Kawasaki is a professor and design director of the graduate school of engineering Osaka University and a doctor of medical science. He has designed award-winning spectacles, interior goods, a folding wheel chair, computer hardware, a smart atomic engine and artificial organs – amongst other things.

When an art museum is a ‘work’ there arises the problem of a sense of distance between it and the ‘exhibited works’ in the art space.

That sense of distance is precisely the problem of ‘venue’ = topography.

It is the surfacing of the problem of ‘proximity’ that relates to how the exhibited works and the venue of exhibition confront each other or harmonise. Specifically speaking, a certain type of interaction between the artists and the architect of the art museum occurs.

This interaction becomes a device to control the sensitivity of the ‘venue’ in people who visit the art museum to appreciate the ‘works’. A formula becomes established here in which the institution and the device totally controls the viewers’ sense of value.

‘Designed works’ in particular are things that became commercial goods from manufactured products. It is, therefore, unavoidable that the sensitivity and sense of value of the viewers regarding the space change in the ‘venue’ of the art museum from the point of view of the ‘venue’ as a place for works = goods.

This is not possible even in ordinary shop space and even with arrangements and exhibits in showrooms.

Even so, I can’t avoid the earnest longing for the products I designed to be exhibited in art museums and even be included in their permanent collections.

Why is this so? There are two reasons. One is that the design becomes goods and the intention of the design dissolves within that commercialism. An arrangement, therefore, that institutionally states and determines (the intent and decision in design) becomes important to prevent this dissolution.

The other is that the product acquires the assurance of becoming a historical fact on the time line as a ‘work’ (by being included in the permanent collection). And the designer wishes to secure its sustainability as a ‘work’. This is why the social efficacy of the art museum is accepted.

Kazuo Kawasaki

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Geometry – from sea to studio

Summer for Australians means long days on the beach supported by a paraphernalia of designed objects: Speedos, towels, wetsuits, surfboards, rubber thongs, buckets and spades. But when we leave the beach relaxed at the end of the day, we carry new treasures.

Share
The inventor in the backyard shed

The inventor in the backyard shed

With the terms ‘design’ and ‘designer’ currently enjoying wide public recognition and appeal, it is easy to forget that up until recently Australians have been more comfortable with the notion of ‘invention’ than ‘design’.

Share
Reaching new territorie

Reaching new territorie

An event not to be missed offering the opportunity to celebrate 
the best in product design. International leaders from design, architecture, industry, media and politics gathered at this year’s glamorous red dot gala awards night and exhibition opening in Essen, Germany.

News

Design classics: still state-of-the-art

Design classics are better known and more popular than ever. What many of these icons have in common is the fact that they were real technological innovations in their time.

Share