Born in Yamanashi, Japan in 1956, Fukasawa graduated from Tama Art University's Product Design Department with an early focus on designing microelectronic devices such as watches. His move to the United States to join IDE in 1989 coincided with the rapid growth period experienced in Silicon Valley. During his time in the states Fukasawa was involved on a wide variety of design projects including the design of computers and electronics for companies in Silicon Valley as well medical equipment, furniture and sporting goods. In 1996 he returned to Japan where he set up and headed IDEO's Tokyo office before establishing Naoto Fukasawa Design in 2003.
Fukasawa brings an original approach to all of his design projects by attempting to define the boundaries of relationships between objects, people and environment, a philosophy often referred to as "Outline". Speaking to April Kilcrease of InteriorDesign.Net. Fukasawa speaks about how he feels that truly good design should be anonymous.
"In design, memory is not memory of the mind, but rather memory of the body, or active memory. The body is always interacting with the environment, even when you’re thinking about something else. People easily forget these moments, because they’re not really conscious of them. [For example,] I’m focused on this interview, but my hand is a little wet from this water bottle. People easily forget these moments, because they’re not really conscious of them. If you’re confronted with an ugly, uncomfortable water bottle, you immediately loose your focus and think “Oh, that’s not really great.” But if a product is well designed, your body will already know how to use it. The design will dissolve into the behaviour. That allows you to focus your mind on something else, and at the same time your body feels very good. When I observe someone who is enjoying a product I designed, even I know she is thinking about other things. But it’s not necessary to me that she consciously think, “This is great.” I don’t need that. The design should be anonymous."
As part of Naoto Fukasawa Design Group, Fukasawa has created pieces for some of the worlds most desirable brands including Magis and Swedese. One of his most successful ranges in terms of commercial appeal is Deja Vu for Magis, which features a versatile dining chair and stool and dining table suitable for indoor and outdoor use, as well as a dining table & mirror, all available to buy online at Utility.
Other great Fukasawa designs available at Utility include the Artemide Itis Desk lamp, Magis Cosino Storage System, Magis Pizza Table, and one of our favourites, the Alessi Cha Teapot Kettle. To view these and other designs from Fukasawa click here.