mock-up using easy materials . We then have various people try out the mockup and see their reactions. At this stage, we may make minor adjustments to the design as we receive feedback from users. After that, we will conduct a detailed design to enhance the completeness of the design, find a craftsman who can brush up the mock-up, and hand over the blueprints to him or her to confirm whether or not the product can be commercialized and what precautions need to be taken. Then, through repeated trial and error with the craftsman, the design is completed along with the mock-up.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
My favorites at home are almost my works such as a stool Swing, work desk WT, dining table MT, lighting Fragile. And last one is Motorcycle DUCATI monster.
Can you describe a day in your life?
It’s very simple like below. I wake up in the morning and check the weather, air, sunlight outside and usually stretch and workout for inner muscle. After that, I have a breakfast and conversations with my family, and check the today’s schedule and emails with my Mac Book or smartphone. I usually work from home because of COVID-19, and have some meetings with my colleagues by online or smartphone, or focus on each project. Sometimes I go jogging for a change when I don't have a meeting. I also have more opportunities to cook for my family. Anyway, I always work very relaxed. Alternatively, I go to exhibitions, flip through design-related magazines and books, and expand my ideas on a daily basis. After work, it's time for dinner with my family. Since I started working from home, I've become more familiar with making slightly elaborate meals and opening wine and beer. It's a fun time. In the midst of this everyday life, in the midst of normalcy, I am always thinking about the next design. The problems that need to be solved are in my daily lives, so I focus on thinking about them in that context. And I am always waiting for hints of solutions to arise by chance.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
The profession of designer is a very important, meaningful and interesting profession that will affect the future of humankind. Going back to the history of design in a broad sense, the design of stone tools about 3 million years ago was the first. After that the design on how to use fire around a million year ago, and then decorations, cave paintings, musical instruments 30,000-80,000 years ago. Surprisingly, the design of architecture and letters is an event of only about 10,000 years ago. Anyway, as you can see from the history of design, design has the power to change human civilization. What I would like to convey to young designers is to work on design from a big perspective, to think what kind of design is needed when looking back on the present from that perspective.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Being able to create things that change the world through design is a positive aspect that cannot be changed by any profession. On the other hand, the negative aspect is that it is a difficult occupation to refuse when the client asks for a design even if it is not necessary to make it. Sometimes it may be necessary to decline the request from client.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
My design has two golden rules: "design what I really want" and "design with a sustainable perspective". Most of the things I want already exist in the world, so I don't try to design them. On the other hand, I don't want to design new things that I don't really want. So I ask myself, "Do I really want it?" is the driving force behind my design. I also consider whether the design is needed by others. If it is just for me to use now, a mock-up is sufficient, but if it is going to be used for a long time by others, I think it is my responsibility as a designer to design from a sustainable perspective while keeping a long-term perspective in mind.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Of course designers need technical skills, but I think it is fundamentally important for them to have the insight to discover social problems and the communication skills to deeply understand the intentions of users. Considering the fact that the design field is broadening and that the products designed have a great impact on the future, I believe that designers have a great social responsibility. In such an era, I believe the above two skills are very important.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
There are various tools I use when designing. The tools will change depending on what stage the design is at. I usually use Mac Book, pen tools, sketchbooks, pencils, and the internet and design books for research at the concept stage. I sometimes buy books related to the project from Amazon. At this stage, we don't use many design applications. Once you've decided on a concept, I usually use a MacBook and Adobe Creative Cloud during the design phase. At this stage, I often make mockups. When making a small three-dimensional model, I usually make an accurately scaled model.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
This is a difficult question. I don't think I can manage the time because I am always absorbed in the design work. Sometimes I spend less time sleeping and eating, and I'm absorbed in it. However, I always pay attention to my physical condition in order to think of a good design, so it can be said that physical condition management eventually leads to time management.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It takes about a year to complete one work. Approximately 3 months at the concept development stage, next 3 months at the basic design stage where materials and manufacturing methods are examined and craftsmen are selected, and then 3 months at the implementation design stage where all details are fixed with collaborating with the craftsmen, and 3 months at the mockup production stage. The above is a normal schedule for me.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
The most frequently asked question is, "What kind of project are you doing now?" I have some projects in progress all the time, so I would like to introduce some projects that may be of interest to the questioner. I sometimes ask him the thought about my ideas of the new project conversely.
