6.24 Wed 19:00 START
“Design Entrepreneur Showcase” featured pioneering design prototypes at INTERSECT BY LEXUS – TOKYO until July 7th, sponsored by Forbes Japan. As part of the exhibition, two of the participating designers visited INTERSECT on June 24th to share their ideas about the future of design innovation and business.
Moderated by Forbes Japan editor-in-chief Makoto Takano, each entrepreneur gave a presentation about their work and respective visions for how design can revolutionize society.
From left: Makoto Takano (Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Japan), Kazuo Okino (Marketing Chief, LEXUS Brand Management , Lexus International), Yoichi Ochiai (CEO and Co-Founder/Wizard, Pixie Dust Technologies, Inc.), Jin Nonogami (CEO, VELDT Inc)
The first guest speaker was Jin Nonogami, CEO of VELDT Inc. Nonogami’s work featured in “Design Entrepreneur Showcase” was a unique smartwatch with a chic analog look. He started by presenting his company’s vision: “VELDT sets out to enhance our present-day lives where we may spend every waking minute looking at our smartphones. We want people to look around them too.”
The VELDT SERENDIPITY watch was born out of Japan’s special balance of old and new technology: “Japan has both traditional craftsmanship and innovative modern technology. These can be connected to produce the next era of crafts. We wondered what it would be like to create a smartwatch that was very Japanese and involved different collaborators from a range of fields.”
Next up was Pixie Dust Technologies, Inc. CEO Yoichi Ochiai, who styles himself as a “modern-day wizard.” At the heart of his work is research into levitation. “We are researching how objects can levitate in the air and draw pictures without anyone touching them.” This all sounds very futuristic, so Ochiai elaborated with a concrete example. “For example, if you could draw a picture in the air with plasma, then you don't need touchscreens anymore. We are trying to develop this kind of technology and then make it commercially viable.”
What did Ochiai think was holding back a lot of design entrepreneurship? “We really need to smash through the barriers separating academia, industry, design, and art.” This is why he founded his own design studio as a corporation in America, in order to accelerate his research schedule.
Left: Pixie Dust, a speaker created by Pixie Dust Technologies, Inc. and due to go on sale this autumn. It makes objects levitate through ultrasonic waves and move them in the air in response to music.
Last but not least was Kazuo Okino, at Lexus International, who produced the exhibition at INTERSECT. Okino introduced how LEXUS is engaging with the design world, such as through schemes like the Lexus Design Award. “The award showcases next-generation design entrepreneurs from all over the globe. We feel it is our duty to support new design talent.”
After the presentations, the four speakers had an informal discussion on the themes raised by the guests. Takano highlighted the current situation for design entrepreneurs. Contributions were also made by some of the many designers in the audience, including Manabu Tago (who assisted with the “Design Entrepreneur Showcase” exhibition), Kuniaki Sato (CEO of cocoa motors., which is developing WalkCar, an A4-sized transportable car), and Masaaki Sugimoto (co-founder of AgIC, which has created silver nano ink printable circuit boards).
With so much talent under one roof, it was little wonder that excited discussions continued between all the designers long after the event was finished.