Design (21)

On March 31, 2017, we will open Gallery 3, a new space to both commemorate the 10th anniversary of 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, and to anticipate the future.

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT opened in March 2007, as a venue to think about everyday things and events and a variety of matters related to our daily lives, and to create various proposals and communicate numerous discoveries to the world through design. We have held various programs to date, including 34 exhibitions, which have been visited by a large number of people.

In March this year, we will mark our 10th anniversary. In order to develop the purpose of the activities we have pursued since our opening, we will open a new base for our activities, "Gallery 3."

Gallery 3 follows on from the existing Gallery 1 and Gallery 2 (the two exhibition spaces in the basement of the building). In Gallery 3, along with opening it to the general public, a variety of programs including exhibits, events, and workshops will be jointly realized through close collaboration with the people involved in design and also companies and educational, research, and cultural institutions in various countries.

This spring, as the opening program for Gallery 3, we are planning a number of programs that consider design, life, and the future of society, while looking on our ten years of activities.

Treasuring the journey we have experienced from our opening in 2007 to today and looking ahead, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT will continue its activities to redirect our eyes even more broadly to our environs from the design point of view.

©Tadao Ando Architect & Associates

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Gallery 3

Open: March 31 (Fri.), 2017
Design: Tadao Ando Architect & Associates
Exhibit space: 109.6m2 (ceiling height ~4.26m)
Structure: Reinforced concrete + Steel, 1 story

Exhibition view of "ATHLETE"

Photo: Keizo Kioku

The National Art Center, Tokyo

The National Art Center, Tokyo will hold an exhibition which focuses on the work of Miyake Issey, a designer and a 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Director, starting on March 16, 2016.

The National Art Center, Tokyo
"MIYAKE ISSEY EXHIBITION: The Work of Miyake Issey"

Date: March 16 (Wed) - June 13 (Mon), 2016
Closed on Tuesdays, except May 3
Venue: The National Art Center, Tokyo Special Exhibition Gallery 2E
Opening hours: 10:00-18:00; 10:00-20:00 on Fridays
*Last admission 30 minutes before closing

Organized by: The National Art Center, Tokyo
Co-organized by: The Miyake Issey Foundation and Miyake Design Studio
With the support of: Issey Miyake Inc.
General Inquiries: (+81) 3-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)

The designer Miyake Issey has always looked to the future. He has continually explored new methods and technologies for making clothes since establishing the Miyake Design Studio in 1970. Miyake's clothing is rooted in research and development carried out by his design team, and based on the concepts of a piece of cloth and the relationship between clothing and the body. His work combines innovation with comfort to enliven our lives. This exhibition will allow viewers of all ages to experience the joy of making things through the work of Miyake Issey.

>>The National Art Center, Tokyo Website

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT was awarded a special prize of the 2014 Mainichi Design Award.

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT was awarded a special prize of the 2014 Mainichi Design Award.

The award is sponsored by Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun. It is an annual award given to outstanding achievements during the year in all the fields of design.

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT was awarded a special prize for "Presenting Design's Multiple Perspectives".

Photo: Naoki Honjo

THE FAB MIND Exhibition is featured on domus and JDN

Exhibition "THE FAB MIND: Hints of the Future in a Shifting World" is covered by Italian website "domus" and Japanese website "JDN."

>>domus "The Fab Mind"

>>JDN "World Report"

Short Films from THE FAB MIND Exhibition

DNA Charlois & Christien Meindertsma / Wandschappen Sweaters by Loes

Photo: Masaya Yoshimura

Celebrating and recording anonymous acts

Studio Swine Can City

Photo: Masaya Yoshimura

Connecting waste and street culture with crafts

Massoud Hassani Mine Kafon

Callum Cooper, Massoud Hassani and Mahmud Hassani

Photo: Masaya Yoshimura

Design and humanism in solutions strategy

ALMA Project / National Astronomical Observatory of Japan + PARTY + Qosmo + Epiphany Works
ALMA MUSIC BOX: Melody of a Dying Star

Photo: Masaya Yoshimura

Communicating invisible information to the five senses

Atelier Hoko Fixperts

Photo: Masaya Yoshimura

Solving problems through repair and improvement

Yosuke Ushigome Professional Sharing

Professional Sharing from Yosuke Ushigome on Vimeo.

Photo: Masaya Yoshimura

Design that brings about discussions about the future

Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Mémoires Vives (Vivid Memories)

Established in 1984 for the promotion of contemporary art, the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, the first corporate foundation in France, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. During this time, the foundation has hosted 150 exhibitions, and through a unique approach of making direct requests to artists, has realized the production of more than 800 works. Celebrating this milestone, the exhibition Mémoires Vives (vivid memories) from May 10 to mid-September will kick off various events that will take place over the course of a year from May 2014. Following his exhibition ISSEY MIYAKE MAKING THINGS, held from October 1998 to February 1999, Issey Miyake has been invited to participate in this exhibition.