What was your most important job experience?
The experience of exhibiting Consentable /WT for the first time in 2014 at an overseas exhibition (Milan Salone) was very important. Of course, I was inspired by the reactions of various people to my design, but especially the conversation with the various very unique and talented designers from the world gave me a great inspiration and joy. And I hope that winning this A' Design Award will be an equally wonderful experience.
Who are some of your clients?
My client is a user who is interested in Consentable. Due to the characteristics of "digital life furniture", designers and engineers who often use PCs have purchased it. In these days, working from home is more commonplace, so I would be more than happy if I could get more people interested in it to provide them comfortable environments.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I like designing in areas where no one has touched it. Consentable focused on the development of "digital life furniture" because I thought that no designer was professionally working on this contemporary theme. The reason I like this kind of design is that when I'm designing, I feel like I'm running through the wilderness. There are few examples, so I can have the freedom to the design and focus on my own design.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
The Swing Ao, which received the Silver award this year, has attracted the interest of many people because of its new concept of a chair that promotes physical activation while sitting, in a world where Work From Home has become the norm. What I want to do next is to redesign it better so that it can be offered to users at a reasonable price in order to reach many people.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I usually work by myself in the design development stage. Once I decided next stage, I will organize a team by necessary members at the stage of production.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Next, I'm thinking of designing DIY furniture. I think that the importance of DIY is increasing as digital manufacturing is becoming more common, so I think this is a very interesting theme.
How can people contact you?
Contact information is below. Please feel free to contact us. email: info@consentable.com website: https://www.consentable.com Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CONSENTABLE Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/consentable/
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
I think I've talked about everything I want to convey. Thank you very much for hearing.I was able to organize my own way of thinking on my design again in answering this interview.

Designer of the Day Interview with Takusei Kajitani

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
I began working as a planner for the design consulting department of the interior construction company, which mainly plans and designs the interior of the various commercial facilities in TOKYO for 5 years. After that, I changed jobs to the advertising company Hakuhodo in 1995, and began working as a spatial design director who plans, designs, and produces various corporate branding facilities. I experienced so many projects for various clients such as automobile companies, mobile phone carriers, real estates, cosmetic companies, energy companies and so on. And I learned the design working with various excellent designers met in the projects. In 2007, I established new creative team called Hakuhodo Experience Design which specialized in creating "spatial brand-experience" with various creative members such as movie creators, graphic designers, architects, marketers and interior designers. And I had been promoting various branding businesses with the theme of experience design that brings good relationships between corporates and the customers. At that time, I learned how to produce a brand space by integrating various designs (interior, furniture, architecture, graphics, movies, products, etc.) based on the discovery of problems, strategy planning method, and concept designing. And I clearly got my thinking that Design is a great tool to make some new experience. I worked for so various design projects such as a design guide line for branding of automobile dealer stores, an executive briefing center of a Japanese top real estate company, or an innovation center of a precision machine manufacturer. I have established Consentable as private furniture design studio in 2014, after which I began to work on the theme of digital life furniture. In other words, I work in a private design studio of Consentable while working at an advertisement company. I am doing this because I couldn't suppress the desire to launch original brand and pursue the possibility of design that provides a new experience. And I have started digital life furniture design that fits the rapidly evolving devices.
How did you become a designer?
