Naoto Fukasawa: I know what you want.

You know how you can be browsing Amazon for hours and not find anything you like, and then you go to your “recommended” section that Amazon’s AI has picked out just for you and you’re just like “that is exactly what I was looking for!” Even though you weren’t even looking for anything? I know it’s happened to you. Don’t lie to me. Sometimes Google even recommends things I’ve had on my mind for a while (and haven’t told a living soul about). Creepy? Yeah. Useful? Also yeah. But I’m getting sidetracked. We are in the age where we need to apply Charles Eames philosophy: the role of the designer is that of a very good thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests. If you want to succeed in today’s world of interior and exterior design, you have to be like Amazon’s or Google’s AI. You have to know what somebody wants even if they don’t want anything.

“Design means observing objectively,” says Naoto Fukusawa, the Japanese industrial designer. He’s had plenty of experience as in-house designer, consultant on processes and design strategies, and as independent designer pretty much all over the world. All of these experiences he has managed to condense into a single sort of improvised and autonomous movement. The point about knowing what people want without them necessarily knowing stems precisely from his teachings and his ideas. He has managed to completely detach the individual from the person while designing new ideas or inventions. “What…?” you might be asking perfectly understandably. Well, he explains it as taking the mind out and focusing solely on the human being as a natural body. And, of course, he has a point. People are extremely similar when you factor out the minds and individual characteristics, so saying it simplifies your target might be the understatement of the year. This way you can design for one human and have most humans interact with said design instead of producing something for an individual. Human beings are highly susceptible to suggestion. But, why? In my opinion, this is simply because we are limited to and dependent on our basic perception of the world through our senses. Regardless of the reason, by understanding what humans need (using Fukasawa’s technique), you can come up with a product or idea, suggest to an individual that they may want or need it, and will likely agree.


“You need to understand what you feel good and what you feel bad. Always ask the questions ‘what makes peoples’ lives better?’, ‘what makes our quality of life better?'” Answer both of Fukusawa’s questions and you’ll be well on your way to knowing what people will want.


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