Miyake will create installations using lighting fixtures and lamps from the IN-EI ISSEY MIYAKE collection in the first floor gallery space and outdoor garden. The first floor gallery space will portray the image of an ocean with an installation representing a migrating school of fish, while the outdoor garden will invoke images of living creatures in the forest with lighting fixtures with names such as mole, hen, and rattlesnake on exhibition among the plants. The fixtures to be used in the installation have been designed especially for this exhibition. The exhibition in the first floor gallery space will run until August 31 and the outdoor garden exhibition will run until mid-May.

Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Mémoires Vives (Vivid Memories)

May 10 to mid - September 2014
>>Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain Website

Photo: Hervé Tarrieu

Photo: Hervé Tarrieu

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 26 Tamotsu Yagi

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Illuminating the moment over forced fabrication

── How did you discover Irving Penn's photos?

Tamotsu Yagi (from hereon Yagi):
I've seen Penn's photos often in magazines, but the first time I took a really good look at one was when I saw a portrait of Miles Davis on the cover of his album, "TUTU" in 1986.  I received it from Ms. Eiko Ishioka who was in charge of the art direction of that album. 

── What are your thoughts on Penn's photos?

Yagi: Penn's photos are an expression of pure natural beauty.

── Please tell us about a memorable episode if any.

Yagi: In 1991, after I had left ESPRIT and was working as a freelance designer in San Francisco, I received a call from publisher, Nicholas Callaway.  The first work I received from him was to layout the Japanese edition of Irving Penn's photo collection, "PASSAGE."  After the book was completed and I was waiting for the sample to arrive, the printing house sent an entire set of proofs for the book packed on a wooden palette.  I was astounded by the triple-fold front-back proof I received before the book was completed. 

── Please tell us what you learned from Penn's photos or how they influenced you.

Yagi: Expressions are born through subtraction rather than addition.  
Don't be overly expressive. Instead, tell it straight as it is.

── Please tell us about your recent work.

Yagi: In November of 2011, a book about my design work, "THE GRAPHIC EYE of Tamotsu Yagi" was released by ADP.  I am also currently working on a signage program for the Pomona College, a liberal arts college near Los Angeles. 

Tamotsu Yagi

Art Director
Tamotsu Yagi was born in 1949 in Kobe, Japan.  He worked for a multidisciplinary design firm in Tokyo for eighteen years, and moved to California in 1984 when he was named Art Director for the San Francisco based clothing company Esprit.  Here, Yagi was in charge of all aspects of visual presentation and image design, from advertising and catalogues, to packaging, product identification and store graphics.  He soon created the iconic and internationally recognized "Esprit Graphic Look," which led the company to win the AIGA's (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Design Leadership Award in 1986.  In 1990, Yagi was chosen to be a member of the prestigious AGI (Alliance Graphique International), and was one of the youngest inductees in its history.  The following year he ventured out on his own to establish Tamotsu Yagi Design, an independent multidisciplinary studio based in San Francisco.  Within three years, Yagi received the Clio Award for the Tribù perfume bottle he designed for Benetton.  One year later, Yagi was honored by the induction of over 100 examples of his work into the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Select works from this collection were also featured in a special exhibit at the grand opening of the SF MoMA building in 1995.

THE GRAPHIC EYE of Tamotsu Yagi
"THE GRAPHIC EYE of Tamotsu Yagi"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 25 Kazuko Sato

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Creation of dreams traveling between reality and invention

──How did you learn of Irving Penn's photos?

Kazuko Sato (from hereon Sato):
I would say that I learned of Penn's photos through Miyake-san's works rather than Irving Penn's photos alone. The visuals of those days, also introduced in this exhibition, had enormous impact on me. The scenery inside Miyake-san's mind collided with the scenery inside Penn's mind to create work of a different dimension.

──What do you specifically mean by that?

Sato: The viewers can see themselves in the visual and transform to their heart's desire. Those are pictures of a model wearing clothes but every one of them carries a story that transforms from one thing to another. I'm sure that the stories that viewers portray in their minds are all different, but I believe that each one of them is associated to that person's desire for transformation. That's what makes these photos interesting for the viewers. It's not every day that you come to an exhibition that fulfills this universal desire for transformation.

──That's a very interesting point of view. In some ways, it's a very feminine point of view.

Sato: You may be right (laugh.) Both Issey-san's clothes and Penn's photos go beyond genre and time, they travel beyond space and time. When great minds meet, the greatness doesn't just double; instead, it produces results that are squared or even cubed. And they both do it with such freedom. That's the amazing part.

──You're right. They create work without conversation.