I studied Urban Design at Kyoto University. At that time, I was inspired by a book called "Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander. He was an architect and famous for the phrase "City is not a Tree" and argued that city planning does not come from the top down, but the bottom up. He edited the elements of the city like "languages", created something like a dictionary for architects, and wrote it down as a theory in his book "Pattern Language." Thus, he presented the idea that City Planning would be realized by designing each small facility in harmony, and created a stir in the City Planning industry at that time. I totally agreed with his idea, and I thought what needs bottom-up thinking is not only city planning, but also our all designs. And I wanted to be a designer from that perspective. Design does not have one correct answer, but various correct answers. And they can function as tools in the times and contribute to the development of next society. From that point of view, I found the job of a designer very attractive. So, I think it's important to think of design not only as a decoration, but as part of the large movements of our lives. My first job as a designer was interior design for an Italian restaurant. it was almost 25 years ago. The owner's order was to make the restaurant popular with young families in the area. At first, we started by investigating and analyzing what kind of restaurants are popular in Tokyo, why they are popular, and then thinking about the design concept, naming, menu and even the financial plan. And we worked on the design for the big purpose for changing the lives of the local people better by developing this new restaurant. On the day of the opening, a large number of customers visited with a smile, and the owner was very satisfied. As a designer, I have been most attracted to the moment when I can realize that design lives in society and is useful to the people. From my point of view, Design should serve its purpose for not only owner and customers, but society including those around it, like as "Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander. Since I became a designer, that idea hasn't changed.
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
The first priority is the long-lived design concept. I would like to create a design concept from these two major perspectives: looking ahead of the times and seeing the problems left behind by the times. The second is the craftsmen or the manufacturer who can share our vision and ambitions. In my case, at the concept stage, I often think alone, but at the detailed design stage, I work with the craftsmen or the manufacturer to think about rational manufacturing methods and points for improvement. I think that the designer and the craftsmen should work together to aim for a finished product. The third priority is the final stage of making a mockup and using it for myself. At this stage, once I forget that I am a designer, I discover and point out a lot of “No” for mockups from a complete user perspective. My design goes through these three priorities to become a finished product.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
I'm just focused and acting innocently like a kid. It's been my habit for a long time, but when I concentrate on something, I get into a consciousness that seems to be separated from the surroundings. This is often the case when designing. The most fulfilling feeling in a design is the moment when the design is used by the people. It feels like sending my child, who has been raised so hard, to kindergarten. Just as his parents are impressed to see him interacting and having fun with everyone around, I feel great happiness when my design is accepted by society.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
I am very interested in "human beings". I have always liked to think about "human beings", especially from the natural science sperspective. I like to read books such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, biology and history books. In terms of design, the books about Leonardo da Vinci were very interesting and greatly influenced by my way of thinking about design. I often think about why was "design" born in human beings? It is said that our ancestors began designing stone tools for food processing in the Lower Paleolithic era, around 3 million years ago. It was so long before the discovery of Fire. Therefore, "design" was possibly existed before the formation of group society such as family or hunting teams. Thus, I believe "design" was born from the result of our eagerness to "live" in ancient harsh environment, not only for express something to their group society. Therefore, I am thinking it is important to think of “design” as a piece in a large planning for our human beings' "lives".
What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?
What I'm most interested in right now is to create a eco-system for collaboration between designers in the world, in other words, to build a business model for next-generation design. Since the Industrial Revolution, the design world has developed in a society premised on mass production. Architectural design has also evolved with the urbanization of the world. This is because the power of design was the source of creating a new human-centered environment while utilizing the resources of nature as raw materials or as urban grounds. That was why the power to draw the future of design has created great economic value. But what about looking back on the present day? Is it possible to make the design great value even now? I basically think YES. However, I think that the direction of design value is needed to be changed. Now is the time to think seriously about the sustainability of the global environment. We must rewrite the concept of growth that the world takes for granted, such as mass production, mass consumption society, and urbanization. To that end, we designers should change and proceed. As for how to change, I hope that more designers in the world should have relations beyond the borders of nationality, corporate, culture and so on. Because we should start talking on how we should protect the global environment or how we can make it. Because it is necessary to collaborate from various perspectives in order to solve such a very big problem. If I could invent such a business model, I can say I could contribute a little to the next generation of designers.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
The profession of designer is a very important, meaningful and interesting profession that will affect the future of humankind. Going back to the history of design in a broad sense, the design of stone tools about 3 million years ago was the first. After that the design on how to use fire around a million year ago, and then decorations, cave paintings, musical instruments 30,000-80,000 years ago. Surprisingly, the design of architecture and letters is an event of only about 10,000 years ago. Anyway, as you can see from the history of design, design has the power to change human civilization. What I would like to convey to young designers is to work on design from a big perspective, to think what kind of design is needed when looking back on the present from that perspective.
