Kazushige Miyake, Tokyo-based industrial designer. Founder of Miyake Design.

Hello Kazushige, how are you?

Good. Thank you. We’re moving toward spring here in Japan, and you can feel it getting warmer by the day.

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m a designer based in Tokyo. I started up my own design studio in 2005 – this year marks the 10th anniversary of the studio. I design a variety of things, from household electrical products to furniture, miscellaneous goods and bicycles.

Where does your interest in industrial design come from?

I’ve loved machines since I was young. I remember taking different machines apart and playing with them as a child. When gathered up and joined together or processed in some way various parts, even just bits of wood or plastic, they became functional products. This was a somewhat mysterious, magical thing to me. It was the desire to create the end form, the final external appearance of those products that led to me aspiring to design.

How did you come to start up the studio?

I had the idea of having my own studio in mind when I was a student. I realized that I needed a lot of experience to do so, and gained experience working for manufacturers, at design studios and also overseas.

Can you describe to us your work with MUJI?

I’ve been working with MUJI for around 10 years now. I maintain close communication with them as I work on various projects, we meet every Wednesday. I move forward with product development making sure that those involved in planning and sales and those involved in design are all on the same page. I greatly admire the MUJI style, and so it is easy and enjoyable to work with everyone
at MUJI.

You designed several products for the music industry (earphones, headphones, etc.). What is the importance of music in your design process?

To be completely honest, music does not really influence my design, but products relating to music really pique my interest. Music is a very sensory thing; it’s something that people feel in their own way. I feel that with devices that actualize this music also, a sensory kind of expression rather than a logical one is desirable.

What are the key features of your design?

I think about an item’s appeal as a product; I pay particular attention to the image that a product exudes in the instant that we lay eyes on it. When I myself choose products, I’m often influenced by my first impression of that product. So when I design, the criteria for deciding on a design is how far I can go in terms of expressing the characteristics and the appeal of that product in terms of that immediate
first impression.

Is there any designer you appreciate a lot?

Before I opened my own studio, I worked as a designer for 5 years under Naoto Fukasawa. I am very grateful to him; he is a designer that I admire greatly.

Which advice would you give to the young designers?

People’s situations and goals are all different, so that’s not an easy thing to do… I think that it’s very important to actually physically look at and experience a wide variety of things. You can now gain a lot of information over the internet, but I think actually going and seeing things by yourself, seeing things in real life – feeling and experiencing things on a sensory level – is very important.

Which books are on your bedside table?

There are a variety of them, but the one I have just started reading is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey.

The last word…

Thank you for your interest and for your time.


>   kazushigemiyake.com

Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Bähler — 03.15

Photos : MUJI – Hair Dryer / Air Purifier / Mobile Battery, Daydo – Basket, Yamaha – Headphones : Goichi Kondo.