There is much more to design other than aesthetic value. A good design should address problems and turn lives better. Our everyday lives are made easier and better thanks to a wide array of design. They are the results of problem solving. For example, alarms stop oversleeping; chairs solved sitting problems; computers keep us out of the trouble with solving complicated math problems.
The Good Design Award from Japan is a perfect epitome of this principle. The award puts the design’s quality to ‘enrich our lives and society through design’ first. No matter tangible or not, they will take it as design as long as it is created to fulfill certain ideas or purposes. The three core values of the Good Design Award are ‘Discover’, ‘Share’ and ‘Innovation’ — ‘Discover’ new things and ‘Share’ the discoveries with the society, and thus lead to the next ‘’Innovation’.
The result of 2018 Good Design Award was announced recently. They have redefined the idea of what a good design should be, with the Grand Award winner, who is distinct from the past winners, asserting the ‘a good design helps improve lives’ principle.
Grand Award Winner – Otera Oyatsu Club
What!? The grand winner this year is a Buddhist priest!? How exactly did he outshine numerous designers and take the world’s most coveted award?
Seirou Matsushima from the chief priest of a Buddhist temple knows nothing about aesthetic design. All he did was establishing the Temple Snack Club (Otera Oyatsu Club) to tackle the poverty problem in Japan.
Japan of today is amazingly prosperous, but we never learn about its dark side. In fact, one in seven children living in this modern country is in poverty. While we are troubling ourselves with ‘What to eat today’, these children are having trouble taking a meal once a day. On the other hand, temples in Japan receive tons of donations every day, but most of them always end up in the bin. Therefore, Seirou Matsushima has founded the Club, together with the support of other temples, to help economically difficult families and single-parent families by giving them these donations, including food, fruits and daily necessities. Until today, 980 temples have joined the program and have benefited around 9,000 children each month.
This one-of-a-kind winner motivates children to live with positivity and brings them a better life.
Gold Award – Hanare Hotel
Most hotels are fully-equipped with everything a tourist needs. It is not a problem at all to spend the entire day in these hotels. However, such convenience compromises on an in-depth travelling experience. Hanare Hotel in Yanaka, Tokyo therefore came up with a ‘the whole town = your hotel’ concept to provide the tourists with all-around facilities while ensuring them a local-like travelling experience. ‘Hanare’ in Japanese means ‘separate from’ or ‘detached’. The concept turns the entire town into a hotel, expanding the living area from the hotel buildings to the neighboring area, to make the vacation more enriching and more fun.
Hanare Hotel is composed of two buildings. One of which is ‘Hagiso’, where tourists can find a coffe shop, a gallery and a shop. Another is the lodging. Upon arrival, the tourists will be provided an original map created by the hotel for them to explore the town.
Tourists can find everything they need in the town as this picture shows. Need a bath? Head to the neighbouring sento. Eager to experience the best of local life? Learn about how the Japanese appreciate tea by taking cultural lessons or visit the temples. Looking for souvenirs? The shopping streets are here for you. The whole town can be your hotel.
“New discoveries await you in this town. The whole town can be your hotel.”
A Tailor Made Service for Old Clothes – Loop Care
We all have one or two clothing items that are too old to wear but too precious to lose: the uniform in the good old days, the dress on the first date, the scarf sewn by your mother, etc. Loop Care tailor made service gives a second life to these old clothes by renovating them to everyday products, e.g. parasols, albums, card cases, dog wears, mini shelves and bags. A complimentary repair service is also offered to improve product lifespans. What capture people’s heart is not the varieties of products the service provides, but the ideas of treasuring one’s priceless memories.
Gold Award：First-person Picture Book
A first-person fairy tale which helps expand the “empathy and imagination” power that is indispensable for growth.
Gold Award： QuickFree fastener
A fastener with improved operability, which gives children and elderly people a sense of accomplishment.
Gold Award：Kizu River waterfront promenade
A 4300 sq ft riverside promenade for the coexistence of human beings and water
Good Focus Award (New Business Design): Stuffed Toy
A service that reproduces the unique scribbles that children draw.
Best 100: Qooboo Therapeutic Robot
A robot pillow with a tail that wags in just the way a cat does when being caressed. It is designed to provide a sense of comfort to users.
Best 100: Lobby Chair
A lobby chair designed for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 with upgraded durability and comfort features.
Full winner list: http://www.g-mark.org/award/