The Boundary between Kogei and Design

2016.10.8(Sat.) - 2017.3.20(Mon.)



2016.10.8(Sat.) - 2017.3.20(Mon.)
10:00 - 18:00 (until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)


Galleries / 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Galleries 1-6


Mondays (Open on Oct 10, 24, Jan 2, 3, 9, Mar 20), Oct 11, Dec 29 to Jan 1, Jan 10


Adult: ¥1,000 (¥800)
University: ¥800 (¥600)
Elem/ JH/ HS: ¥400 (¥300)
65 and over: ¥800

[Combi Ticket for "Thomas RUFF"]
(December 10, 2016 - March 12, 2017)
Adult: ¥1,700 (¥1,400)
University: ¥1,400 (¥1,100)
Elem/ JH/ HS: ¥700 (¥600)
65 and over: ¥1,400

(Prices in brackets for groups of 20 or more, and pre-exhibition sales)

Advance Tickets:

Ticket PIA (Tel +81-(0)570-02-9999
[Exhibition ticket P code] 767-717
[Combi ticket P code] 767-716)

Lawson Ticket (Tel +81-(0)570-000-777
[Exhibition ticket L code] 56704
[Combi ticket L code] 56971)

Tickets on sales: Until March 20, 2017 (Combination ticket sales until March 12)

For More Information:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Phone: +81-76-220-2800
Facsimile: +81-76-220-2802

Kogei or Design?
Kogei (craft) and design are divided in two distinct categories regardless of that fact that both are monozukuri (the making of things) and, in this sense, the same. We need not look close, however, to see works/products describable as “design-like Kogei” and “Kogei-like design” in the interval between them.
This exhibition will show clearly the ambiguous boundary between Kogei and design by seeing them freshly from the perspectives “Process and Material,” “Hand and Machine,” “Form,” and “Sabi (Change over the Years).” While so doing, it will also consider possibilities on the horizon for Kogei and design, both of which are diversifying with the development of advanced technology.

Related Projects

Related Programs

Lecture: “The Boundary between Kogei and Design”

Lecturer:FUKASAWA Naoto (exhibition planner)
Date/ time:Sunday October 9, 2016 14:00-15:30
Venue:Lecture Hall, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Capacity:80 participants
Application:Applications will be taken on the museum website from 10:00 on Thursday September 15 (first come first serve).
* Event content is subject to change.

Artist Profile

  • Naoto Fukasawa

    Product designer
    1956 Born in Yamanashi prefecture.
    1980 Graduated, Tama Art University’s product design department.
    1989 Moved to the United States and joined the IDEO company.
    1996 Returned to Japan in 1996. Director of, IDEO Tokyo office.
    2003 Established NAOTO FUKASAWA DESIGN.

    Designing shape is to give form to values that people tacitly share and wish for. Naoto Fukasawa visually captures these values and he draws the exact outline of them. His ability for visualising such unseen outlines for things is not easily worded and described, nonetheless, people are convinced with his ability when they experience his design.

    Fukasawa’s notions and expressions to approach essential values of things through design travel beyond borders or domains and his thoughts are well respected internationally. His concept for finding hints in subconscious behaviour of people which he named “Without Thought”, is most known and he runs “Without Thought” workshops to share his thoughts.

    Fukasawa collaborates with world leading companies and brands in such countries as Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Scandinavian countries and Asian countries while consulting Japanese leading companies locally. His area of work is broad and he works with various fields in design beyond categories.Consulting works for Japanese companies are mainly focused on evaluating their cooperate strategies in line with the mean of sociality and how we define quality of life in order to direct the companies towards where society is inevitably heading. Such consulting work extends as far as to visualise design for their products which marks the company’s social responsibilities as well as to visualise their cooperate strategies and Fukasawa‘s work for consulting has led them to many successful results.

Message from the Planner

  • Kogei (craft) and design are different, many people will argue. Yet, when we view both as monozukuri (the making of things), the boundary between them fades. Objects the maker forms by hand we call Kogei, and design is an element of that maker’s process. A designer, in contrast, does not participate in making the object. A work of Kogei is called a “work,” and a work of design, a “product.” Both Kogei and design share the same spirit of creation, yet they are non-interchangeable. Is there a boundary between them? How can we say this is “design” and this is “Kogei”? This exhibition’s aim is to plunge in and deliberately ask questions having no clear answer.

    FUKASAWA Naoto

Content of the Exhibition
(Text: Fukasawa Naoto)

  • Although this exhibition sets out to show clearly the boundary between Kogei and design, that boundary is nevertheless extremely vague. It is difficult to draw a line and say “This is Kogei and this is design.” It may be easier to say “This is 20% Kogei and 80% design.” Still, it will be meaningful to shake up viewers’ perceptions by presenting this ambiguity. As a style of presentation, the exhibition will take a confrontational “Kogei” versus “design” approach.

  • Theme 1 Process and Material

    The material is rooted in the region. From its special character and strengths (materiality) the Kogei artist derives motivation to create and produce form. In all processes, from Kogei to industrial manufacturing, the special character of the material is minutely refined and reflected in the making of things. Common to all processes, whether Kogei and industrial manufacturing, is the jig. These days, however, with the debut of digital production machines (3D printers, laser cutters, CNC milling, etc.), it has become possible to manufacture without a jig.

  • Theme 2 Hand and Machine

    Industrial manufacturing (design) originally began by imitating Kogei. Machines, in other words, sought to imitate handiwork. This endeavor, then, was hugely successful. So much so, the layman was unable to tell the difference. And so much so, people forgot the ways to make things.

  • Theme 3 Form

    In the interval between Kogei and design are “Kogei-like design” and “design-like Kogei.” The begging bowl (oryoki) shows the concept of a module and is an example of “design-like Kogei” seeking a harmony between itself and other designs. “Kogei-like design,” on the other hand, uses a form to manufacture a large volume at one time, and yet, finishes the process with hand-refinement and post-processing. Designer Yanagi Sori too mass-produces Kogei-like forms created by hand. Through careful hand finishing, the work achieves a consummate form.

  • Theme 4 Change over the Years

    With time, the feel and tactile qualities of an object change, and the user living with that change develops affection for the object. Time not only brings physical change to an object, it also seasons the value of its maker or brand. BRAUN products, a synonym for design, were cold in the beginning, but today, they seem warm and awaken our affection. Time, we might say, turns design into Kogei.

  • Theme 5 The Boundary between Kogei and Design

    The Kogei artist works by hand and yet his skill is exceedingly fine and elaborate. Still, the precision of his work cannot match the mathematical accuracy of a precision machine. Printing technology has also become so advanced we no longer can distinguish real wood from fake. High quality wood, it was always thought, is wood without knots, but lately, people deliberately choose wood products displaying knots. Wall paper of finer appearance than the actual material, with added functions such as humidity absorption and desorption, is also pleasing.



Organized by:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Kanazawa Art Promotion and Development Foundation)