Naoto Fukasawa: Without a Thought

Now this guy on the right has to be one or my all time favorite Industrial Designers. Simply because he has been able to successfully combine his unique design philosophy with a very obvious sensitivity to manufacturing constraints. Something a lot of designers these days do not seem to be able to do well.

He is truly, I dare say, a Designer’s Designer.

Dwell magazine has published online an interview conducted in September 2006 with Naoto Fukasawa, probably one of the best known Japanese designers in the world. In it he shares his unique design philosophy, which I sense is a reinterpretation of Dieter Ram’s thinking (someone who Naoto looks up to) and a strong dose Japanese Zen philosophy.

Though the interview is a little old, it more than highlights the fact that his design philosophy is timeless. Check out a few snippets of his thoughts:

Could you tell us more about your “Without Thought” philosophy of design?

People shouldn’t really have to think about an object when they are using it. Not having to think about it makes the relationship between a person and an object run more smoothly. Finding ideas in people’s spontaneous behavior and realizing these ideas in design is what Without Thought is about.

How did you develop this philosophy?

Designers often want to make something special, something that really grabs people’s attention. But I realized that when we actually use these products, whether or not they are special is not that important. So I decided it would be a good idea to look at people’s subconscious behavior instead—or, as I call this principle, “design dissolving in behavior.” I realized then that design has to achieve an object “without thought.”

Check out the full interview and Images via: Dwell Magazine Online

Brian Ling

Brian is the Founder and Design Director at Design Sojourn, a Design Led Innovation Consultancy. He is a multi-award winning design leader, and specialises in strategic design and innovation programs that drive successful organisations. Brian’s 20-year career in design, driven through a deep understanding of human behavior, spans over multiple domains such as consumer electronics, government, healthcare, non-profit agencies, hospitality, F&B, retail, online solutions and best in class service experiences.

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3 Comments on "Naoto Fukasawa: Without a Thought"

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[…] be seen almost synonymously to problem solving. When the topic of design comes up it reminds me of this article and the comment of “design dissolving in behavior.” It’s a really lovely concept […]


Heard of him before from a Designer’s friend who adores him very much and can’t stop saying anything about him..

Jim Rait

I like his designs too… he exemplifies the quest for simplicity… as to being a designer’s designer… better to be a consumer’s designer! I put Naoto into the same category as Jonathan Ive…read this [www_tate_org_uk]
and this [www_independent_co_uk]
if you are interested.

>> Jim Rait last wrote: Underarm balling


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