ROUND TABLE2018.12.21

What we wanted to convey

Lighting Designers/Hiroyasu Shoji, Tatsuoki Nakajima,
Reiko Chikada, Miki Matsushita, and Izumi Okayasu

A round table discussion was held with participating members after the completion of all events in ENLIGHTEN ASIA IN JAPAN.
How was the first event for Japanese lighting designers to gather at? The members—involved in the event from different positions—discussed various themes including challenges in relation to the “Asian sense of light” and a definition of lighting designers.

4/16/2013 in Tokyo

―Today, we have people who were involved in ENLIGHTEN ASIA IN JAPAN 2013 (hereinafter ENLIGHTEN ASIA). I think everyone participated from different positions, so would you please look back on ENLIGHTEN ASIA from your own point of view?

Shoji In short, “I’m tired” [laughs].
The four days of the event flew by, but the preparation was hard. It took a long time, and we had so much to do. I say “I’m tired” partly because I feel relieved that the event is over without any trouble. I have so much to say, but let me begin with that.
Chikada That’s all? You didn’t say much.
Shoji Well, I think it’ll take a long time if I start talking, and there might be something harsh.
Chikada You are cheating [laughs]. I participated since the very first preparation meeting. It took us quite a long time to agree: “OK, let’s hold the event this way.” After we had decided, we swiftly shared tasks and the preparation progressed quickly. One reason was that each task was perfectly assigned to the appropriate person. I also think it was good that everyone fully discussed their opinions before deciding to hold the event. Actually, “not holding the event” earned more votes.
If this ENLIGHTEN ASIA wasn’t held this year, individual designers might have been able to improve their own skills, but the lighting design industry as a whole wouldn’t have been improved. I feel that each person was properly rewarded in return for their cooperation as part of the IALD Japan.
Nakajima : I’m not exactly sure why I’m in this round table discussion since I was hardly involved in the preparation [laughs]. So, my opinion is more from an outsider’s perspective, but I’m impressed by how this event turned out while having limited budget and time. I only participated in one program of seminars and panel discussions. The audience for the panel discussion asked me, after seeing the lighting designers listed on the ENLIGHTEN ASIA pamphlet, if there are many jobs for that many lighting designers. I answered that I think some people work on many jobs, and some people barely work, to a certain extent. I am one of the people who barely work [laughs]. I think visitors were convinced after seeing the outcomes of many lighting designers’ works.
Okayasu In terms of preparation, I didn’t take part, like Mr. Nakajima [laughs]. I participated in a seminar, and when I arrived at the venue, I really felt I should have assisted with the preparation. I was a little nervous to discuss one theme with other lighting designers—it was over drinks, but I was sober and there was an audience.
Matsushita I thought I’d do something thoroughly if I were involved. I was assigned a financial role, so I arbitrarily established a fund raising committee, and became the chairman. Nothing works without money. Thanks to everyone’s support, we found many sponsors. First, I’m truly grateful to the many sponsors that the event ended with no trouble. I think this should be the first thing to say. I participated in everything from the preparation to the final excursion in Kyoto. Looking back after everything is done, it was really fun.

Were you able to see the Asian sense of light?

―The “Asian sense of light” was a theme of ENLIGHTEN ASIA. How did the participating members see the light?

Shoji I didn’t see it. Perhaps, no one did. It wasn’t an event for presenting the “Asian sense of light,” rather, it was a first step to head toward there. First of all, the Asian neighbors of Japan didn’t participate. Young energetic designers from China, for instance, should have participated. But of course, we need to keep Japan-China relations in mind. So, this event was a first step, or I should say, we are finally at the starting line.
The event was entitled “Asia” because we thought “Japan” would be too narrow from the global standpoint of the IALD.
Okayasu I agree with Mr. Shoji. The world of lighting is facing radical shifts of devices. Expressions using new technologies, and expressions developed up until today—I think they will jointly form the Japanese light and Asian light. In that sense, the event was a first step for the future as well.
Nakajima There was a symposium called “Asian Lighting Design Show Case .” Mr. Mende was a moderator and five foreign designers introduced their works in Asia. It was very interesting. But there wasn’t something definite about “Asian light,” and they were after all international designs, I thought. In addition, Japan is also part of Asia, but Westerners, in particular, seem to consider somewhat Chinese-style light as “Asian light.” In order to have people understand it, we will surely need a long time.
Chikada I didn’t expect something with a lot of differences would be presented. Rather, I thought it was important to find out what they were interested in and what they were thinking. I made many discoveries in this event. When Mr. Louis Clair worked on a project in China, he tried to express his idea of Chinese light, but it wasn’t accepted by the Chinese people. In terms of lighting, China may have a lot of room to improve. However, Chinese people definitely have their ideal light. It was interesting to understand that merely bringing a format into such a place doesn’t work.
Matsushita I’ve been working on East Asian projects for the past 20 years. From such a standpoint, I’ve felt a little uncomfortable about the theme “Asian sense of light” up until the end. It’s unreasonable to lump together all of Asia.
Many countries in the Asian section of the FIFA World Cup qualification may not be considered by Japanese as part of Asia. Perhaps Asia in our minds is in fact East Asia. Asia is a collective term for a group of various countries from West and East Asia. Therefore, I wondered if it was OK to generally aggregate an “Asian sense of light.” That’s why I suggested the event be entitled ENLIGHTEN JAPAN, instead of ENLIGHTEN ASIA, and to call the IALD the IALD ASIA. But after the four days of the event, I now think “Asian sense of light” was good, beyond all of these problems. All the seminars were enriching, and I feel like every concern I had before the event have been allayed.

―Asia, particularly East Asia, is rapidly progressing not only economically but also in designs. If it had been ENLIGHTEN JAPAN and we had played small in Japan, we wouldn’t be able to keep pace and will be left behind. That’s why it was entitled ENLIGHTEN ASIA with a larger perspective.

What we wanted to convey through ENLIGHTEN ASIA IN JAPAN #2  The World of Lighting Design

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