Interview with Junya Nakai

Winner of Textile Design Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Junya Nakai shares insights


Interview with Junya Nakai at Monday 13th of August 2018:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
JN : ORGANIZATION: Independence (Free Lance) EDUCATION:1889-1885 Tama art university (Tokyo) textile design

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
JN : I liked to draw pictures using various colours when I was a child. I wanted to do creative works since from about 17 years old.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
JN : Yes, I did.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
JN : I do textile design. I made fabrics from natural fibers. If I can, I would like to make fabric or other product by recycling waste plastic of the ocean.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
JN : It is to cooperate with people from different field and see the world widely you do not normally see.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
JN : The good designer can make good products, the great designer can tell a message through the products.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
JN : For example, there are two pairs of scissors here, I will check which is more universal or which is closer to people. Whether it can also use for left‐handedness, it's safe for children, etc.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
JN : All-purpose or common factor, everybody can use easily and last long well.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
JN : If I had a time and could, I would like to design kind of lighting equipment or something for public space that made from recycled plastic.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
JN : It's called GPGP, the great plastic garbage patch is the very serious problem. Also, 250kg of the waste of plastic flow out to the ocean every single second. Designers and companies cooperate with each other and should say the message about this problem. I want to make recycled plastic products with messages.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
JN : I don't have any secret recipe. Just face to things and learn by trial and error. I listen to others carefully and deeply.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
JN : Mr.Jurgen Lehl was a great creator. He loved products of handicraft of India or south-east Asia. He designed of course fabric and tableware or furniture. The design style comes from in the ordinary life he made should be taken over.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
JN : There was a wall type cd player in 2000 in Japan. That was very unique and it was based on behavioral science. -If a string is hanging in front of my eyes, I want to pull it unintentionally.-  That cd player had a single power cord extending downwards, also serving as an on / off switch. That was the project named "without thought" and it was very interesting.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
JN : One of the greatest design is nobody noticed that it is designed. I like the plane linen fabric which was woven completely perfect balance. These yarn are high twisted and woven density is perfect. It is not a hard feeling and not weak. If the yarn will be high twisted and woven, there is some gap between fabric and skin. That is the reason the fabric is so felt cool and comfortable. Also, linen fiber has a drying quickly. If you get such a shirt, you will never throw away in strict summer. In addition, it's very difficult tech to make high twisted linen yarn.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
JN : I recommend reading books about the different field from you and take a trip.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
JN : I want to be a farmer of vegetable.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
JN : The design is just like a milestone. We have to decide where we are going, in a better direction than in the past. The design is a letter to the next generation. The great design look to be a lighthouse indicating the destination.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
JN : I have got thousands of thanks from the people around me like can't count. A person who taught me the skill or vision, another person who gave me a chance to fly,,,

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
JN : A wonderful encounter, a miraculous encounter, A fateful encounter, a happy encounter, treasure every encounter.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
JN : It's a lack of knowledge. If you have got more chance and the things would successful, you have to need more skill and knowledge. Learning is life.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
JN : I think, don't have to worry about it. The internet, SNS, website, you have lots of ways. Just have an ambitious mind.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
JN : I would like to send some messages as an artist or as a designer in my artworks. I really want to express about live with nature and stop the plastic pollution.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
JN : I don't have any goals. Just I think about the things that people need or concern as much as I can.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
JN : I think people want to look at that point of view of the designer.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
JN : Not only making design products, it is important to act doing the design of society. People can live more comfortable and kindly with people by the power of design.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
JN : I would like to express efforts to protect the natural environment.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
JN : I have satisfied with any project at that moment, but I feel have to do the better work before when after the project has finished.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
JN : Small revolutions are always happening. When these waves gather together, the big wave will be coming.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
JN : The word of design has huge meaning like love. Now, it is the popular concept about social design. The one of an expert of social designer says, The social design is, The object to be designed is not only "goods" or "shape" but "society". It is not a politician or an expert to create a society but an individual. It is to solve the problems of society and to "create a better society”.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
JN : It depends on the project.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
JN : I will start to clarify the concept.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
JN : Listening honestly, speaking kindly.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
JN : I think both.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
JN : Technology helps design, the design is a clue to technology.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
JN : adobe on mac

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
JN : In my case, these are the most important elements for design. Especially I believe colour science is an essential subject for design. Because it depends on colour, people's minds will be changed.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
JN : I like to talk about colours or efforts for the natural environment.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
JN : When I see a new great design or product, the minds of designers come into my mind.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
JN : I will need at sometime, anyone who has the same vision.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
JN : I have a good memory of my friend who was an ex-president of a textile maker and 25 years older than me and he taught me many things about textile and we made so nice fabrics together.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
JN : Theory of Colours is a book by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe about the poet's views on the nature of colours and how these are perceived by humans. Also, I like the book "colour" by Rudolf Steiner.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
JN : Regarding textiles design, I have touched probably tens of thousands of fabric. It is important to feel the difference in texture.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
JN : I have a friend who makes handwoven scarves made from cashmere in Nepal. His products are really good quality. I want to discuss with him about a new project.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
JN : I'm not sure. Actually, I'm not so famous. When I got a prise, Japanese textile industry media did not pick up about me. I might it was lack of my presentation to the media.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
JN : Orange is my theme colour, it expresses the sun for me. My property always tells me the way of respect for nature. I grow some vegetables with natural farming. So, Autumn is harvest season. The ordinary life is important for my creation.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
JN : When I was still an inexperienced designer, I wanted some results. So, I got on an airplane to London and I brought a suitcase is packed full of fabric sample. Then, I went to the trade show of young designer fashion brand and shew my fabric to designers directly with no appointment. Some of the brands understood about me and gave offers.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
JN : I don't have such motivation. Just be natural.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
JN : Really, not.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
JN : I wish that people will have a great society.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
JN : People are not living by themselves, but nature let us live. Keep coexistence with nature in your mind.