The 10th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Taku Satoh

Award-winning work: VI, posters and venue design for 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Exhibition 2: “water”

Message from the awardee

My generation was likely the last to have direct contact with Yusaku Kamekura. I still recall very vividly when, on the occasion of being selected to serve on the JAGDA Annual Screening Committee for the first time, I entered the huge room where the judging was to take place. Among the many eminent designers assembled for the occasion, Mr. Kamekura turned to me and said, with an indefinable expression on his face, “Are you on the judging panel?” I couldn’t tell whether his intention was to imply that he was pleased to see a member of the younger generation on the panel, or to say that if someone with my qualifications could make the judging panel, then JAGDA’s days were numbered. I recall proceeding to the judging process harboring those sentiments of uncertainty–and now, in retrospect, I’m absolutely certain that what Mr. Kamekura was implying was indeed the latter case.
The first time I met Mr. Kamekura was back in 1990, when I held my first exhibition at the Axis Gallery in Roppongi. I had sent Mr. Kamekura a notice about the event fully aware that it was highly improbable that someone of his stature would visit – but one day, he dropped by, altogether unexpected. It all happened so suddenly, it created quite a stir. I was working in my office at the time, and suddenly received a phone call from one of the staff at the gallery. “It’s Mr. Kamekura! Mr. Kamekura’s here, now!” I asked the staff people to try to keep Mr. Kamekura occupied–a rather overbearing request–and I jumped into a taxi. When I arrived, sure enough, there he was–Yusaku Kamekura, the graphic designer I’d read about in all my textbooks–right before my eyes! I immediately introduced myself, and I likely proceeded to explain my works to him, although I have no recollection of what I might have said, and I must have been altogether incoherent. After he left, with great worry I kept trying to recall just which I might have said and done. Had I committed any grave offenses? Had I used any words that might have been inappropriate? For some reason, I remember all that part. So even though I’d finally had contact with Mr. Kamekura, it was largely a blur, meeting this eminent designer belonging to a distant stratosphere.
Now, on receiving the Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, all the nervous tension of that previous occasion comes back to mind. And at a time when I am consciously moving toward expanding the possibilities of design on broad fronts, I appreciate how winning this award has given me the opportunity once more to ponder “graphic design.” The “water” exhibition for which I have won this award was mounted thanks to the participation of many individuals. I wish to thank each and every one of them, again, here. Thank you all, very much.

Taku Satoh

Taku Satoh

Graduated from the Department of Design of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1979; in 1981, completed that institution’s Masters Degree course. Initially worked for Dentsu Inc., then established Taku Satoh Design Office Inc. in 1984. Beginning with product development for “Nikka Pure Malt,” he quickly expanded into product design for Lotte’s Mint and Xylitol chewing gum series, Taisho Pharmaceutical’s “ZENA” energy drink, MEIJI Dairies Corporation’s “Oishii Gyunyu” milk and NTT DoCoMo’s P701iD mobile phones. Among his other broadly diversified activities, he has also executed VI designs for the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, and the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo; participated in the planning and art direction of programming for NHK’s educational TV channel; and taken part in the “Anatomy of Design” project analyzing mass-produced goods from the perspective of design. He also currently serves, together with Issey Miyake and Naoto Fukazawa, as Director of 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, located in the Tokyo Midtown complex.
(As of June 2008)

Book containing the design: Graphic Design in Japan 2008