Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating design-led innovation is the latest exhibition coming to Japan House London in January 2019. Showcasing the innovative designs created by world-renowned design engineer and Professor at the University of Tokyo Yamanaka Shunji, the exhibition will explore the potential of prototypes to act as a link between cutting-edge technology and society, offering us a glimpse into the future.

Ready to Crawl Image KATO Yasushi

Forget Alexa, Siri and driverless vacuum cleaners, Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating Design-led Innovation will bring to London prototypes such as ‘Ready to Crawl’, a series of robots which are 'born' fully formed just like a living thing, with all of their parts created at the same time, fully assembled, and with form and movement closely mirroring living things.

Apostrph Image KATO Yasushi

Visitors will learn the stories behind the prototypes. They will be able to touch and interact with select displays, offering a glimpse of the structures and textures of the future. The three core exhibit themes include:

- Additive Manufacturing: Taking prototyping to the next level with 3D-printing which has allowed engineers and designers to create infinitely more complex prototypes with textures and the “feeling of the future".

- Bio-Likeness Robots: Beyond metal and motors, Japanese researchers explore adding life-like motion and behaviour to robots, giving the impression of intelligence; for example, the robot ‘Apostroph’ examines the mechanisms that allow living organisms to stand.

- Prosthetics: Various interpretations of the “expanded human body.”

CR 1 running specific prosthesis with dry carbon socket Image KATO Yasushi

The exhibition will run for the first time in the UK from 16 January to 17 March 2019. Following the exhibition’s knock-out success at Japan House Los Angeles, it is on display in the UK for the first time in January 2019.

Commenting on Prototyping in Tokyo Professor Yamanaka Shunji, world-renowned design engineer and Professor at the University of Tokyo:

“When I design products for the market or prototypes for research, I don't intentionally draw on Japanese aesthetics for inspiration. However, outside Japan, my works are often described as resembling 'Japanese style'. An art director from France once told me that the attitude of cherishing a basic element and adding nothing conveys the sense of Japan. An architect from Italy said that my design is minimal and rich, and that that is 'Japanese style'. A professor from the USA described his understanding of 'Japanese style' to me as the fusion of organic and machine-made.  Although what I am doing is simply searching for the common ground between science and beauty, people tend to find various interpretations of Japanese aesthetics in my designs. I look forward to seeing how people in the UK feel about my works.”

Archer on a Boat Skeletal automation Image SHIMIZU Yukio

Additional information
Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating design-led innovation will be open to the public at Japan House London from 16 January through 17 March 2019.

About Professor Yamanaka Shunji

Founder of Leading Edge Design and Professor at the University of Tokyo, Professor Yamanaka Shunji is one of the most respected design engineers in Japan, with previous works ranging from wristwatches to railway carriages. Recently, Yamanaka’s projects include beautiful prosthetics and life-like robots that re-examine the relationship between humans and machines. Numerous honours include: the 2004 Mainichi Design Award, the iF Design Award, and multiple Good Design Awards (backed by the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Infrastructure). His 2010 work, Tagtype Garage Kit, is part of the New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

About Japan House London
The Shop at Japan House London Image by Lee Mawdsley

Japan House London is the new cultural centre offering visitors an experience of the best and latest from Japan. Located on London’s Kensington High Street, the experience is an authentic encounter with Japan, engaging and surprising even the most knowledgeable guests.

Presenting the very best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation, and technology, it deepens our appreciation of all that Japan has to offer. Part of a global initiative led by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are two other Japan Houses in Los Angeles and São Paulo.

Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating design-led innovation is presented at Japan House London with exhibition sponsorship from Ricoh Europe PLC.



For more information or images please contact:

Hollie Mantle, PR Manager, Japan House London, [email protected]

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