Perspectives vol.1

Bringing Relaxation into "Idealized" Ways of Working and Living

In Perspectives, we visit a person with a different profession to encounter a wide variety of thought to acquire new perspectives, and through the engagement challenge to visualize the learnings.

For this article, Sumii, our Chief Art Director, went to visit Kenta Nakamura, CEO of Shigotohito Inc. that operates the job search website "shigoto100". Nakamura spotlights various workstyles and connects people and jobs, while practicing a free workstyle himself. Inspired by Nakamura's statement "a style of working is also a style of living," the five types of cutlery introduced here were designed.

Bringing Relaxation into Formality

I believe that the fundamental of design work is typically the enrichment of life, such as solving problems and proposing better solutions to challenges. When I talked with Nakamura about workstyles, he mentioned that "a problem with current workstyles is excessive formality due to idealized routines." I agreed with his opinion, in which increased freedom may allow us to better enjoy working and living.

I was also struck by his words, "work like you live." The café that Nakamura operates on the first floor of his office is an essential element of life. We can't work if we don't eat. An image of cutlery came into my mind, when I thought about an object that is essential for living and also enhances people's creativity.

Cutlery that Enhances the Joy of Eating

Cutlery evolved as a result of accumulated history, cultures, and customs. There are certain associated rules and manners, including the proper placement. I wondered if eating might become more enjoyable without such rules. After learning from Nakamura's words about "formality due to routines" and by reconsidering the tools used for eating, I designed cutlery resembling the shape of a hand, as I thought there was room for a new creation.

When reviewing the casual everyday act of eating, using the hands for transferring food to the mouth is the most simple and natural way. Little children, as well as adults in certain regions, actually eat in that way.. The theme of the design was a tool for enjoying eating regardless of the user's race or age, by making the act of eating more relaxed. My conversation with Nakamura made me realize afresh the importance of free ideas, unconstrained by fixed and idealized rules.

Special menus of café Today, operated by Shigotohito Inc. (CEO Kenta Nakamura), are made to match the cutlery. Orange and uncured ham salad in the middle. Clockwise from the right side: white miso gratin with potato and mushroom, squash soup with soymilk, two types of pickled tomatoes in Japanese-style stock, and baguette. Strawberry clafouti in the back.

What's Common is the Process of Searching to Resolve Problems

The job search business appears to be far from a creative business. However, Nakamura's "shigoto100" is an unprecedented job search website, in which the job descriptions are made by actually visiting the client companies and listening to their workers' voices. This idea is similar to my design process. Creative perspectives and thinking are not only utilized for designs, but also integrated into various areas, further expanding the world.

In our conversation, Nakamura said, "in order to understand the fundamentals of a company, I search for its root." When his company gets a request for human resources from a client, it first listens to the client, and consequently proposes that "Your company may need such staff as this." This is exactly the same as my design process. For instance, there are cases when I get a request for a "new design.". I would throw off the limitation of "new" for the time being, and start designing by searching for what the problem is, to find what is truly desired. I believe that the fundamental of design is the spontaneous renewal of expression as a result of problem solving.

Kenta Nakamura
CEO of Shigotohito Inc. was born in Tokyo in 1979, and graduated from the Architecture Major, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Meiji University. After working for a real estate company until 2008, he opened the job search website Tokyo shigotohito (renamed shigoto 100 in 2012). He has also run Little Tokyo, a place for people to encounter different lifestyles and workstyles, since 2013.
Tetsu Sumii
Chief Art Director of Studio 2 at Creative Center, Sony Corporation.

Composition by Design Magazine AXIS

Text by Junya Hirokawa