New Year's Greetings from Loftwork
Happy new year and thank you in advance for your continued support of Loftwork this year.
Our management members would like to take this opportunity to send your their greetings and explain their aspirations for 2022.
From Mitsuhiro Suwa, President and CEO
In 2021, we worked on a project called “crQlr” (https://crqlr.com), a community and global award for circular design. Over 200 works from 24 countries around the world were collected and judged by an international 19-person judging team.
Do you think this is showing off? No, not in the least.
I was someone who was inclined to take part in so-called “environmental activities”. When solar power began to be talked about, I thought, “In Japan? That’s silly,” and, in fact, in recent years, solar power has caused environmental damage to mountains and water resources. It is just symbolic, like the problems with straws and plastic bags, rather than scientific or rational… I thought it would be much better to move toward nuclear power (and I still think this). I mean, we still eat whales, you know.
In this frame of mind, seeing the projects gathered at the Circular Awards, I feel their insights. The changing future of the world, in short, the feelings of Generation Z as well as the generations before and after it. The perspective/scale/values through which they see the world. And, oh, that’s right, my rational approach is an economically rational approach, and this capitalist perspective is a bit off in the first place.
Loftwork is not good at “selling more” or “making products more expensive.” How can we create the perspective for the future that we want?
My amazing senior, IDEO, has created a released a framework for circular design called the “Circular Design Guide.” It is a beautifully completed production.
Our approach is to create a “community to think and implement together” with over 200 creators around the world and 19 people that have a perspective for the future.
We always believe that the answer lies “outside” of us. This is why we have to value openness and humility. How can we reach that future?
I hope that the world will get to meet again this year, in 2022.
From Co-founder and Chairperson Chiaki Hayashi
A happy new year to everyone.
Loftwork was created in 2000, so this is its 22nd anniversary. At the time, I had just returned to Japan in late 1999 and created the company in a hurry while reading a book on entrepreneurship, so I didn’t think anything about it, but it turns out that I created it during a year that makes it easy to remember how many years have passed since its founding. Yes, it was a one-in-a-thousand-years chance; something that could only have happened in the year 1,000 or 2,000.
I figured that, since i founded the company on a year that is easy to remember, why not hold the commemoration party for the anniversary of its founding on a date that is also easy to remember? With that in mind, we have decided to hold the Loftwork 22nd Anniversary Party on February 22nd, 2022 (Tuesday).
If we started to call all of Loftwork’s friends who have overcome hardships together with us (including our graduates, of course), clients who assigned us projects that we could not have imagined ourselves and who prodded us to leap forward, partners and creators with whom we want to continue our excellent relations moving forward, and all our other irreplaceable friends, this event would easily exceed several hundred, and even 1,000 people.
However, given the situation with COVID-19 and the fact that it is a weekday, I will not be selfish and say, “we want you to come.” I will hold that in. However, I do hope that you will take a moment on that day to remember Loftwork. Everybody has different thoughts and feelings when it comes to Loftwork. Still, I’m just happy for us to be remembered.
We hope to carry everyone’s thoughts and feelings on this 22nd anniversary and leap forward even further.
From Director and COO Tomohiro Yabashi
Two years have now passed since an unprecedented pandemic threw the world into turmoil.
As ways of life, values, and business activities themselves come under question, I feel that Loftwork has received an increasing number of consultations that touch upon the roots of organizations. I believe that 2021 was also a time when the world was thinking about these essential questions.
Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? This trend of taking a step back away from the era of competing for volume and speed, and tackling the essence of things has created the opportunity to take stock.
And now, 2022.
Humankind, which has evolved but little, is starting to seek after the next era.
Towards its implementation/realization phase.
We will actually move our hands to implement and realize the image of the future that we have drawn on our desk.
Already, there are increasing number of actions aimed at implementation, thanks to a wide variety of projects and activities of various sizes. These activities are moving to further grow this movement…
As said by the father of the personal computer, Alan Kay,
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
2022 will be the year of implementation.
From Shoma Terai, Director/Business Manager of the Kyoto Branch
2021 was a year in which we thought about the word “responsibility” over and over again.
The responsibilities of executives, project managers, team leaders, those who are given jobs to do, those who request jobs to be done, as well as our responsibilities to the families with whom we live, to our local communities, our responsibilities in terms of manufacturing and purchasing… Both you and I have many responsibilities every day.
However, what I realized was that making responsibilities “heavy” is actually quite easy.
We just unknowingly make our responsibilities “heavy”, trying to remind others of our worth, as if we were trying to confirm it ourselves. This is a very important job, it’s a very important responsibility! Make sure to do it properly! Don’t fail! Don’t just throw it out there! Those kinds of things.
Thinking about it another way, how can we make our responsibilities “light”? Isn’t the idea that “responsibilities = heavy” backing us into a corner? What might change in a world in which responsibilities have become lighter?
Of course, I do not mean to say that we should all become “irresponsible”. I am just wondering whether it might not be possible to create a more open and flexible world, in which we could temporarily move away from something to which we chained to take on some different challenges, change locations to get some new inspiration, or simply be able to act on our ideas right away.
A strong, heavy, immutable and stable mechanism of responsibility gradually erodes our natural creativity and makes it impossible to take action. My view is that a light and friendly mechanism that flexibly accepts change leads to the development of healthy creativity and action.
