Yoshiaki Yoneyama’s work perfectly showcases the two sides of good product design. On one hand, we can see the product’s poetic and fanciful nature and on the other, the straight-forward technical “hardware” that make it a reality. In a way, it describes all art – the craft of the creator bringing thought into reality, whilst keeping the spark or the soul of that thought for other people to see and experience.
Yoshiaki’s work spreads over many different subjects, the result of a preparatory year of his Product Design course. Here, he took the chance to go out of his normal comfort zone – drawing – and tried his hand at a range of techniques.
“I am confident in drawing. When I am drawing, I really feel free,” he says, but feeling that he needed to try and learn new skills, he went into a wide range of different projects. Children’s games, furniture, lights from different materials (including orange peels!) and many others challenged him to try many different techniques from woodworking to computer coding.
With a background in sociology and marketing, Yoshiaki might not have seemed destined to become a creator. However, a reflection on life seamlessly slipped him into this world. Whilst focusing on selling a product, his mind started wondering “how can I contribute new values to the world?” and from then on it was a straight path to product design.
“People” always stay in the center of Yoshiaki’s work. When asked what he thinks is the most important factor of design, his answer is simple: “Design should allow the users to interact and feel something. Too much perfection becomes cold. The core of my projects is the struggle to make a product that improves people’s well- being. It should really contribute to someone’s life – it doesn’t have to scream ‘DESIGN!’ – as long as it can be part of someone’s life, it can even be anonymous.”
Yoshiaki has his mind set on the future. He soberly reflects that the creative path probably won’t be the easiest to follow, and that flexibility will be his most important ability. For now, he would like to try going back to Japan, where design is very different from Europe. “I would like to use traditional techniques of Japan to make something new, and export it to the world. This way I can contribute to both my home country and the rest of the world.”
Improving himself is also on his mind. In his opinion, he needs to learn how to simplify his designs further, and possibly also branch into engineering, to break through the limitations of mere product design. Undoubtedly, new ways to improve people’s lives is foremost in his mind.