Sato: Another thought after seeing their creation is their intricate balance of invention and reality. Design must contain an element of reality. But, people are not inspired if the design contains only reality. "Lie" would not be a good word to describe this, but there is a world of invention and this invented world is where people seek out their dreams. Miyake-san's clothes present us with an enormous dream but they can still be worn when returning to reality. And when you wear his clothes in the real world, they take you drifting back to that dream. Penn drew out the dream part of Issey-san's work to the greatest extent possible and transformed it into something completely new. I am utterly impressed by the skill with which he did this.

──Lastly, please tell us about your recent work.

Sato: Late last year, a book titled, "Italia Bunka Jiten (Encyclopedia of Italian Culture)" was published in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Italy-Japan Association and Italy's 150th anniversary of national unity. I supervised and authored the section on "Creation"-(Design.) My involvement in this book made me acutely aware of the fact that the definition of "design" has not established itself in the context of history and culture, and that it is up to us to ensure that it will be done so adequately.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)


Kazuko Sato

Graduate of Joshibi University of Art and Design, Department of Design. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera on scholarship from the Italian government while studying at the graduate school of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Resided in Milano from the early 60's to the 70's , and the 80's Member of the Italian Journalist Federation. Producer of various Italy-Japan cultural exhibitions. Author of "Alchemia" and "Toki wo Ikiru Italia Design." Guest professor of the Kanazawa College of Art. Guest professor of the Joshibi University of Art and Design. Originator of the "modern design theory."

"Italia Bunka Jiten (Encyclopedia of Italian Culture)"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 22 Hiroshi Kashiwagi

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Penn's peaceful and tranquil eyes

── Penn takes various photos. Which of his photos interest you the most?

Hiroshi Kashiwagi (from hereon Kashiwagi):
One of Irving Penn's representative works is a series of cigarette butts. The cigarette butts strewn on streets and disregarded by passerbys are not themselves beautiful but Penn's composed eyes that gaze intently at them are.

I also love his portraits. That picture in this exhibition of Issey Miyake with what seems like a hood over his head is a nice picture. Issey-san's gaze is strong and Penn draws out this strength to the fullest. I also like his portrait series taken against a background of a sharp V-shaped wall. No matter how much the artist puts on their act, there is a sense of their "raw" self, wafting from within this limited space. Many say that Penn's photos portray humans like objects but these photos clearly convey that he does not "kill" his models.

── You've seen Miyake-san's works over the ages. What are your thoughts on the collaboration between the two?

Kashiwagi: Penn's photos draw out the concept of clothing as conceived by Issey-san and the possibilities within the beauty of their design through a new perspective. On top of that, when you look at his preliminary drawings for photo sittings, you learn that every detail is created through intention rather than coincidence.

During his student days, Issey-san was once put in charge of clothing for a Shiseido poster model. The poster design was created by Makoto Nakamura, a designer who defined an era of Shiseido's graphic design . I once heard from Mr. Nakamura that Issey-san was responsible for everything down to the makeup at the time. The poster photo was taken in a style that is completely different from Penn but Issey-san's clothing and the poses brought out the beauty of the model. I feel a similarity between Issey-san and Penn and that their meeting was by no means a coincidence.

── What are your thoughts on Ikko Tanaka design?

Kashiwagi: Ikko Tanaka was a brilliant graphic designer. He drew out the talents of both Issey Miyake and Irving Penn while preserving their image. He used the photos in a straightforward manner, inserted typography in a simple style, and brought forth intricate changes by arranging their spacing and lineup. Ikko Tanaka was an artist with a wealth of expressions. He was connected with Issey-san and Penn in that he saw the essential character of his themes and clients. I believe that work produced by these three artists will go beyond the borders of fashion and photos and leave its mark in history.

── Please tell us about your recent work.

Kashiwagi: Last year, I published a book titled, "Tantei Shosetsu no Shitsunai (Interiors of Detective Novels)" from Hakusuisha and am currently writing what can be called its sequel. It's about how rooms and spaces are handled inside diaries. I am planning on featuring Soseki Natsume, Torahiko Terada, Hyakken Uchida, Kafu Nagai and about two more authors. It should be out within the year so don't miss it.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Hiroshi Kashiwagi

Hiroshi Kashiwagi

Design Critic, Professor of Musashino Art University, Tokyo (Major is History of Modern Design.)
Born in Kobe in 1946. Graduated with the design degree from Musashino Art University. He has been attempting to spell out modern thought aesthetic through his research in design.
Visiting scholar of the Pratt Institute New York, 2005.
Selected Exhibitions :Curator for the exhibition Tanaka Ikko Retrospective Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2003. Curator for the exhibition Fantaisies Cybernetiques, Maison de la culture du Japon a Paris, 2003-4.
Selected Publication: Modann dezain hihan(Critique of the modern design)Iwanami syoten,Tokyo,02."Shikiri"no Bunkaron (Cultural studies on "boundary")Kodanshsya,Tokyo,04. Tantei-syosetu no shitsunai (Interior of Detective Story)Hakusuisya,Tokyo,11. Dezain no Kyokasyo(The Textbook on Design)Kodansya,Tokyo,11.