Such a kind of “lightness” concept may be indispensable to designing in an era of decentralization and atomization. At the same time, there will always be people who cannot “become lighter” due to various reasons. How is it possible to respond with design without leaving such people behind, frustrated and lonely?
“We have always built the present on the basis of the past, but now we have to shape the present according to what the future demands.”
While ruminating on Olafur Eliasson’s words, I am excited as I wonder with whom and where we will be able to create the seeds of the future in 2022.
I look forward to working with all of you again this year.
From Hiroki Tanahashi, Executive Officer and Innovation Maker
When I talk to other members, we sometimes talk about how the work we are doing is getting harder every year.
While it is true that more and more projects are expected to have a greater social impact, I think that, to put it more simply, the fact is that many projects require us to challenge ourselves to do things that, in a way, we have never done before.
I believe that the reason why we find things difficult stems from the difficulties of wondering how to do something that we have never done before, and the consequent necessity of starting from understanding the current situation and issues for areas in which we have never worked.
But I also think that this is completely normal.
Loftwork is a creative company, so creation is what is required of us. There is only space for creation somewhere where there isn’t yet anything. If you are involved in creation, you have to go somewhere where there isn’t anything. It’s completely normal that such areas are also areas in which you have never worked.
What’s more, while we constantly feel that, “man, once again, this job is so difficult,” we do have the skills and know-how to perform tasks in such areas. Even while we have our worries, we bring in a variety of people, and we are able to work to finally create something new, somewhere it didn’t exist yet.
According to the “Guide for the Promotion of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)” published by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, it is necessary to learn and acquire the following “7 abilities and attitudes” in order to solve the problems involved in creating a sustainable society.
Ability to think critically
Ability to predict the future and make plans
Ability to think multifacetedly and comprehensively
Ability to communicate
Ability to cooperate with others
Attitude to respect connections
Attitude of proactively participating
I feel that all of these seven items form the strength that we used when working to create something, somewhere it didn’t exist yet. I also think that this is linked to “sustainable development.”
This is also completely normal, but 2022 is a year that I have never experienced before.
All of this said, I think that we will continue to do work that we have never done before, all while enjoying the troubles that come from wondering, “how am I going to do this?”
That’s why I look forward to working with you all again this year.
From Layout Unit CLO Hajime Matsui,
The motto of the LAYOUT Unit is, how best to create “interesting places”, such as AkeruE, where children hone their intellect and sensibilties and boost their creativity; 100 BANCH, where young people who create the future develop unique activities; and SHIBUYA QWS, which creates social value from challenging questions. I have always been particular about creating and nurturing interesting places.
Now, what exactly does “interesting” mean? According to one theory, the origin of the Japanese word “omoshiroi”(interesting) have to do with the feeling that “what is in front of the eyes (“ome”) feels bright (white, or “shiroi”). It is coming to know something that you hadn’t seen or heard about before; noticing or getting something new. It is true that many people look at the places we create and say, “how interesting!” with bright facial expressions. Then, they themselves start something new. Maybe the feeling of something being “interesting” is a switch that awakens a hidden feeling of love! I would be very happy if more people could trigger such a switch and feel that their lives have become enriched through our work and places.
Let’s create even more interesting places from now on. I want to create a STEAM space, like AkeruE, but on an urban development scale. I would also like to create a shopping district that seriously aims to tackle the circular economy. I would like to create a station where people from all over the world with different cultures and values can interact. On the other hand, I would also like to work on a project to return some architecture that has fulfilled its purpose back to the earth. Thankfully, Loftwork is the kind of place where when you wish to do something, that work naturally comes to you. All I can do is prepare myself for the coming days. I want to continue taking the initiative and create some interesting work so that, as usual, others might tell me, “Man, what you’re doing always looks so interesting!”, or “I want to do some interesting things with you!”
This year is a personal milestone for me, with 10 years spent working at Loftwork. I am welcoming this new year with a bright feeling, as the beginning of a new 10-year period. Let’s create an interesting world together. I look forward to working with all of you!
From Loftwork Taiwan co-founder Tim Wong
In 2021, I have a newfound appreciation for what it means “to embrace”.
To embrace the fellowships of peers, family, and love ones.
When distance is the reality, but it’s no longer the barrier. We can focus on the time we share with each other through different mediums. The eagerness to maintain the bond is the part I appreciate the most.
To embrace the changes.
In retrospect, for 2020 and beginning of 2021, I think we were still adjusting to accepting and adapting to what was coming. Maybe it was an innate defensive mindset to protect what was there from before and try to preserve as much as we can. Yet we realized this is actually the opportunity to reset the tone and to renovate new ways which are necessary to propel us in this new physical and digital landscape.
In November of 2021, we decided to move out of Huashan Creative Park which was the home base of FabCafe Taipei for over 8 years. It is time to renew the purpose of FabCafe so that we can be relevant and impactful for the creative society which is evolving rapidly in Taiwan and Asia.
I look forward to connecting with you in any form possible in 2022.
The aspirations of everyone at Loftwork (Tokyo/Kyoto edition)
The annual Loftwork First Calligraphy of the Year (Kakizome) Competition, held on the first day of work. This year as well, I wrote down my new year’s goals and aspirations with all my strength, all while strictly respecting infection prevention measures.