Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer SATORU NAKAHARA ("SN") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

SN : 20 years ago, I got a master's degree and has worked as an elementary teacher. But I l likes photography and movie, photo works, design works, Art. In every aspect and works, My concern about life is to pursue creativity and humanity.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

SN : It is too simple, that is the pursuit of beauty. It is from my request inside. When I took pictures and changing the exposure, I have filled the pleasure.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

SN : I have not chosen to become a designer. I have to work to feed my family and my daughters. So I decided to work as parallel works. These give me thoughtfulness warmth and of humans.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

SN : It is the pursuit of the expression of "Yugen.” This word is one expression of Japanese culture and art. It can not be translated exactly. The closest word is "Mysterious." I want to design and express by taking photos with all tools everywhere and all over the world.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

SN : I think you chose any target and any job, tools, you should feel the true nature of human and life from every works and design works, artworks.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

SN : It can be interpreting from background their philosophy and feeling the warm eyes of their works. And for a client's demands and though, the designer how he can design in his good faith and whole body.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

SN : For their design works, to express their thoughts, how the designer could reduce the waste and sophisticate in his works.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

SN : Challenging to areas that humanity has not reached. Because that is the essential desire of humans.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

SN : In a virtual space, I want to create an art museum where anyone in the world can enjoy works in three dimensions.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

SN : Taking a picture of an object that is standing quietly for a long time around the world and creating work.  And with Japanese "Yugen" and "Wa colors" I would like to design and produce the works.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

SN : Learning hermeneutics, history, and culture, difference in the aesthetic sense, and comparing them eastern and western.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

SN : Rembrandt, Vermeer, Leonardo da Vinci

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

SN : Composition and light, Composition with light.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

SN : It harmonizes of art and photography. It is not digital art and digital photography. And it works on the home by using tools that can be used, everyone.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

SN : I have repeatedly searched for comfortable points. It was a series of trial and error, and it was also an accidental discovery.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

SN : Like a professional soccer player or the person making delicious liquor, I can pursue artistry with your own physical expressions and works. But any time, any place, I want to be one creator. 

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

SN : Acting according to one's intellectual curiosity and aesthetic sense. Quest for ultimate humanity.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

SN : None. Only my family's support. They gave me time to works free from housework.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

SN : How to interpret literature and history, paintings. It may be called liberal arts.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

SN : Limited time and equipment. On the contrary, maybe it was good for me.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

SN : Simple and easy to express so that people can interpret the background of the works.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

SN : First I want to take a picture of Yugen's work all over Japan. Next, I want to stay in the world and take a picture. I just want to concentrate on that.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

SN : Being able to have design and artworks anywhere anytime in the world.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

SN : I don't know it honestly.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

SN : Design meets people's creativity that is one of human desire. If people's creativity is satisfied, people can be kind to families and neighbors, on the earth.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

SN : The photographic pursuit of ”Yugen.” Especially how to express it by black.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

SN : All my works. I can remember the time when I look at my photos and works.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

SN : More digital, More beautiful, but it is doubtful whether we can express human spirituality and time

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

SN : Fusion with the universe or return to the inner human.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

SN : It takes time to create the desired color and composition. If I start by hearing from clients to searching for the object, it will take about one week to one month.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

SN : I start by observing the object well and read the story that flows there.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

SN : Can people start a beautiful story in their mind and life from my works?

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

SN : I think the design decides to trend. Because design is human instinctive activity.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

SN : What enhances human efficiency and potential.

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

SN : Olympus digital camera, Canon digital camera, Laptop Pc, Adobe photoshop

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

SN : Colors and light are the most important elements of my works. These consist of the construction.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

SN : Did my work move in your mind?

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

SN : The work is far from the designer. The work and works are moving with a different personality independently like his sons and daughters. 

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

SN : People who feel the potential of my work. Especially the client who called out first.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

SN : No.Past great painter of Art.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

SN : Classical literature and the great books of history.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

SN : I made a trial and error many times by getting the image inside.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

SN : Rembrandt, Vermeer, Leonardo da Vinci. How they were seeing the light and how they were seeing it.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

SN : It was very difficult for me. I appreciate so much to this award.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

SN : I like everything. Especially my favorite color is "WA colors." These are called "Unique to Japanese colors."  And world heritage, Mr.Micheal Kenna's All works, sundown's light.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

SN : My family has not really believed in winning this award yet.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

SN : The same light always comes every day, every year.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

SN : I couldn't predict at all. However, I still have remained a sense of creative activity in childhood. It never changes.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

SN : When can a human become a real creator in the true sense? Can humans and time fuse ? Is it the beginning of the end? I am also looking forward to it.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

SN : Please tell me if there is a camera that can express white. Thank you for watching my works. It is my pleasure.



Dramatic Photography

Dramatic Photography by SATORU NAKAHARA

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