Toshiya Hayashi and Hokuto Ando (WE+)
1. Where were you born and where are you from ?
we+ is a design studio based in Tokyo that established in 2013 by Toshiya Hayashi and Hokuto Ando. Both are from the countryside on the west coast of Japan.
Toshiya is graduated from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo and Hokuto has studied at Musashino Art University and is graduated from Central Saint Martins in London.
2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?
We presented our very first contemporary design work in Milan Design Week in 2014.
We’ve experienced a huge gathering of design society and we were impressed that there were numerous design pieces from all over the world. Since then, we’ve been presenting our new design works every year.
3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?
People in our team have different backgrounds not only in the art/design field, but also economics, trading & sales, and engineering. Because each of us has several perspectives, we can work with any kind of project and bring into our creation in contemporary design.
4. What led you to the design creation ?
We like to focusing on the themes of time and natural phenomena. Because both are elements that have existed alongside human beings since primeval times. We believe that by using these themes, we can create expressions which have never been seen before, which will allow our works to strongly resonate with many people. Additionally, by focusing on time and natural phenomena, a great deal of attention has been put into creating products within which a person can become lost, like when watching a rise and fall of the tide or the flame of a bonfire. In a modern, bustling world with an abundance of information and material things, our hope is to provide a potential opportunity for people to stop a moment and revaluate oneself in relation to things, as well as oneself in relation to society.
5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?
Through vast amounts of research and repeated experimentation, we draw out the best qualities of the materials used, and proposes products and spatial designs which offer new perspectives and possibilities. Specifically, from elements familiar to our everyday lives like water, wind, and light, to special materials of original design from manufacturers, we extract the natural phenomena that can be seen in various materials within an axis of time, elevating the materials into product and spatial installations.
6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?
We start working at 10am with a cup of fragrant coffee. There are usually one or two meetings for idea making or with client each day. At the lunch time, every one including interns eat together and communicate each other. We have another cup of coffee and start working again in the afternoon. Almost all experiments and testing process are taken place in our studio. Our interns usually work for them and we can check every process to find any interesting point. Every one have at least one project which in their charge, so basically we work for it. We occasionally work with architect, programmer, engineer and CG designer to proceed the process. After work, we sometimes drink beer together at our cozy studio. (for now, we are staying home and working remotely…)
7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?
One of our more well known, self-initiated work is “Swarm”— a chair whose organic form is comprised of short steel wires held to an internal structure by magnets. we explore new possibilities for design by utilizing magnetic force to design a process that creates shapes, rather than simply designing shapes. The steel wires have a diameter of 1.2 mm and a length of 15 mm. The orientation, density and overlapping of the steel wires are controlled by magnetic force and interact with each other. Also, since there is no single pattern, a unique and complex shape is created.
8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?
we+’s method of expression, which involves extracting the natural phenomena that can be seen in materials within an axis of time and developing them into products and spatial installations is extremely unique, and will produce furniture, products, and space that have never been seen before.
To achieve it, we appreciate the time facing to the material and grasp the most impressive moment. It’s also important that we are not obsessed in advanced technology.
9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?
We would like to advise them that look at your surrounding environment and the nature itself.
The beautiful phenomenon is always happening near you.
10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?
We think we are not belonging to any design movement right now, but more like we are proposing a new branch called ‘contemporary design’ to design industry.
11. What designers have influenced you ?
12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?
All designers who have been contributing to design creation.
13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?
14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?
Live a life
15. Is there anything you would like to add ?
Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
(The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
2. What is your greatest fear?
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
5. Which living person do you most admire?
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
Going to good restaurant
7. What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
to adjust yourself to people around you (especially in Japan)
9. What is the quality you most like in a man?
10. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
12. Which talent would you most like to have?
13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being in this studio
15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
16. Where would you most like to live?
17. What is your most treasured possession?
Family and Studio
18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
19. What is your favorite occupation?
20. What is your most marked characteristic?
21. What do you most value in your friends?
Can talk openly and honestly
22. Who are your favorite writers?
Soseki Natsume, Yuval Noah Harari
23. Who is your hero of fiction?
24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
25. Who are your heroes in real life?
26. What are your favorite names?
27. What is it that you most dislike?
28. What is your greatest regret?
Should have got masks before this situation…
29. How would you like to die?
Die of old age
30. What is your motto?
Keep hope alive!