▶Kenji Ekuan▶Kozo Yamada


Kenji Ekuan

GK Design Group Chairman

Kenji Ekuan

Marking of the Sixtieth Anniversary of GK Design Group

GK’s sixtieth anniversary should be the accumulation of fundamental knowledge for reaching the 100th anniversary to come. However, the accumulated knowledge may not be conveyed to other persons without the idea we can confidently offer to people. The idea can not be created over night, yet it is almost certain that the 60 years history to date is to be relied on for it after all.

Though simply putting it as 60 years, it has been a long way, and in the course, the nature of GK Group has been developing on its own. The reason of GK members’ high solidarity might lie in the firm’s comprehensive business operations. It also can be asserted that GK has striven and been after deeper meaning of respective professional spectrums on the other hand. It must be an inevitable consequence of history. However at the 60th anniversary, what we have to think about again by breaking the consequence of that course is seeking a new way of cooperation and further having worldwide views. What we will need at that moment will be an approach of thoughts beyond mere profession, and to obtain more firm coordination. For building the approach, GK will have to utilize knowledge and experience nurtured in the past 60 years, hopefully more GK will have to lead the field with the bond derived from the coordination in which GK will be involved. Through the course, we should not stay in the mindset like "a frog in a well knows nothing of the great ocean."

Fortunately the era design was called for in Japan, in which GK had its dawn, was also the era design itself was welcomed in society with great affinity. With that ethos, people’s sense of possession of things to that date drastically changed. It was the beginning of the age of "democratization of material things and beauty." However now by all means, indulging in the sense of possession prevailed at that age should be avoided, and for that we will need quite serious courage and study.

100th anniversary is the very goal, which energizes us to have an immediate and clear objective now having experienced the 60 years, and it must be exactly the way forging GK. At the 60th anniversary of GK, I am wishing so.

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Kenji Ekuan Profile


Kozo Yamada

GK Design Group Inc. President

Kozo Yamada

GK Design Group as a Value Creating Industry

In 1952, GK Design Group was established by young design students of then Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Their firm intention of reconstruction and development of life, in the nation devastated by the war, led them to focus on "industrial design." So the group was born with the name Group of Koike capitalized as "GK" after Mr. Iwataro Koike, late associate professor of the university, who understood and encouraged their advocacy. GK had started its way by strongly committing themselves to Industrial Design aiming at "democratization of beauty" and "democratization of material things."

For 60 years since then, the group has been widening its professional spectrums through diverse design activities along with the post war development of Japan. The development has led the group having a network of 11 offices all told not only in Japan but also in US, the Netherlands and China. The professional realms covered by the firm, have come to the range of architectural and urban environmental design, communication design and to the extent of research and planning, have brought it as a creative and comprehensive entity. The history of the firm is the result of GK’s policy always trying to propose a new concept of value to society, structuring and deepening of thought on design through research not only doing design as a business. In the background of the history, GK’s own philosophy of "Dougu Theory," the argument on the relation of life and man-made things has been deeply involved.

When grabbed a tool several hundred of thousand years ago, we humans started creating our history. "Dougu" has evolved with repeated technological development as an indispensable existence for humans to fight against enemies and to protect and enjoy lives. Along with that evolution forward, "Dougu" has been yielding a new realm of human activities working on ranging from a simple machine to complex equipment, from buildings to cities. As a result, the usability of "Dougu" has come to be argued from the view of economy and society. "Dougu Theory" sees these implements as "material things embodying human minds and intentions."

As humans and other creatures are equally living on the earth, Dougu is also living with humans equally on the earth. In sum, GK has taken note of that to think of the reason for existence of Dougu is synonymous with to think of human ways of living. In the twentieth century, design was able to have amazing achievements in the role of leading economic growth. However, in the course of the achievements, many side effects have come up, and adverse issues now the world facing in common have emerged. While ever developing science and technologies have been changing the life of present society in dire impetus, a new breed of Dougu is now accelerating its speed to compose more convenient and secure society equipped with advanced data processing technology. It may come true that we may find ourselves in the world where things and space are integrated and there is no reality. In facing such current world, what should design commit itself to?

Design has its nonnegotiable fundamental posture that "think of function through approach of beauty." It must be design’s role that the more material things and society go advance and become complex, the more making an invisible thing visible and making a complex thing simple. We believe that design has its origin in probing "the starting line of material things," aiming to "be natural in its process" and at the end "practicing beautiful things." By looking into the edge of times changing moment by moment, always from world wide views, we GK Group would like to find the answer for such a quest focusing on the human mind, reason for our existence and real meaning of affluence.

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Kozo Yamada Profile