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE is nominated for Designs of the Year Awards.

132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE, clothing created by Issey Miyake + Reality Lab Project Team exhibited in "REALITY LAB" exhibition in 2010, is nominated for the Design Museum's fifth annual Designs of the Year Awards.
The Design Museum's Design Awards, 'the Oscars of the design world', is a showcase of the most innovative and progressive designs from around the world. All of the nominations will be on show at the exhibition in the Design Museum from 8 February to 15 July. The winners will be announced on 24 April.

Exhibition View
Exhibition "REALITY LAB"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 8 Naoto Fukasawa

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Irving Penn may actually be the man who brings ISSEY MIYAKE images to shape

──Please give us your thoughts on Irving Penn photos.

Naoto Fukasawa (from hereon, Fukasawa):
My personal interpretation of Irving Penn is that he is a man who remains steadfast on his vision once set. I think this firm attitude speaks for itself in his work. When you work in this profession, it's a continuous cycle of revising the unbalance and asking questions until you reach a certain point. I think Penn has the power to instantly crystallize undoubting strengths and concepts without fail.
This strength may be apparent all the more because we see it through photographs.

──What was your impression after seeing the exhibition?

Fukasawa: Penn's collaboration with Issey-san was introduced through animation and it was the first time that this process of the two artists was revealed, which made for a very refreshing experience. Everyone knows what great artists that Irving Penn and Issey Miyake are but the background to their collaboration as in the wealth and magnitude of what they made had never been revealed. It was very inspiring.

In contrast to Irving Penn, Issey-san tends to question the ideas that come to mind. He is always conscious of putting himself in midst of the doubt and completing the process while waiting for the moment of crystallization. This is his unique way of working as well as an indication of his strength and the sternness with which he works. This was quite an impact.

──What did you think about the collaboration between Issey Miyake and Penn?

Fukasawa: Irving Penn interprets Issey-san's creative process, his ideas and perspective and captures this on camera with clear focus. These photos embrace a certain power which adamantly states, "This is what Issey thought" no matter what anyone says. And I think when Issey-san saw Penn's photos; he was also persuaded like, "Aha! So that's what I must've been thinking!" And it was a repeated cycle of this process. Both artists are focused in their expression and when their two paths cross, they fit perfectly together.

It's like a jazz jam session. At first, you play without thinking ahead to what the other musician will play but they create beautiful music nonetheless. But then, there is a point where they go beyond this and Irving Penn knows more about Issey-san than Issey-san himself. That moment shows in these works. In other words, Irving Penn may actually be the person that brings ISSEY MIYAKE images to life. I say this because Penn's images are the ones imprinted in the minds of people all over the world. In that sense, I am amazed by Issey-san's intuition to collaborate with this artist, Irving Penn.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Fukasawa: Recent works, though a bit unusual, was the renewal of the MUJI Aoyama shop. It was a project called, "Found MUJI." Rather than making something new, the concept of this project was to "search" for objects used over the years around the world and present them through the MUJI filter. Visitors will be able to seek out new value in ordinary objects. I went on a search for various objects in China and India too. Please come visit.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Naoto Fukasawa

Naoto Fukasawa

Product designer
In 1989, Fukasawa left Japan for the United States where he worked for eight years at IDEO in San Francisco. He returned to Japan in 1997 to establish a Tokyo branch of the company. In 2003 he founded Naoto Fukasawa Design. Fukasawa's design widely ranges from portable digital assisting products such as watches and mobile phones to personal computing products, electronics, household goods, furniture and interior design. He has been collaborating with representative brands in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Asian countries for their product developments. Fukasawa's work is highly respected for the way it uses the senses to connect people and objects and enhance the pleasure of those using the product. Publications include "Dezain no Rinkaku (The contours of design)" (TOTO Shuppan), and co-author of "Dezain no Seitaigaku (The ecology of design)" (Tokyo Shoseki).

Found MUJI Aoyama shop

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

Article on IstoÉ Platinum

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by Brazilian magazine "IstoÉ Platinum".

IstoÉ Platinum
IstoÉ Platinum

Article on THE NEW YORKER website

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered on THE NEW YORKER.

From the original drawings created for the animated film by Michael Crawford
Copyright © 2010 by Michael Crawford

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 3 Naoki Ishikawa

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Dahomey, inspirational pictures that took me to West Africa

──How did you come to know Penn's photos?

I think it was about 5-6 years ago, when I saw Irving Penn's "Dahomey" exhibition directed by Issey Miyake at the Japan Folk Crafts Museum at Komaba Todai-Mae (editor's note: "Dahomey 1967: Photographs by Irving Penn" 2004, The Japan Folk Crafts Museum.) Penn is well-known for his fashion photography but his work is also deeply connected with folklore and cultural anthropology. What connected me with Penn were these photographs he took in the then Republic of Dahomey.
Republic of Dahomey no longer exists and has since been renamed the Republic of Benin. A small country in West Africa, it is also known as the cradle of voodoo where many unique ceremonies and rituals survive to this day. Penn, who traveled to Dahomey on an assignment from French Vogue, took many sophisticated portraits during his stay. Meanwhile, he also left a generous number of non-fashion photos taken as personal work.

