Fukasawa’s Juice Skin: delightfully honest

Flavourful juice box packaging that goes back to its origins. What more could be said?

It’s a Friday night and you’re at your friend’s birthday celebration. His family and friends are there and everyone is drinking a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. You’re on your third beer of the night. After putting your drink down for a moment, you walk back over to the table and pick it up. You raise the cup, let the golden liquid touch your lips and fall onto your tongue. You notice something is instantly wrong. The beer has become harsh and tangy, as if it has fermented into wine. Soon follows a sudden sweetness and fruitiness, and now it’s completely flat. Turns out it was Amy’s apple juice.

Juice Skin makes perfect sense; fruit juice packaged in lookalike textures. What more could be said? Herein lies the genius of Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa’s work. It’s been said that the proof is in the peel, and that’s spot on. Beyond any subtle metaphoric poetry and pure delight that comes from viewing these delicious juice boxes, Juice Skin is marketing genius. Something so simply obvious is beautiful to the eyes and mind. The power of colour on the store shelves is (unfortunately) right before our eyes with a thousand items screaming for our attention, but if Fukasawa’s work made it to aisle 3 in Woolworths, he has a secret weapon: texture. It in his work doesn’t just stimulate the tactile sensors, but it reacts differently to receiving and bouncing light, and that could make all the difference. The “impossible geometry” of the set also allures in its challenge of traditionally organic shapes.

Naoto Fukasawa's Juice Skin - http://beachpackagingdesign.com/boxvox/naoto-fukasawa-juicepeel-revisited
Naoto Fukasawa’s Juice Skin – http://beachpackagingdesign.com/boxvox/naoto-fukasawa-juicepeel-revisited

Juice Skin is one of those “ah, I get it” designs, and this can make things seem elementary, but it’s quite the contrary. The product ideas can make one think about how we approach consuming food and drink and the differences between the known and unknown. If you hold Fukasawa’s banana box, without thought you’ll be expecting a banana flavour, in the way that you expected your drink to be beer. If the banana box was in fact strawberry, you can only imagine what the experience would be like. A pre-determined conditioning would set off sirens. This playing on a pre-determined conditioning is what is subtly genius. Fukasawa prepares your taste at just sight and touch, much like the aesthetic of Leibal’s Dish 60 and the instant perception of weight without having ever lifting it. Reversing this effect is to touch snake skin. Without having ever done it before, the certainty that it will be slimy throws the brain into a spin when you first make contact with the reptile’s surface.

Dish 60 by Leibal. What do you feel from this? http://store.leibal.com/products/dish-60-black-nickel
Dish 60 by Leibal. What do you feel from this? http://store.leibal.com/products/dish-60-black-nickel

Naoto Fukasawa’s juice box set exists as a part of the Haptic exhibition at the Tokyo Paper Show 2004. Haptic responses generate feedback, and in this case, such feedback has the purpose of modifying the drinking experience. Shigeru Ban’s square toilet paper provides feedback through haptic response. In this case, the feedback is resistance for the purpose of reducing consumption. Two completely different outcomes can still interplay and define each other. Such physical and tactile responses can only exist through materials and textures, and Fukasawa’s design is the embodiment of such affects.

Shigeru Ban’s square toilet paper - http://www.designboom.com/design/kenya-hara-designing-design/
Shigeru Ban’s square toilet paper – http://www.designboom.com/design/kenya-hara-designing-design/

The delightful appearance and playfulness of such an idea is infinitely attractive and entertaining. Naoto has married taste and aesthetics via sensory pre-conditioning and produced a set of honest juice boxes.