International Design Festival 2011 (Buenos Aires) Report

October 31, 2011

International Design Festival 2011 (Buenos Aires) Report

I was offered the opportunity to deliver a presentation at the international design conference held in Buenos Aires on October 28th and 29th, 2011. This sixth annual conference was part of the three-day-long International Design Festival. With the theme, “New Scenarios for Design”, we explored how design would construct new scenarios for a new society, taking various aspects into account in our perspective, including technology, community, economy and culture. Over the course of the conference, delegates from around the world demonstrated 14 practical examples.I was the sole presenter from Asia. The first half of my presentation focused on the Nagoya souvenir projects, Mei-Butsu and Nagoya Project 8, while in the second half I introduced my work as a product designer. As one of the key phrases for the conference was “Design for local revitalization”, I had expected that the Mei-Butsu and Nagoya Project 8, examples of that very phrase, would pique the audience’s interest. However, it seemed that the local designers were more interested in The Globalization of Corporations and Design, my story of Yamaha, where I worked as an in-house designer. To be honest, I had mixed feelings towards this response. But in light of the fact that it wasn’t very long ago that we Japanese finally began moving away from this perspective as we became aware of the significance of parallel development of regional design, this may have been a natural reaction from the audience.
When I finally set foot in Buenos Aires, I was impressed by the keen ambition and upward mobility I sensed in both the urban environment and the people. Buenos Aires was named a UNESCO Creative City of Design in 2005, earlier than Nagoya. Since the accreditation, the city has been proactive in design; however, I myself had never experienced the powerful emergence of cities like Buenos Aires, in ascendance around the world. In fact, the city’s local designers, including design students, are highly competent and many Argentinians have already become internationally active. Many with careers in prime international design firms, including a designer for the US firm IDEO and a researcher at Seymourpowell, came back to present at this conference. Argentina is a vast country whose primary industry is stockbreeding, but I gathered that the focus for the future is an earnest search for practical ways to nurture design as an intellectual value. Each one of the Argentinian designers with whom I interacted had a very high opinion of Japan’s design and architecture worlds. I recognized once again that if we are to continue to enjoy this acclaim, while keeping a sharp eye on the rest of the world we Japanese have to clarify what we need to do now and examine the social value of design from a broad range of perspectives.

Takashi Honda



Takashi Honda

Product Designer
Design Studio CRAC / Me-Butsu

Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1968. After graduating from the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music in 1991, he worked at YAMAHA Product Design Laboratory. In 2000, he established Design Studio CRAC. By gaining insights into the lives of people and social backgrounds that change with time and by focusing on constructing an accurate hypothesis, he aims to produce a prototype design that serves as a guideline. In addition, he is also involved in product designing and brand-building in collaboration with local industries. He is a part-time professor of Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and active in a collegium known as Katachi-ken. He has won the Grand Prize in the International Design Competition '98 KAINAN, was a runner-up in Design 21 [ CHIC CHINOIS ], and 9 of his works were selected for the Good Design Award from 1998-2008.

Design Studio CRAC

(We sent him as a lecturer to International Design Festival 2011 in Buenos Aires.)

Date:Friday, 28 - Sunday, 30 October, 2011

Metropolitan Design Center (CMD)

Organizer:Metropolitan Design Center (CMD)