──Which of the Dahomey photographs inspired you most?

That would be the Legba photos. Legba is somewhat like a Jizo (Japanese sacred stone statue) and can still be found on street corners and just about everywhere in Benin today. In contrast to the smooth faced Jizo of Japan, Legba faces are smothered with materials including blood of birds and egg yolk. It is a statue with astonishing visual impact and a great presence. The statues are treasured by the local people as tricksters that work both good and evil deeds but they are everything but "lovable" figures. But, I believe greatly in Penn's eyes which sought out the beauty of these statues.
Beauty and ugliness are two sides of the same coin, and these bizarre Legba statues hold a dominating beauty within its ugliness. Legba may be difficult to approach but at the same time, it embraces a sense of fond familiarity. It was an eye-opening photo exhibition for me. Penn took photographs on the frontlines of fashion, but he also unearthed the beauty of statues like Legba, and I can relate very much to his attitude toward the world. I was so inspired by the Legba photos at the exhibition that I even went to the Republic of Benin (laugh.) My photo collection, "VERNACULAR" contains many of the photos I took in Benin, and these are my homage to Mr. Penn.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

"8848", a solo exhibition of new works is on display until October 22 (Sat.) at the SCAI THE BATH HOUSE gallery. The exhibition features pictures taken during a climbing journey up Mt. Everest from late- last March to May. Also, my records of the climb up Mt. Everest have also been made into the book, "For Everest" It would be my honor if you could take a peek at both.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Naoki Ishikawa

Naoki Ishikawa

Born in Tokyo, 1977. Completed PhD from Tokyo University of the Arts.
Participated in the international project "POLE TO POLE" in 2000, and traversed the continents from the North Pole to the South Pole. Reached the tops of highest mountain peaks of the seven continents in 2001. With interests in anthropology and folklore, he works with the theme found in the travel. Won the Newcomer's Award from the Photographic Society of Japan and the Kodansha Publishers Culture Award for Photography "NEW DIMENSION" (AKAAKA) and "POLAR" (Little More) in 2008, and the 30th Ken Domon Prize for Photography "CORONA" (SEIDOSHA) in 2011. Reached the peak of Everest for the second time this spring since ten years, and published "For Everest" (Little More).


List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 2 Hiroyuki Nakano

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Delicate and Powerful Expression like Mincho-tai Font

──What made you a fan of Irving Penn?

I love old Vogue photographs and the first photo collection I ever bought was a collection of Irving Penn photos. I think he is the person that has had the greatest influence on me. Richard Avedon is frequently cited as a photographer of the same generation but personally, whereas Avedon is a powerful and tough Gothic font, Penn has an image of being a delicate and elegant Mincho-tai font. When starting film, I would ask myself, "How can I shoot film like Penn's photos?" I made many attempts but it was nearly impossible to shoot similar cuts (laugh.)

──What is the charm of Penn photographs?

First, his photos have an interesting composition and a powerful impact that you will never forget once seen. Call it his ability to pick out split second moments, call it his determination...even when working with Issey-san, he knows every detail and context of the clothing and takes intense photos with a firm grip on every single point he wants to show. I have heard that Mr. Penn started working with Issey-san when he was around 70 years old and that is very understandable. Mr. Penn had worked on the forefront of photography from an early age and once past 50, his pace of work started slowing down and naturally, the number of photographs. As he entered his later years, he took on a new and interesting challenge. I think Issey-san's clothes had some influence on this decision. Imagine how fun it would be to be presented with such exciting clothing and figuring out how you would shoot them. Looking at their work, I can feel with my skin the joy and excitement that it contained.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

I am participating in the "311 Sendai Short Film Production Project 'Ashita (Tomorrow)'", which is a project of the "Sendai Short Film Festival 2011" to be held at Sendai Mediatheque on the 17th and 18th of September. The project will feature 3 minute 11 second films shot by 40 directors. I thought hard for about three months and finished a piece titled "Ashita (Tomorrow.)" I hope you will come see it.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Hiroyuki Nakano

Hiroyuki Nakano

Film director
Known for his musical film expression, Nakano is the mastermind behind many music videos of famous Japanese and international artists. His film, "SF Samurai Fiction" was the Grand Prix winner of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival and his short film, "Iron" won the International Young Critics' Award at the Cannes International Film Festival. "The Beautiful Planet" the newest work by Nakano introducing viewers to the beauty of our planet Earth is now on release.