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
For this question, you might want to mention best practices and principles that other designers could follow to be successful. You may mention some common mistakes or biases that they should avoid or give them tips, shortcuts and inspiring ideas to do better. What tips and ideas would you give to people who are looking to get started in design? Do not focus on young designers, this question is about pro-tips. I think design is like a word for society. Until the word is spoken, we don't know the influence of the word, and when we say the word, we get various reactions from society. So, once I start designing, I should be careful not to shake the design concept until unveil to the society. I think that the design concept is the significance of the existence of design. Therefore, after a lot of research and thought, if I have any doubts about the design concept, I will reconsider whether I should really proceed with the design. The design concept is like the basic structure for advancing the design, so I want to think and make from bottom of my heart. In order to create a design concept smartly, I focus on two perspectives. One is the flow of the times, and the other is the problem of being left behind in the times. I think the design concept needs an idea to fill these gaps. By incorporating a large perspective into the design concept, we believe that not only will we contribute to the evolution of society, but we will also be able to create designs that are stable.
What is your day to day look like?
It’s very simple like below. I wake up in the morning and check the weather, air, sunlight outside and usually stretch and workout for inner muscle. After that, I have a breakfast and conversations with my family, and check the today’s schedule and emails with my Mac Book or smartphone. I usually work from home because of COVID-19, and have some meetings with my colleagues by online or smartphone, or focus on each project. Sometimes I go jogging for a change when I don't have a meeting. I also have more opportunities to cook for my family. Anyway, I always work very relaxed. Alternatively, I go to exhibitions, flip through design-related magazines and books, and expand my ideas on a daily basis. After work, it's time for dinner with my family. Since I started working from home, I've become more familiar with making slightly elaborate meals and opening wine and beer. It's a fun time. After that, I usually spend a relaxing time. Take a bath, watch TV, watch movies online. Recently, the opportunity to play board games with family has increased. After that, I fall asleep. In the midst of this everyday life, in the midst of normalcy, I am always thinking about the next design. The problems that need to be solved are in my daily lives, so I focus on thinking about them in that context. And I am always waiting for hints of solutions to arise by chance. I want to cherish the design concept that I can see in a simple and natural life. In addition, I always try to avoid thinking that "the lifestyle as a designer should be something" because it makes the borders of ideas.
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
I'm not particularly aware of design trends. But we check trends from time to time to understand the trends of the big era. I have a private design studio, but I also work for an advertising company fortunately. At an advertising company, I have an environment where I can always accept global movements such as various marketing information, consumer trends, government movements, etc., so I think I often get new design tips from it.
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
When judging the quality of a design, I always focus on scarcity. In particular, I focus on the scarcity value of the experience. . What is designed becomes a product, is used by the user, and is eventually disposed of as waste. Considering that what I design becomes a product, I believe that I should not design too many products that have no scarcity value. In addition, I also place importance on the potential of the design to become a standard in the future. Our lives are changing rapidly with the times, and what is required of design will also change with the demands of the times. In this context, I believe it is important for designers to design with an awareness of the standards of the next generation.
How do you decide if your design is ready?
I always make mockups in the final stages of design and give myself some time to use and experience them. I forget the role of designer, and become a complete user. And I observe my feelings to it when I use it, experience it and evaluate it. At that stage, if the user inside me gives OK, the design is complete.
What is your biggest design work?
It’s the first product, CONSENTABLE / WT as founder of CONSENTABLE, because it gave me the chance to think deeply about Design. I usually work as a spatial designer in advertisement company and work for various big project such as branding space, promoting space, retail store and restaurant of our client. However, I can’t decide the design freely in these client works because it belongs to the client. So, WT project was the most important for me because I had the opportunity to think deeply about what issue to consider, what kind of design to make, when to announce it, etc. at my own discretion. In addition, the experience of exhibiting CONSENTABLE / WT for the first time in 2014 at an overseas exhibition (Milan Salone) was very important. Of course, I was inspired by the reactions of various people to my design, but especially the conversation with the various very unique and talented designers from the world gave me a great inspiration and joy. And I hope that winning this A' Design Award will be an equally wonderful experience.
Who is your favourite designer?
