Design Parade 8

Design Parade 8 Preview: Mugi Yamamoto


19 June 2013

Each year, 10 young designers travel to Villa Noailles in Hyères, France for Design Parade, a festival of design where their work is placed in competition for the Parade's grand prix. Here, we preview the work of the this year's competition's fifth finalist, the Swiss-Japanese designer Mugi Yamamoto.

Taking place in July, each designer will exhibit two projects for judging by established figures such as Bertjan Pot, Nipa Doshi, Max Lamb and Rolf Hay. To celebrate this year's festival, Design Parade 8, we are previewing the work of its 10 competing designers, publishing two previews a week up until the exhibition's opening on 5 July.

Yamamoto was born in Tokyo in 1988, and moved to Ebikon in German-speaking Switzerland at the age of 6. Upon completing his high school diploma, he moved to Lausanne to attend a foundation year at ECAL. He is currently finishing his bachelor in Industrial Design at the same school; it has included an exchange semester at the department of Industrial Design at the National University of Singapore.

Yamamoto will present two projects, Gravity and Bio Composite, at Design Parade 8 at Villa Noailles, both developed as part of his degree. Gravity is a witty LED luminaire that can be assembled nearly entirely from ready-made items: a battery, a balloon, two cables. “It’s a party lamp, not meant to be permanent. You can arrange it yourself for your own party,” says Yamamoto.

With its pared-down elements Gravity also explores dual functions. “The battery is an energy source and an anchor for the balloon, the cables transmit energy and connect to the balloon, and the balloon is the lampshade and the container for helium. I enjoy this double function of each component,” says Yamamoto.

An anecdote sparked the idea for Yamamoto’s second project, Bio Composite. “My friend told me he was moving, and said he would throw away all his furniture and buy new furniture at the new place. It annoyed be a bit. I thought there must be a better way,” explains Yamamoto.

The project consists of a small environment, complete with floor tiles, a table, stools, pots, and a lamp, created entirely out of a 100% biodegradable material produced by Yamamoto using soil, an apposite response to throwaway consumerism. “I’d like to solve small problems, like every designer,” says Yamamoto. “But it’s my dream to one day help to solve ecological and social problems through design.”

“I wanted a material that would be really recyclable. So I made a mix of earth from my garden, and started mixing many different ingredients that were all biodegradable. I made 55 different test bricks, some with animal hair, wood fibre, different kinds of sand. I pressed these blocks with jute fabric on both sides, which made them very strong,” says Yamamoto. It is this material, pressed with jute hessian on both sides, that Yamamoto used for the furniture and tiles in the final project.

In the Villa Noailles, Gravity and Bio Composite will be presented in a darkened room, as both projects contain light sources.