"Ashita (Tomorrow)"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

A Dialogue with Midori Kitamura Part 3

Dialogue Woven through "Sight"

These photo sessions resulted in over 250 photographs. When flipping through the pages of the photo collection, "Irving Penn regards the work of Issey Miyake" (1999, Random House), there is a sense of amazement that all the photographs could have been taken with the same level of emotion.
"When selecting the photographs to show on the large screen during the exhibition, I was once again impressed at how timeless Mr. Penn's work is. For 13 years, the tension remains unchanged as if every single picture was taken at the same sitting."

ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Autumn/Winter 1996.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1998.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Autumn/Winter 1999.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation

Whether it be fashion, portraits, or still lives, Penn's objective in his work was to transcend the known historical aspects of photography and art and take them to new and creative level. His work for Miyake always projects both a sense of the times and an element of humor lurking beneath it. These photographs were revelatory of the unique character of the artist himself. But more than that, each of the photographs by Irving Penn goes beyond the borders of mere fashion photography; each carries with it a power to somehow endow the model wearing ISSEY MIYAKE with the aura of a new life form that has traveled here from the future.
"Mr. Penn was always waiting with great anticipation for the clothes I'd bring. This is something I felt from across the meeting table. The same can be said for Miyake, who was waiting for the photos on the other side of the ocean. But, since Mr. Penn was a great master in the eyes of Miyake, I'm sure Miyake also had a sense of anxiety that Mr. Penn would not find any clothes he wanted to take. In that sense, I think it was like waiting for test results with a pounding heart."

Every time Miyake looked at the photos delivered from New York. He would be amazed and inspired by the new interpretation and this then turned into the motivating force for his next collection.
"Designers are clear in what they want to express. They put their life on the line at every collection. The works shown there remain in history so misinterpretation of the work would be a horrifying thing. But in Miyake's case, he accepted Mr. Penn's expressions. Probably out of sincere respect. He accepted these new interpretations and used them as seeds for his imagination."

Resonating dialogue that continued solely through "sight." These 250 pictures are in many ways, the fruit of this miracle-like communication. The element that supported the collaboration of these two maestros was the spirit of solidarity on the photo sessions.
"John Sahag, in charge of hair, was a super popular artist but during these sittings, he would just say, "Yes, Mr. Penn" and do everything the way Mr. Penn told him to do. Tyen was also the world's top creative director and photographer who had created the entire color palette for Parfum Christian Dior but on these shoots, he would bring a mountain of makeup all by himself. All of the staff in that studio took on this work as if it were their first. I too, focused on the clothing, shutting out all thoughts of the Paris collection theme. I did not speak one word of what Miyake had said.
Because I knew that Miyake would not be happy if we took something that was similar to the collection. Without knowing it, the three of us were also sharing the silent communication that had been flowing between Mr. Penn and Miyake. We locked in our ego and everybody worked on the same spiritual level. It was a truly special time."

Every staff involved in the photo shoot worked together as one to create Penn's work. For them, this was not labor; it was work.

Though Miyake never once sat in on a photo session, every time he visited New York, he had dinner with Mr. Penn, Kitamura, and Kanai.
"We met many times after completion of this series and every time, Mr. Penn would say, 'Work with Issey was unforgettable' and that it was a time of his life that he would never forget."
In 2009, Irving Penn passed away at age 92. This series, which could not all be released in his lifetime will be shown at this exhibition. Kitamura planned this exhibition in memory of the artist as well as with a feeling that looking at this work again now will allow her to share a special something with many others. As opening day draws near, preparations are approaching the final stretch.

Composition/Text: Cawaii Factory/Tamaki Harada + Mari Nakayama (Creative editors unit)

Part 1 Director's Profile
Part 2 Details of the Photo Sitting
Part 3 Dialogue Woven through "Sight"

A Dialogue with Midori Kitamura Part 2

Details of the Photo Sitting

Irving Penn was born in 1917. His photographs first graced the covers of "VOGUE" in 1943. From then, on he worked at the forefront of fashion, portrait, and still life photos. By the time he started working on the ISSEY MIYAKE photo series, he was 69 years old, an unchallenged master.
"One time, a model who was about to go home after a photo session became distressed because she could not find the shoes that she had worn there. They must have gotten mixed in with the other things. Mr. Penn, who had been closely watching the situation brought out his own sneakers and casually told the model to wear them home. That's the kind of man he was."

There was a demanding schedule for every photo shoot.
After the collection had been shown in Paris, the clothes would return to the Tokyo office. There, Miyake and Kitamura would begin the selection process for pieces to send to New York for the session. "We tried to choose the pieces that would inspire Mr. Penn the most. No matter how beautiful the piece, we did not bring anything whose form was too simple. Although the final selection would only be 3 or 4 pieces, we would send about 40 pieces from which Mr. Penn could choose, all of which were sent to the ISSEY MIYAKE USA office in New York."
Kitamura would then head to New York. Before the meeting with Penn, the clothes would be carefully arranged on racks.

