Curiosity Japan: Studio by French Designer Gwenael Nicolas – CURIOSITY is a multidisciplinary studio based in Tokyo, created by French designer Gwenael Nicolas. The studio is constantly redefining the boundary of design, from interior design to architecture and product design. Not in an abstract way but realistically by collaborating with a large spectrum of companies and clients, to create new products, develop new materials and define new design identities.
According to Curiosity Japan, being a designer is like living in a time machine, always living in the future. The present and past are the inspiration, but the mind is projecting itself into a different dimension. It’s like a parallel world, where everything can be imagined and created.
“Design is not a monolithic activity but multi-task changing everyday. I feel I am doing a different job everyday, my work is about having an opinion about every subject and share that idea to achieve an effective result.”
The characteristics of curiosity design are translucency, emotional coloring, and attractive forms. The architectural and interior project especially hospitality projects like hotels are so complex, as they touch every aspect of life – from the color of the lighting to the colors of a flower, the sound of a sliding door, the taste of a coffee, for them, everything matters!
Curiosity Japan explains that everyday is a challenge and it’s important to create something that is relevant, that will surprise and inspire people. It is a constant search for new ideas, with an understanding of the context in which they create – social, economic, cultural.
The way they develop projects is through continuous research and development of subjects and matters they have interest in. Sometimes it takes a month or even years. According to Curiosity Design, they developed materials with companies a few years ago and the result only comes a few weeks ago!
The design originates from a storyboard with people as the central focus, then he incorporates an element of discovery and unpredictability in the design. Each project design is like a perfume with the first, the second and the third note. At first, the design seems cool and abstract, but when you interact with it, “surprise” something unexpected happens, a smile appears on your lips and finally the more you use it the more you feel attached to it. According to Curiosity Japan, their clients are usually individuals that have a clear image of what they want, with a strong understanding of their world but, they also want to be surprised!
Curiosity Japan feels lucky to have crossed the world to live and work in a new country with a new different experience. Japan opened itself and revealed its secret and became a great source of inspiration. In a way escaping from their own culture to find freedom, and freedom is the most important thing for a creator. Freedom from preconceived ideas, freedom from culture and the burden of the past, it also means respect and trust from people you work with and for, they think this is a great achievement.
When it comes to feeling really fulfilled professionally, Curiosity Design says that they are indeed fulfilled and it’s exciting to think in the morning what you are going to learn in this new day and who you are going to meet. For them, this is the essence of design to share your passion with someone to achieve something great, learning gives you confidence about your ideas and conceptuality, the relevance of the idea.
“The design world is stretched between fast history and slow history. We create very unique, fast to consume ideas and design, with the intend to create instant fame and trend, ready to move onto the next in a few days. On the other side, brands create long term identity, which is the most challenging, because you actually have to decide on the right timeless. Japan’s culture has always been actually based on a two-speed culture and it is interesting to see how it becomes mainstream. the question is not if old or new is better, but how the tension and dialogue between both is necessary.”
When it comes to the future of design, Curiosity Japan believes that one thing which is the most important will not change: the human being! So instead of just complaining about everything that is happening, they say that we need to stay positive and have a pro-active approach.
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