I love Achille Castiglioni's designs. I strongly feel both the depth and simpleness of design, including rationality, diversity, originality, humor, and warmth with his designs. In the sense of favorite design studies, I love to study the thinking ways of Charles Eames, Le Corbusier. Because they are so simple, innovative and effecting to societies, even to our recent Lives. At the same time, I think the works of Leonardo da Vinci and Antonio Gaudi have a lot to learn for me when considering the principles of nature and design.
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
I live in Tokyo, Japan. Since ancient times, Japanese people have a culture of enjoying the four seasons of nature, a sense of beauty that prefers to be simple, minimal and rational. They have a great influence on my design. Rather, I would like to regenerate them to the modern daily life. There are still quite a few good craftsmen who have inherited traditional techniques in Japan. I think it is a great advantage to be able to design on the premise of using the excellent technology of such craftsmen. On the contrary, if there is a design disadvantage of being in Japan, it is that the traditional cultural heritage is being lost due to the excessive urbanization and globalization in Japan. I feel this is a big problem for Japanese design.
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
As CONSENTABLE which I preside over, I usually create a team for each project. After the design concept is decided, I consider which work partner should be selected. When I start to work together with them, I usually spend a little time talking about the project while actually meeting and eating. The selection criteria are different for each project, but what have in common is that I often work with people who are engaged in unique challenging activities. I think design is like a "kind of conversation", so it's because it will be more attractive design to have a "conversation" with unique and challenging person.
What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
Since I entered university, I have left my hometown of Okayama prefecture and have continued to live in Kyoto and Tokyo. About a few years ago, I started to make some contribution to Okayama, and I am doing design activities as a volunteer. I have been involved in winery construction work for domaine tetta in Okayama prefecture, and I also ask the furniture craftsmen or studio in Okayama for CONSENTABLE furniture. I learned a lot from this activity. It means that even if I don't have financial rewards, I will get more mental rewards than I expected, such as irreplaceable experiences and valuable relationships.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
There are three benefits to participating in a design award. One is that your design can be evaluated by non-users. This gives me the chance to know its reputation of my design in comparison to many designs. It leads to reasonable motivation for the next improvement. The second is that I can have time to objectively face my own design and organize my thoughts about it. It is of great value to me to organize my own way of thinking by recreating the detailed presentation tools required for each award. Third, if I win the award, I will have more opportunity to meet challenging people. This is not only a PR effect, but it is also very valuable to start new communication such as toasting with project members and meeting other award winners at the award ceremony.

Extended Interview with Takusei Kajitani

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
When I was a student, I studied urban design at Kyoto University. At that time, I was impressed by a book called "Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander. He was an architect, famous for saying that "a city is not a tree," and he argued that urban planning is not a top-down process, but a bottom-up one. He compiled the elements that make up a city like a "language," creating a kind of dictionary for architects, which he wrote down as theory in his book "Pattern Language." He thus created a stir in the urban planning industry of the time by presenting the idea that urban planning could be achieved by designing each small facility in harmony with each other. I fully agreed with his idea and thought that a bottom-up approach was needed not only in urban planning but in all of our designs. And I wanted to be a designer with that perspective. So I believe it is important to think of design not as mere decoration, but as a part of the larger plan that is our lives. After graduation, I wanted to work on designing various stores as components of a city, so I joined an interior design firm and designed several stores and commercial facilities. After that, I wanted to work on design with a slightly broader perspective, so I moved to the spatial experience design department of an advertising company. There, I have been involved in the planning, design, and production of brand experience facilities for various companies. In 2014, I launched Consentable as my personal studio to work on designs other than client work, and I continue to design and develop digital life furniture.
How did you become a designer?
While it is exciting just to see a design that I imagined in my head actually take shape in the finished product, there is an unparalleled joy for me in having unknown people experience it, be interested in it, enjoy it. I think that is why I became a designer.
