Naoto Fukasawa was one of the major players behind IDEO, what is now a global design behemoth, involved in product design, branding, and basically anything else involving good creative drive. Since leaving IDEO, Fukasawa’s firm has won numerous design awards, yet he remains a relative unknown despite being a member of the SuperDesign elite.
Fukasawa’s product design is overall minimalist in approach, with emphasis on the communication of function with the user. Products have rounded and ‘friendly’ edges, reducing the delineation of product and surroundings, and placing further emphasis to the user/viewer on the functional process of the design.
The Soho Office Chair by Magis is a good example. The lack of clear 45 degree angles (also unnecessary for the functionality of the design), make the chair less rigid in appearance and more inviting to the user. Similarly, the rounded forms allow the product to assume a utilitarian role in an office environment, where the majority of forms (filing cabinets, tables) are rigid in their geometry- squares and rectangles. The design also assists in accommodating the relatively unfamiliar material (after all, this is not a traditional upholstered foam chair) with the user.
Alessi recently announced that Mr. Fukasawa et al have designed a series of cookware for release in Spring 2011. Japanese cookware has always been intriguing, primarily because the cuisine is significantly different than American tastes, with a nuance that is often overlooked by Western cuisine. Furthermore, artisanship and quality is far more highly prized in Japan than in the United States (for example). Fukasawa therefore needed to design something that would incorporate his roots yet present something utilitarian enough to be acceptable in the worldwide marketplace.
He did not fail.
The Shiba series incorporates a more traditional approach to everyday pots and pans. Rather than look toward specialty items such as steamers, flambé and crepe pans, for example, Shiba presents the very limited number of pots and pans that are used every day. According to the designer, “Shiba is (named after) one of the iconic dogs that express Japanese characteristics. This image seemed to me the most iconic, symbolizing our new collection of pots and pans. With this range of products I wanted to create tools that people can continue to use throughout the years, rooting in their culture, repairing rather than replacing them, somehow even enjoying the signs of use they acquire over time, as habits and taste evolve.”
The collection consists of stockpot, casserole, saucepan and frying pan, available with Bakelite or wood handles and knobs. With rounded details, of course. The material is multi-ply, with AISI 430, aluminum, and a mirror polished 18/10 stainless steel exterior. For the traditionalists, there is a hiba wood saucepan lid for simmering ‘delicate ingredients.’
A durable and useful item of beauty for the home.
MORE NAOTO FUKSAWA DESIGNS MAY BE SEEN HERE.
Interested in more of the Spring 2011 introductions? Go HERE.
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