Isao Hosoe and Philosophy of Design

Talking about Japanese Design, I should also mention that Isao Hosoe was one of the attending speakers. Although Isao Hosoe is Japanese, he has been living and working in Milan for more than 40 years. Today we can see designers from every nation in major design studios but we can easily say that Isao Hosoe Design represents the serenity and the simplicity of the Japanese culture in all its works.

Isao Hosoe Design produces objects that are definitely functional, not exaggerated or far-fetched and simple. The reasons for this are primarily the effect of the Japanese culture and latterly, the fact that Isao Hosoe is a designer whose origin is engineering.

Isao Hosoe’s speech had 9 major sections. The first title was Design born from the sun and the last one was also about the sun; Sole. The meaning of the word Japan (Nippon) is the source of the sun. Isao began his speech by talking about the cultural elements of his country that is the source of the sun. First, he talked about the art of yoyoi pottery.

I must admit it was hard to catch up with what Hosoe was saying but his talent of combining the main themes and his designs were amazing!

Here are the main headings of Isao’s speech:
Bricoleur (Bricolage, term used to describe the kind of work that is formed by the gathering of things easy to find.)
False dimension
Tantra (In Sanskrit, Tantra means weaving, knitting and broadening and it is a specific yoga philosophy.)

For example, under the title“Bricolage”, he talked about Tama lamp. He combined False Dimension with the Pendant Light which he designed for Luxid; a lamp that opens its wings as it heats up. He said Tantra was a part of Buddhism and for design it is a revolution. He mentioned the office dividing panels named Snake that he designed inspired by the Tantra philosophy. In the heading Surprise, he spoke of a certain understanding of humor and surprising people. He said:“When I learned that your country had a personality such as Nasreddin Hodja, I believed that he was a part of this country’s high design culture. If you destroy the Hojda, you may as well destroy all the possibilities of future creativity.” He then showed the cookie container named Mamma. He said half of that design was Sophia Lauren and the other was the cookie container.


Pendant Light, designed in 1996 for Luxid. A lighting tool that takes wings as it heats up.
Hosoe’s company which has designed many objects from industrial machines to home storing containers won the Good Design Award in 2006 with its design of a ceramic oven. Today, they are co-operating with Kale Seramik in Turkey.
For the ones who wish to know more on Isao’s designs:

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