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
Of course I chose to be a designer. After studying urban design in Kyoto University, I wanted to design stores, one of the elements that make up a city, so I started to work for an interior design and construction company. There I studied interior design and architectural design in earnest, and also got a first-class architectural license in Japan. After that, I wanted to design large scale facilities, so I changed jobs to the space development division of a big advertising company. It is an incomparable pleasure for me to see customers enjoy shopping, eating and drinking, and experiencing exhibits in the retail spaces and corporate facilities that I designed. And in order to present to the world not only designs in response to clients' requests, but also my own designs, I have established a private design studio, Consentable, where I design digital life furniture. This is also very exciting.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
As a Concentable, I would like to design new furniture that is with the major lifestyle change of digital transformation, centered on the design and development of digital life furniture. In particular, I feel that modern people's lifestyles are becoming more and more disconnected from the earth's nature. Rather, I would like to continue to create designs that allow people to live a sustainable and rational digital life while always feeling the aura of nature. Since ancient times, the idea of continuing to live a rich life while rationally incorporating nature has been ingrained in Japanese culture, and I would like to carry on this idea in contemporary design.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
The profession of designer is so important, meaningful and interesting that will affect the future of human beings. Going back to the history of design in a broad sense, the design of stone tools about 3 million years ago was the first. After that the design on how to use fire around a million year ago, and then decorations, cave paintings, musical instruments 30,000-80,000 years ago. Surprisingly, the design of architecture and letters is an event of only about 10,000 years ago. Anyway, as you can see from the history of design, design has the power to change human civilization. What I would like to convey to young designers is to work on design from a big perspective, to think what kind of design is needed when looking back on the present from that perspective.
What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?
I think a good designer has the ability to turn 90% into 100%, but a great designer has the ability to turn 0% into 100%. In other words, a good designer has the ability to sharpen the given conditions, while a great designer has the ability to create new value from no prerequisites with the power of design.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
When I evaluate the quality of a design, I always focus on originality. In particular, I focus on the scarcity value of the experience by the design. What is designed becomes a product, is used by the user, and is eventually disposed of as waste. Considering that what I design becomes a product, I believe that I should not design too many products that have no scarcity value. In addition, I also place importance on the potential of the design to become a standard in the future. Our lives are changing rapidly with the times, and what is required of design will also change with the demands of the times. In this context, I believe it is important for designers to design with an awareness of the standards of the next generation.
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
For example, when good design first appears in the world, it may only be seen as an oddity in society. This is because it is a design that goes against conventional wisdom. Many people tend to choose a familiar design that is an extension of the conventional wisdom. Therefore, good design is initially a weak entity that will disappear if only a few people realize its value. That is why those who find its value should invest in spreading its value while communicating its goodness to the public.
What is your day to day look like?
Whenever I design, I always think of the famous Native American saying, "The earth is borrowed from the next generation of children." If I had the time I would design new furniture for my own grandchildren. He is not born yet, but probably will be some years later, and he will be living a totally different life in a few decades. It would be wonderful to be able to imagine that and design furniture that will be needed by him in the future.
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
What I'm most interested in right now is to create a eco-system for collaboration between designers in the world, in other words, to build a business model for next-generation design. Now is the time to think seriously about the sustainability of the global environment. We must rewrite the concept of growth that the world takes for granted, such as mass production, mass consumption society, and urbanization. To that end, we designers should change and proceed. As for how to change, I hope that more designers in the world should have relations beyond the borders of nationality, corporate, culture and so on. Because we should start talking on how we should protect the global environment or how we can make it. Because it is necessary to collaborate from various perspectives in order to solve such a very big problem. If I could invent such a business model, I can say I could contribute a little to the next generation of designers.
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
Perhaps paradoxically, the answer is not to seek design success. I see design as a means to solve various problems. So, only finding reasonable challenges and focusing solutions will be a shortcut to good design.
How do you decide if your design is ready?
Achille Castiglioni is my favorite master. All of his designs have originality, humor, and a warmth that you can feel in his personality. At the same time, I am numb to his very rational way of thinking. There is a word he lectured to design students in 1995 that left a great impression on me. It is the following sentence. "A good project (design) does not come from the ambition to leave a legacy of your achievements to future generations, but from the desire to exchange experiences, even the smallest ones, with strangers who will use what you have designed. Keep in mind that our work is all about exploration. Each work is not a destination, but rather a pause in the process. It is a process."
What is your biggest design work?
