Mugi Yamamoto

Swiss-Japanese industrial designer.


Hello Mugi Yamamoto, how are you?

I am just back from a very promising business trip, so I am quite satisfied.

Can you introduce yourself ? Tell us more about you.

I am 25 years old and a Swiss-Japanese industrial designer, who recently graduated from ECAL in Lausanne. I am now working in a design agency called ITO Design, which is well known for office furniture. I am very happy to be there because I can learn a lot every day and the task to design furniture is highly interesting.

Where does your interest in industrial design come from?

My father is an industrial designer, so I learned from an early age about the fun sides as well as the tough sides of industrial design. He actually always told me not to become an industrial designer but for me there are so many interesting, creative and fun aspects of industrial design that I am sure to have chosen the right profession.

You recently graduated from ECAL, can you tell us more about your interesting diploma project « Stack »?

Stack is a compact inkjet printer, which is placed on top of a paper pile. When printing, “Stack” slowly moves downwards and swallows the pile until no paper is left. The paper gets pulled in under the printer and is thrown out on top, where it creates a new pile. This new way of printing allows to remove the paper tray, which is often the bulkiest element in common printers. This concept allows a very light appearance and avoids frequent reloading.

The most time-consuming part in this project was the proof of functionality. I opened up and modified many printers until I finally got my functional model to work. Then I searched for the smallest available printer parts and based on them I designed the shape of “Stack”.

Is there any designer or movement you appreciate a lot?

I actually don’t have a favorite designer or movement at the moment. The designers I appreciate are often not the famous ones, but are doing great work and have gained a lot of impressive experience and knowledge over the years.

Which book is on your bedside table?

Right now that would be “The botany of desire” by Michael Pollan. It is about the relationship between mankind and plants and is questioning who is really dominating whom.

What is next for you? Some projects to come?

As I am working in a design agency now, there will be no personal projects coming out in the next period of time. But there will be several office furniture projects, on which I have been working, coming out soon. I am looking forward to see these products becoming reality.

The last word…

I think it is very important that designers act more responsibly, since there are too much unnecessary things being produced by the industry. Designers stand at the beginning of the chain of product development, so they have a lot of influence and should use it more responsibly in a way to improve the ecological balance of our planet.

Unfortunately, many companies and designers are using “ecological design” for their marketing strategy and are not caring about real improvement, therefore they harm the trustworthiness of all the good projects. But still I do believe design can help solving social and ecological problems.

My goal is to head in that direction with my projects, not only as a marketing tool, but because I believe in the importance of design taking ecological and social responsibility.



Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 03.14

Portrait by ©Lothaire Hucki, 2013

Projects by ©Mugi Yamamoto.


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