Kodai Iwamoto is a Japanese product designer based in Tokyo.

Hello Kodai, how are you?

I’m fine, thank you. I’m happy to be doing this interview.

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Kodai Iwamoto, a Japanese product designer based in Tokyo. I graduated with a bachelor in product design from Kobe Design University in 2013. During my studies there, I have taken part of a design project called Design Soil, which was organized by professors and students. As a member of this project, I have joined some international furniture fairs such as Milan Design Week in Italy, Habitare in Finland, and Tokyo Design Week in Japan. After graduating with a master from ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland, I have launched my own studio in Japan, and I am currently working with several furniture companies in Spain, Thailand, Japan, and so on.

Where does your interest in design come from?

I always keep in mind to talk with family, friends and people whom I meet during trips. Things that I notice or discover in daily life might give me ideas, and especially the people surrounding me give me a whole new perspective.
In that sense, for me, balancing someone else’s opinion and my own is one of the ways to come up with good ideas.

Can you explain to us one of your projects?

This is a wooden coat-stand, which was the first product I showed at Milan Design Week 2011. It’s designed based on the Japanese modern life style.

At that time, I struggled how to shorten branches of coat-stands in order to make the overall size smaller. Though ultimately, I created this coat-stand called “slash”, which solves the common space problem in Japanese buildings, simply by cutting the sticks diagonally and shifting them when they are jointed back together.
This minimal way of thinking seems to be a root principle of my design-work so far.

Do you have a favorite material to work with?

I have no particular favorite material, but I feel more attracted to raw materials which have been used for a long time, such as wood and ceramic, rather than to high-tech ones.

A designer that you admire?

“Achille Castiglioni”. Because of his passion for everything and his innocent playfulness, as well as the logical and functional design that stems from these qualities.

Is there a book which opened your eyes about design?

My very first design-related book was “Dezain no rinkaku” (meaning “The Outline of Design” in Japanese) by Naoto Fukasawa. This book opened my eyes to design thinking.

The last word…

Thank you for reading till the end. And meet me at this year’s Tokyo Design Week!

Pictures & projects by Kodai Iwamoto.

Interview: Dennis Moya and Tiffany Bähler, 10.16