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Nosigner Sees Form in Nature

Japanese designer Nosigner has been making waves in the design world. He talks to Michele Koh Morollo about how nature’s might and efficiency has impacted his work.

Nosigner Sees Form in Nature


21 December, 2011

The mysterious 30-year-old who heads a multidisciplinary design and innovation firm of the same name is best known for making products out of unusual materials like rice noodles and eggshells and more recently for his Sendai tsunami disaster relief web project OLIVE.

OLIVE project

“I believe design can do something in the most difficult situations. I started OLIVE on the day of the earthquake and completed the website 40 hours after the earthquake. It was throwing the ball in the dark. Fortunately it brought many collaborators who felt the same way as myself and we worked together. More than 100 ideas were gathered on that website and we collaborated with the newspaper and the government. We got ideas on how to make shoes or hot water tanks from plastic bottles, how to make rubber bands from tires or face masks from T-shirts.”

The Sendai disaster has made him rethink the idea of multifunctionality. “In emergencies, real efficiency is of higher worth than quality or aesthetics. After the tsunami it become important in Japan for products to have more than one function. What’s called smart design. For example, a light would have higher value if it can be used as a torch in an emergency situation and a drinking glass that can also be a vase or a lamp would be seen as a better product. This kind of diversity will become more important to the development of design.”


A key source of inspiration for Nosigner is the inherent efficiency in nature and he believes that form is not to be made, but to be found. “Aesthetics should serve a function. A flower did not become beautiful for us humans, it became beautiful to attract bugs, so it could be pollinated. Beauty is our instinct to find something that relates to our life, it is about right relationships. Design should be like that too.”





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