Without a Thought

“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.”

Naoto Fukasawa is a Japanese industrial designer that is convinced that a designer should design to serve lacking necessity. That he or she should seek to craft a better relation between objects and people rather than just create one object after another endlessly. Since 1980, Fukasawa has created hundreds of designs ranging from wristwatches, coffeemakers, armchairs, mobile phones to packaging, adhering to this elaborate principle through much of his revered designs. The prolific talent has worked in collaboration with many emblematic brands as Thonet, B&B Italia, Artek, Maruni, Majis and Muji. More than 50 prestigious design awards are given to him.

Apart from designing the necessity, Fukasawa also has a firm belief that people should not have to think about an object at all when they are using it. A good design should blend seamlessly with its surrounding and let the user discover its function instinctively. The Japanese designer calls this design philosophy “Without Thought.”

To explain this he says, “is that people think that design is something that appeals to their emotions, but in fact people are linked to things every day in their environments, unconsciously, without even being aware of it.This ‘unthinking’ state makes actions smooth. Whereas, if we think closely about what we’re doing, our actions become awkward or wooden. Designs that make us feel this kind of simplicity don’t stand out, but entwine with people’s actions and with the environment, too.”

A classic epitome of this idea is the Juice Skin packaging, designed in 2004 for the Haptic Exhibition at the Takeo Paper show. The exhibition focused on the sense of touch, making observations on our everyday surroundings. For this exhibition Fukasawa designed and created 6 different juice packages: kiwi fruit, soybean milk, banana, strawberry, peach & green apple. Each packaging mimicking its true natural form and texture through complex manufacturing processes in order to achieve a high level of detail.

Juice Skin Packaging, 2004

Through this simple and unique packaging, consumers can immediately grasp the concept behind this design and its content. This product perfectly elaborates Fukasawa’s principle by embodying an obvious and clear metaphor, by encasing the product with its natural and original “skin”, by doing this it draws consumers attention. Nostalgia plays a major role within this design, by experimenting with the natural skins of these fruits, it provides a notion that these juice boxes are completely natural and beneficial for out health this accompanied with the similar textures such as the furriness of the kiwi fruit and the smoothness of the apples and bananas further enhances our senses.

Kiwi Fruit, 2004

Fukasawa’s principle is further iterated within his renowned wall-mounted CD player created for MUJI. His inspiration started with a recollection of kitchen fan with which everyone should be familiar. Once the power string of the CD player is being pulled down, the CD will start to spin around like fan’s blades and music will drift out of it. Since people know how a kitchen fan operates, there is no need for us to study the manual intensively before we can actually enjoy it. From this, Fukasawa is able to introduce a newer product through the old sensation yielded by the object people already know about.

MUJI CD Player

Fukasawa’s products stand distinct from others’ because his focus is not to incite a reaction but rather puts emphasis on creating products and objects for the betterment of the relationship between object and consumer.