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Design Perfection

Relationships Between People and Tools through Long-Term Use

Unity with tools

“I’m the type that always needs to be moving, I don’t like staying still,” Mr. Kawa states. At the weekend he goes to a studio he has been renting with an old university friend, where he is currently working on hanger design.
Starting from a sketch, he creates an image he can be satisfied with by making prototypes with different shapes and materials repeatedly. The lifestyle of creating objects “around him” by himself has continued since his days as a student.

Meeting the functions stoically

Mr. Kawa, who designed the RICOH THETA spherical camera, was not assigned this job. An in-house design competition was held for new products, and his design was chosen. “As this camera can take photos of a 360-degree space, I was committed to a design for users to use this camera without being aware of the front or back side of it,” he says. Certainly, with its symmetrical shape users do not notice which way the device is being held. Also, he placed importance on a simple icon design which could be drawn in a few strokes and be memorable.
In addition, considering its use with smartphones, he paid attention to providing consistent design. A camera with silver lines on the white body creates a carefree and stylish impression. As for usability, the camera is unimaginable from its simple design: the thumb naturally sits over the shutter button comfortably even for long periods of use, allowing users to shoot in natural positions. He states, “With many limitations due to the lens configurations or battery thickness, I was thrilled to design this camera so that this shape was realized.” Despite the casual design, this camera is easy to use, because it has undergone countless trials and experiments.

Usability due to detailed configurations

While very much excited with the design of the RICOH THETA that brings new image experiences, Mr. Kawa is still not satisfied. Performing at an event as a visual Jockey, he carried out a performance using 360-degree images he shot. “So far I've designed shapes as simple as geometrical ones. Since I've learned to capitalize on the characteristics of spherical images, I've expanded ranges of expression,” he says. The usual scenery around us changes into a confined landscape, and along with the music a distinct world was created.

Supporting the relationship between people and tools

Designers have become very specialized: however, according to Mr. Kawa, designing is for making life easier, and from the perspective of using a new tool, designing is for bringing the user close to a good life or a new world. Thus, his multi-level design work distinguishes no specialization or boundaries. As an active borderless designer, he must live in a house he designs for himself in the near future, surrounded by his own furniture and images.

Mr. Kawa’s image products can be viewed on the below websites:

Spherical images:


Technology information: Spherical Imaging Device

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