Dai Fujiwara: The Road of My Cyber Physical Hands

Feature Story

The Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) (Lee Wai Lee) present designer Dai Fujiwara's first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Titled "Dai Fujiwara The Road of My Cyber Physical Hands", the exhibition brings visitors on a journey into the renowned Japanese designer's decades-long creative career.

A Tama Art graduate, former vice president of the Miyake Design Studio, and recently served as director of the MUJI to GO project, Fujiwara's work continues to transcend creative borders. From textiles to product design, his highly impressive body of work comprises innovative multidisciplinary projects for prominent international brands, as well as for various educational organisations and communities.
The recurring concept of "hands" navigates audience through the entire exhibition. Curated by Fujiwara himself, the viewing experience starts out with the designer's early design practice of creating objects by hand, then gradually expands into design engineering. Audience can experience Fujiwara's fascination with human hands as well as his continuous research and exploration of the "future hands": technology. "The exhibition title envisions our future, the fusion of cyber and physical. The two intermingles in our daily lives and create a new lifestyle." says Fujiwara, "I wanted to know what would exist and what wouldn't change over the next century or two."

The exhibition includes three distinctive sections, with a total of 34 exhibited pieces and multimedia elements, all drawn from Fujiwara's dynamic projects in a wide range of genres over the years. The first area of the exhibition puts 24 of Fujiwara's past and recent works together, forming a conversation between the present and the future. It allows visitors to view the designer's earliest works as a student and his most recent, never-before-seen creations side by side. Also on view in this section are some of Fujiwara's most iconic works, including "Poincaré Odyssey".

The second section of the exhibition focuses on Fujiwara's exquisite design methods and unique perspectives. It captures Fujiwara's creative journey through different realms, from nature and technology, to design, art, community and society. Here, visitors find the designer's "colour-hunting" projects, where design adopts colours derived from real life scenarios found in nature and cities. The exhibition includes "Skin Color Glasses" and "Baby Skin Earphones", in which the designer created eyeglasses and earphones with colours sampled from adults' and babies' skin colours. "Enoshima Electric Railways, Information Train" presents a moving installation illustrating how colours hunted from coutless leaves in Enoshima came together and were made into a stripe pattern of 17 colours worn by the local tram.
The third and final section of the exhibition unveils Fujiwara's most recent works that brought creativity in cyberspace into reality. In his "Garbage Turned Yarn – Grassland Sweater, Urban Sweater" collection, instead of traditional handmade garments, Fujiwara breathed new life into garbage using a handheld vacuum cleaner as his new pair of hand. He gathered animal hair in Magnolia and debirs from the streets of New York and Tokyo, and spun them into yarn which in turn became eight sweaters. Fujiwara also employs drones as an extension of the hands in the creations of the namesake "Cyber Physical Hands". Fujiwara controls programmed drones with his brainwave to apply mediums onto fabric, demonstrating the future design trend of incorporating technology.

"We are honoured to have Dai Fujiwara to present his first solo exhibition inHong Kong at HKDI," says Dr Lay Lian ONG, Principal of HKDI and IVE (Lee Wai Lee), "We hope that this exhibition will offer students and the public a rare opportunity to appreciate Mr. Fujiwara's creative journey through his inspiringly diverse projects and will provide plenty of food for thought on the limitless application of design thinking in multidisciplinary design fields."
Closing the exhibition is an inspiring video interview of the designer himself, where he recounts his own journey through different realms of design, and his quest to blur the boundaries between the past, present and future. At a time when the world continues to face mounting challenges, Fujiwara aims to bring forth unique perspectives and values through the exhibition despite difficulties, at a scale as limitless as the sky.