MicroWorks Design Pt 2


Lifestyle Design—the creation of everyday products with extra elements of comfort and style—is a huge trend in Japan. MicroWorks is a major player in this movement.

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From imagination to reality, MicroWorks designer Shunsuke Umiyama adds comfort and style to everyday products. His skills have put him on the map, as well as in collaborations with top Japanese brand names and design groups.

This week we grab some tips and an insight into future plans of this lifestyle designer.

Masao & Deanne: What makes life as a creator so interesting?

Shunsuke: Seeing people using products in their life that I designed. I find it interesting to see if it is as I imagined in my mind. Also, I am very happy to meet lots of new people and communicate more deeply with them through my work.

mw - bookcase

Masao & Deanne: What is the most difficult thing for you in your career?

Shunsuke: When I happen to see things that are really similar to my work after I have released new pieces. This really disappoints me, but I try to stay positive. I don’t want to think that they copied my work.

Masao & Deanne: What does the future hold for you?

Shunsuke: I would like to enhance my skills and manifest my dreams. I would also like to get more involved in designing furniture, fashion and space.

mw - mass

Masao & Deanne: How do you market your products in Japan?

Shunsuke: I used to go out and visit lots of shops, I would promote my own products. I have been really busy recently so I don’t have as much time to do that at the moment but I continue to keep in contact with many places via email and phone calls.

I will have an online shop on my website soon so you can purchase my work there.

Masao & Deanne: Do you have any advice for those seeking success as a designer?

Shunsuke: First, I would suggest to go to places like galleries, art or fashion events as much as possible and meet people. This way you will get to know how design works in society.

Also, I usually look for people who could support what I do, I contact artists and designers that I respect. The process can often take time but it is a powerful one.

mw - midori

Masao & Deanne: You collaborated with AU, the Japanese Phone company. Tell us about this.

Shunsuke: I created for the iida project which is technically different to AU, although both AU and iida are developed by KDDI. The concept of iida is LIFE > PHONE which means that they produce mobile phones and phone accessories for life style.

What I am working on is lifestyle products which specifically focus on the design of mobile phone accessories.

I came up with the VINE phone charger cord and commercialized it as AC Adapter MIDORI (see photo above). Some 2000 were produced and they sold out immediately.

Masao & Deanne: What are you working on at the moment?

Shunsuke: I always have projects in the works. I continue to work on the iida and Mass Item projects. I also put a lot of energy into the MicroWorks pieces.

Recently I have been working on some of my new products, which I released at 21_21 DESIGN SITE.


Shunsuke Umiyama’s work can be found at Tokyo Made.

Deanne Tonking & Masao Tamaoki About the Author

Deanne Tonking and Masao Tamaoki connect with independent designers all over Japan to find unique art, handmade treasures and innovative design. They share their stylish discoveries on TokyoMade, offering style conscious shoppers rarely attainable creations.

Recent articles by Deanne Tonking:

Comment (日本語もOK)

I like how JS interviews many ppl, and I get to learn hands-on about japanese fashion and culture :)

Dec 2, 2009 (4810 days ago)

hey~ haven’t we seen those chopsticks before ? :D
amazing how everyday products can become art :3

Dec 7, 2009 (4805 days ago)

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