Kenya Hara is a Japanese designer, curator, author, educator and renowned design thinker. Hara graduated from the Musashino Art University in 1983 with a master’s degree in design and soon after, joined the Nippon Design Center. In 1991, he founded his current practice, Hara Design Institute, a design think-tank working across all fields of media and design – from graphics and products to architecture and exhibitions.
Hara is the author of several notable books on design, including Designing Design, White, and Ex-Formation, and has curated several highly acclaimed exhibitions. In 2000 he held, “Re-Design: The Daily Products of the 21st Century,” that made that case that the resources for exceptional design are found in the context of the ordinary and the every-day. In 2001, Hara became a member of Japanese lifestyle brand MUJI’s advisory board and began acting as its art director. As art director, Hara ushered in a new vision for Muji that embraced “emptiness,” rather than “simplicity.” It is that “emptiness” that leaves room for creativity and imagination.
Over the course of his career, Hara has created groundbreaking design solutions for countless globally renowned companies, organizations and events including the French luxury brand Kenzo, the ‘98 Winter Olympic games, and Muji. He is currently president of the Japan Graphic Designers Association and a professor at Musashino Art University.
Fumi Watanabe James
Q&A with Kenya Hara following the lecture
Fumi Watanabe James is currently the Director of Global Beverages at Pepsico Design Center in NY. Previously as the Creative Manager at Starbucks Coffee Company Fumi led and collaborated to re-brand Tazo, Starbucks Reserve and Teavana, develop seasonal and core retail experience, and lead global merchandise direction and design among other projects. She managed design for global consumer products and global in-store art in her previous role at the company. Fumi also designs GNU Pro snowboard graphics and IKEA decorations, and her portfolio includes Shins CD art, NIKE watch graphics, Scott Wilson for Surface Magazine, and Madison Park Greetings.