Department of Product and Textile Design Product Design Course
Achieving harmony between humanity and technology
The scope of product design is enormous, ranging from such items as the simple light switch to the most sophisticated airplane. It is the job of the product designer to give form to the manufactured objects that enhance our daily lives.
In Japan, as in other developed countries around the world, our lives have become increasingly convenient and affluent. However, questions of welfare, medical care, and psychological issues are all objects of concern. The Product Design Course aims to strike a balance between materialistic and spiritual philosophies. In our view, the process of product design, from the initial concept to the final manufacturing stage, should be based on the notion of harmonizing scientific technology with human nature, and the enjoyment of actually designing a product should always be grounded in a close study of the demands of daily life.
The course expects students to show a spirit of inquiry and belief in their own potential. The curriculum is designed to develop the students' inherent abilities, and at the same time help them to broaden their horizons. One of the most important features of the curriculum is the high number of design projects involving cooperative research with industry, government agencies, and other educational institutions. In the first and second years, students learn basic design skills and develop a general understanding of design, developing original approaches to visual expression. Students are encouraged to view their projects objectively in terms of functionality and aesthetic value. In the third and fourth years, training in applied design techniques aims to extend the proficiency acquired during basic training. This leads students toward greater competence in their work. A distinctive feature of the special curriculum is a team system, in which students receive individual instruction from groups of faculty members who are leading professional designers. This educational environment is based on the personnel structure found in the corporate product design field, and thus provides excellent preparation for a career as a product designer.
Educational field (product design)
Product design includes the design of myriad objects in contemporary life, such as shoes, stationery, toys, tableware, furniture, household appliances, cars, robots, and space rockets.
Introductory education (learning design originality)
- Students clarify their study theme and learning goals by selecting a design area of special interest.
- Students receive basic training in forming objects using various materials.
- By working in groups, students learn how to achieve an objective through exchanging ideas.
- After copying product designs to gain a deeper understanding of the products, students create their own original design. (Design Process 1)
- Study of the entire product design process. (Design Process 2)
Basic curriculum (gaining an objective view)
- By making working models, students examine the meaning and significance of their designs.
- Students learn how to assess the aesthetic value of a design from many angles, taking into consideration such features as form and function.
- Students learn how to gauge the usefulness of a product by assessing users' opinions.
- By focusing on one field from the extensive field of product design, students define their study objectives.
Special curriculum (practicing design skills and establishing identity)
- Students learn the meaning of originality by creating designs in a variety of product fields.
- The curriculum emphasizes the importance of contributing to society by giving students location- and user- specific design projects.
- The curriculum encourages students to participate in joint projects with industry to understand the role of design in society.
- Students deepen their understanding of design by working on a number of designs simultaneously.
Graduate school (developing design practice and theory)
- Students work toward an understanding of the essential meanings of objects.
- Students work toward an understanding of the essential value of making objects.
BIOTOPE (Bench created to reflect the fascinating natural world)
Based on research in design reflecting the magical factors of nature, the bench was produced to awaken people to Mother Nature.
Flow (Dry mist installation driven by sunbeams)
formed polyurethane, steel pipe, polyethylene terephthalate plate, others
This installation, powered by photovoltaic generation, takes the heat out of the open air by spraying minute dry mist.
Sakurai Yoshihiko, Sato Tomoaki, Shigeura Tomohiro, Nakamichi Daisuke
Cooperative research project titled “universal design and robots” with Toshiba Research and Development Center
plastic, wood, 53×38×38cm (Robot), 1.5×24×33cm (Tray),
9.7×24×33cm (Tray), 39.8×24×33cm (Tray), 240×180×180cm (Shelf)
Under the theme that robots with a universal design could take on household work, Toshiba released “ApriAlpha” in 2003 as a concept model of a home electrical appliance with built-in robotic technologies.
We investigated its possibilities and many uses.
Research for applying aesthetic factors to design
polyethylene sheet, 55cm
Under this theme, a lighting fixture is created by exploiting the penetrating nature of light.
A dodecahedral lampshade made of twelve pentagonal pieces allows light to shine through its cuts.