On the day of the meeting, Penn would come to the office at 8:30. Kitamura would show what was prepared. When Penn found one to his liking, she would have a model put it on, so he could see the clothes in motion.
"At these moments, Mr. Penn would say for example, 'Midori, this piece is certainly interesting but could you add more volume to the side?' I'd think, 'Oh no, there's nothing to add but maybe this mini skirt will work' and wrap it on. Then, the piece becomes interesting. Mr. Penn would direct the model to pose in different ways, and then when he found what he was looking for, start drawing a sketch of the clothing as well as the makeup and hair. These sketches will also be on display at the exhibition."
The selection process ended by noon, and the photo shoot would begin at the Penn Studio the next day.
"During those 13 years there were no changes in the core members of the staff, which is a very rare thing: John Sahag did the hair, Tyen did the makeup, Sadie Hall would iron every piece, Jun Kanai, the Miyake Design Studio US representative, was in charge of coordination, and me, styling."
The photo shoot began each morning at 8:30, a break for lunch in between, and ended at 6PM. This continued for about 4 days.

Kitamura says that during the shoot, Penn's studio was silent, allowing neither music nor conversation while he worked.
"It was a kind of silence that if you dropped something, everyone would jump. The only sounds were the directions given by Mr. Penn and the sound of his shutter clicking once in a while. The tension in the air was palpable. Now that I look back on it, it was the same tension we felt as Miyake was preparing for a Paris show."

ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1991.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1992.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1994.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation

When asked a question as to whether there were any especially memorable clothes or episodes during those 13 years, Kitamura responded, " none in particular... because she had poured the same amount of energy into each and every one of them. In other words, everything was special. "Personally, I think that rather than simply taking a photo, Mr. Penn first created his own world and captured this on camera. He made everything from the makeup to the hair to the color of the model's skin to his specifications; and completed the world with one piece of clothing. I remember that as the photo sessions advanced, I would start feeling like I was watching opera. It was a continuous feeling of amazement."

Composition/Text: Cawaii Factory/Tamaki Harada + Mari Nakayama (Creative editors unit)

Part 1 Director's Profile
Part 2 Details of the Photo Sitting
Part 3 Dialogue Woven through "Sight"

A Dialogue with Midori Kitamura Part 1

Director's Profile

This exhibition title couldn't be more straightforward.
"Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue".
There is a great deal of meaning contained in this simple title but above all, in the words "Visual Dialogue" ...They carry a certain air, whispering that this is not your ordinary photo exhibition or a clothing exhibition.

Of course, works by renowned photographer, Irving Penn, will be on exhibit. This will be the first time that visitors will have the opportunity to see his works on such a grand scale in Tokyo since the retrospective: "Irving Penn: A Career in Photography" which was held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography from November 1999 to January 2000. It will also be the first exhibition dedicated to the artist in Tokyo, since his death in 2009. For photography fans, this is a much-awaited opportunity and even for those who drop by without any prior knowledge of Penn or his work, it will without doubt, be a joyous experience.
However, the fundamental purpose of this exhibition is to "focus upon the creativity born through the two artists' visual dialogue". That is why those who understand the meaning of "Visual Dialogue" and those steeped in the knowledge of the unique working relationship between Penn and Miyake will be able to enjoy the exhibition all-the-more.
In this series, and as a highlight of the exhibition, Director Midori Kitamura will share some of the backstories from the Penn sittings and the creation of the exhibition.

But before that, who is Midori Kitamura? We will start with a story on how she came to be the director of this exhibition.

Midori Kitamura is the current President of the MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIO as well as the Creative Director and Producer of products including perfumes and watches. Midori Kitamura joined ISSEY MIYAKE in 1976 as the attaché de press.
"Nowadays, attaché de press is a well-known position in the fashion industry, but back then, nobody in Japan had ever heard of a job where one is responsible for general PR and the advertisement of a brand." Kitamura has been involved in all aspects of Issey Miyake's work, for over 35 years, including accompanying the designer to the Paris collection twice a year, creating promotional materials and videos, and even organizing exhibitions and publishing books.

After the "A-UN" Paris exhibition in 1988, Miyake's work shifted toward creating clothing that was lighter and more functional. However, just prior to that, Miyake met with Irving Penn; it was as if it was the harbinger for change. This was in 1983.
"Miyake, had admired Mr. Penn's work since he was in school, but their first true exchange came when Mr. Penn photographed Miyake's clothing for "VOGUE" magazine. Upon looking at the photo, Miyake was amazed by the fresh perspective, which soon turned into a desire to have Mr. Penn take photos of all his clothing."
Miyake's dream came true. Penn started to photograph the ISSEY MIYAKE Collection beginning with the Spring-Summer collection of 1987.

ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1987.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Autumn/Winter 1989.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Autumn/Winter 1991.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation

Amazingly, not once in the 13 year period during which Penn photographed his collections, did Miyake visit the studio.
"Miyake followed a self-imposed rule to never be present at a photo sitting. He believed that by staying away, Mr. Penn would have a greater sense of freedom. He entrusted everything to Mr. Penn. It was then decided that I would attend the photo sessions as the stylist."
Similarly, Penn never once attended an ISSEY MIYAKE show. He listened to the descriptions of clothing that Kitamura would then bring to New York. There, he chose the clothes he wanted to photograph.
Kitamura, who knew the clothing intimately, having been present from design to its finished appearance, was placed in a vital position to work with Mr. Penn and translate the clothing through a whole new perspective that would result in a new form. "My job was to show Mr. Penn the possibilities within the clothes and then shape them into that which he wished to capture. Everything was up to me. At first, I was so nervous at these photo sittings that I could barely move."

Composition/Text: Cawaii Factory/Tamaki Harada + Mari Nakayama (Creative editors unit)

Part 1 Director's Profile
Part 2 Details of the Photo Sitting
Part 3 Dialogue Woven through "Sight"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 1 Taku Satoh

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Photographs that Delve into the Essence Up Front

──Please tell us about your connections with Irving Penn photos.

I had seen Irving Penn's photographs here and there, for example, in "The Works of Ikko Tanaka and Issey Miyake", the portrait of Miles Davis, Flowers, and fashion photography, and although every one of these left a lasting memory, they were scattered as separate "dots" in my mind. The first time these dots came together was when establishing 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT during a discussion regarding the types of exhibitions to hold and what kind of themes to feature. It was during this conversation that Issey-san presented me with various documents. This was several years ago.

What I remember most were the photograph of the woman's lips smothered in chocolate and the photograph of bread, salt, and water. When Issey-san showed me those pictures, I was blown away by Mr. Penn's ability to delve into his subjects and the exquisite skill at which he did it.

The chocolate photo is a close-in shot of a woman's lips; a look at this photograph will open your eyes to all of its intrinsic elements. The same can be said for the bread, salt, and water photo. He never shoots from an angle, and instead, he faces his subjects head-on and digs into their essence. It throws various questions to all those who see.

At the time, I was very interested in water and convinced that we could create an exhibition that focused on this very abstract but indispensable element in our daily lives. When looking at Mr. Penn's photos, I am constantly reassured that the things rolling around in our daily lives have in it the possibility to become an exhibition theme if we dig deep enough into their true essence. The experience of learning all this from a single photograph was very exciting.

──You are in charge of graphic design for this exhibition. How does it feel to work with Irving Penn's photographs in your work?

I never thought I would lay out photographs by the great Irving Penn. When Ms. Midori Kitamura, the director of this exhibition asked me to take on the design, the first thought that ran through my head was that Ikko Tanaka is the only person that can add words to Penn's photographs and I also had doubts as to whether I could fulfill such a big role.

The main visual of the flower and Mr. Miyake's clothing in one picture was proposed by Ms. Kitamura. I think this was a very daring challenge only possible by Ms. Kitamura who has worked with Penn and Issey-san over the years. Normally, when handling photographs shot by great masters such as Irving Penn, one would leave the work untouched without any trimming. It would be unthinkable to use a Penn photograph as material to be altered. However, when showing the photos of the flower and clothing in one picture, there was no choice but to add some alterations. Applying work on Penn's photograph, which was one completed piece of work in itself, was a very nerve wrecking experience. But, the honor of such rare opportunity and the chance to focus face-to-face with Penn's photograph, resulted in a visual like none before.

──Lastly, please tell us about your recent work.

A program called "Design-Ah" started on NHK Educational TV starting April and I work on the program together with Yugo Nakamura. The program speaks to children on "what is design" but it has helped us, the creators, also look back and think about its essence.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)


Taku Satoh

Graphic Designer
Graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, majoring in Design, in 1979; completed graduate course at the same university in 1981. Initially joined Dentsu Inc., then established Taku Satoh Design Office in 1984.
He has dealt with package designs for "Lotte' s XYLITOL Gum," and "MEIJI' s Oishii Gyunyu"; graphic designs for "ISSEY MIYAKE PLEATS PLEASE"; logo, signature and furniture designs for "Musashino Art University Museum & library".
His works is wide ranging, such as director of "21_21 DESIGN SIGHT" and involving in planning and art direction of "Nihongo de Asobo (Let's Play in Japanese)" and general direction of "Design Ah" which are TV programs on NHK educational channel.


List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue"

Photo top: Irving Penn. Poppy: Glowing Embers, New York, 1968.
Photo bottom: Flower Pleats (Issey Miyake Design), New York, 1990.
Photographs copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation

Miyake throws silent words to Mr. Penn and Mr. Penn embraces them. The two resonate in superb timing in what is to become communication. This miraculous collaboration will be introduced in the form of an exhibition and I hope that the splendor of this process and that of human creativity will provide inspiration among all those who visit.

Midori Kitamura (Exhibition Director)

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