By inviting cultural anthropologist Shinichi Takemura as the concept supervisor, the exhibition aimed to "show water through design." It attempted to reevaluate the relationship between water and people, by visualizing such facts, as how 2000 liters of water is required to make a single beef bowl, or how rainwater can be utilized. While being able to interact with water through superhydrophobic material and photography that captures the beautiful expressions of water, the formless liquid was presented in various forms.
Date: October 5, 2007 - January 14, 2008

Director's Message

Why Now Consider Design and Water?

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT is a place for reflecting upon our world, via design. Water is something both so familiar and so immaterial that it seems almost beneath consideration for a design exhibition. Having chosen this all-encompassing theme, of course, we soon realized that far from being humble, it provides a subject as profound as the basis of all life on the planet. In looking at water, we have discovered that there is nothing on this planet that is unrelated to this substance, and that through water, we are seeing the entire world. Utilizing water as a metaphor within design, we see it become a basis for all manner of interpersonal communication. We find clues that Japanese design originates in a culture that identifies deeply with nature.
We have long said that Japan is a water rich country. The fact that today we Japanese are reliant on foreign water for 40% of our food supply proves that this is no longer true. Let's listen to water, and hear what it has to say. Water will always have much to teach us.

Taku Satoh


Why Now Consider Water in Design?

"Be astonished not by the flowers that blossom on a dead tree, but rather by those on the living," 18th Century Japanese Confucian scholar Baien Miura.
Design opens windows of sensitivity, and allows us to rediscover that which is all around us. What a waste it would be to live our lives without noticing how rich and wondrous our world truly is. When our education and our societies only provide us with a grainy view of the world, then design enters in to bring things into a higher resolution.
In preparing this vehicle for rediscovering amazement for water, our most commonplace yet ultimately precious substance, we have attempted to recover a life style that might have otherwise been forgotten. By explicitly demonstrating the ways that we come in contact with water each day - whether via the rain that falls, the water from our taps, or the virtual water hidden in our consumerism - we hope to provide a high-definition uplink for our senses. Furthermore, the exhibition takes us beyond the 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT through the many design experiments that extend into society, into the world, and even into one another. Will we, as a species, finally awaken to the wonders of water, or remain only capable of relating to this 21st water century, by waging battles over its scarcity? Design offers us a century in which to experiment with how we can make this a century in which we celebrate life on this water planet. The adventure starts here.

Shinichi Takemura


Organized by
In association with
Agency for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of the Environment
Special cooperation
Taku Satho Design Office Inc.
Exhibition Director
Taku Satoh
Concept Supervisor
Shinichi Takemura
Creative Team
Kazutoshi Amano, Arakawakensuke, Tamotsu Fujii, Hiroki Ide, Haruki Kaito, takram, Taku Satoh, Shinichi Takemura
Special Participants
Kenya Hara, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Yoshihiro Kawasaki, METAPHOR Inc., Nozomu Miura, Makoto Murase, Taikan Oki
Creative Directors
Issey Miyake, Taku Satoh, Naoto Fukasawa
Associate Director
Noriko Kawakami
In cooperation with
Hitomi Ishii (Taku Satoh Design Office Inc.), Taku Satoh Design Office Inc.
Graphic Design
Taku Satoh, Hitomi Ishii, Keisuke Goto (Taku Satoh Design Office Inc.)