Among many attractions at the London Design Fair, the renowned Japanese firm Takram held a presentation about the secrets of radical innovation and showcased several projects at an interactive exhibition.
The company’s director, Kotaro Watanabe, began the talk by describing how his team employs “pendulum thinking” to switch between the perspective of designer and user, “learning about the boundary between the two sides and how those borders change.”
One Title at a Time
Founder Kinya Tagawa elaborated on that idea, presenting a project for an organization that employs Nepalese human trafficking victims to make organic cosmetics usually sold as gifts. Rather than a traditional gift box, Takram designed an envelope—with the sender’s message card hidden inside the soap itself, only revealed when the bar is nearly finished. “You find it when you’re naked,” Tagawa explained.
The audience chuckled when he introduced a Tokyo bookstore with a twist: It sells only one title at a time, which changes every week. “It looks like the book has been chosen especially for you,” said Tagawa, whose idea was to individualize the user experience, creating a gallery-like space for the carefully selected publication.
The branding for Morioka Shoten is refreshingly simple: “A Single Room With A Single Book.” But Tagawa did not underplay the challenge of designing a minimal approach, stating that “verbalizing the obvious is sometimes very difficult.”