I love SELLA designed by Achille Castiglioni. There is an anecdote that the stool was designed for Italians who like to make long phone calls, so that they cannot stay too long. The bicycle saddle seat, the pink shaft, and the hemispherical leg bottoms are all out of the ordinary, yet I think it is a very rational design, given the concepts mentioned above. At the same time, it has a sense of humor and warmth. If we had furniture like this in our homes, our lives would feel very rich and joyful.
Who is your favourite designer?
My favorite is Swing. When I ask my friends to sit in Swing, they all look surprised and enjoy the new experience. It is so much fun for me. The idea of Swing started when I began to work from home because of COVID 19. As a football enthusiast, I had a growing sense of anxiety that my body would continue to decline because of all day sitting. I heard similar concerns from my teammates, and I began to think about designing a chair that would benefit them. Then, as I learned a lot from the books on the human body structure, I became very interested in the importance of the human sense of balance and unconscious body manipulation. This is how I came up with the image of Swing. Most chairs are designed based on the idea that sitting is a static action, even though the human body is designed to move. This may cause our bodies to remain still for long periods of time and accelerate the decline of our physical senses. Swing is designed to allow the seat to move freely like a small swing in conjunction with the movement of the sitter's pelvis. The Swing has a structure that allows the seat to move freely like a small swing, in conjunction with the pelvic movement of the sitter. It is a stool that aims to activate the body's senses while enjoying the feeling of floating. I feel I have designed a good solution for people with similar problems in Work From Home. That's why my favorites is Swing.
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
The following words of my favorite master, Achille Castiglioni, are my answer. "Experience does not give us certainty. On the contrary, it only increases the likelihood of failure. The more time that passes, the more difficult it becomes to design better. The countermeasure? Always start over from scratch, with humility and patience. What I want today's students to understand is that what design should really matter should be found in the mistakes and deviations in the acts of living." And I always have been trying to design from the problems of our daily life and to think from scratch.
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
Even if I had not been a designer, I would have been involved in creating something new in some way. Proposing new value to the world through creating something new is a very attractive job. Even if I am not a designer, there are many jobs related to design, such as marketer, engineer, craftsman, sales person, PR person, and so on. I believe that a design work can be realized only when people in many specialized fields join forces, so I would have done any job related to that.
What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
For me, "design" is like an important part for philosophizing my life as a homo sapience. Also, I believe that design is a very effective planning tool for our humanity to "live" well. I often wonder why "design" was born in the history of human beings. It is said that our human ancestors began designing stone tools for food processing during the Lower Paleolithic Period, about 3 million years ago. This was long before the discovery of fire. In other words, "design" may have existed even before the formation of collective societies such as families and hunting groups. In other words, "design" may have arisen not only to express something to the collective society, but also as a result of greed for "survival" in the harsh environment of ancient times. Of course, today's environment is easier to live in than in ancient times, and expression in collective society has become more important, but still, when we look to the long distant future, we should create the "design" that human-being needs to "live" well. After all, I think it is important to design from our own insatiable desire to "live" well. I believe that design is an important task that makes me think about the relationship between both large and small perspectives, such as "now" in long histories of human-being, and "here" in the diverse places on the earth.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
If I had to name just one person, I would say my wife. She always gives me honest feedback on my designs as a user. She never takes my side, never completely rejects me, but gives me intuitive and sincere feedback as a representative of the user, which I believe has helped my designs to grow and not go in the wrong direction. Of course, there are numerous other benefactors who have supported me. For example, Zsofia of Design Pier, a global curator who guided me to various global exhibitions; Mr. Shibuya of ELD Interior products, Mr. Oshima of Yobi, Mr. Tanaka of KOKKOK, who helped me shape my designs as a craftsman; Mr. Miyachi of Ao, a wonderful wood dyeing studio; the members of mokutankan team who are doing unique activities; my designer friends whom I met at exhibitions in Tokyo, Milan, Paris, New York and Hong Kong; Abezo who always supports my website creation; and Manabu Matsunaga, a photographer in Paris, Yoko Inoue, photographer in Okayama, and so on. I am very grateful to the many people who have inspired me and helped my designs grow including various people who have purchased Consentable pieces.

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