‘common neglect material’ spotlights the depopulation of japan’s rural areas


The depopulation of rural areas in Japan is progressing rapidly. Coupled with its super-aging society, the country sees many of its marginal villages being left behind. After witnessing such a bleak reality, designer Takuto Ohta launched ‘Common Neglect Material (CNM)’, a project focused on repurposing disused objects found in vacant towns into unique public furniture, like chairs‘I realized that it was necessary to actively cut through the emptiness and graft new ideas and values, such as illuminating places where the light was not intentionally directed,’ he says. 

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All images via Takuto Ohta



visiting the southern coastline, a once thriving fishing hub 


At the start of his project, Ohta (see more here) visited the southern coastline where a fishing industry once thrived. Today, vacant houses, declining local income, and population outflow are sadly crippling this part of Japan now filled with garbage and disused fishing objects lying around. During his visit, Ohta noted countless traces of huge refrigeration facilities next to the port, container boxes and tangled fishing nets, several PVC pipes in the former ray farm along the coast, and many buoys and floats rolling in the nets and storage areas. 


‘The fact that all of them have existed in the space for more than a dozen years without interacting with people shows that they will continue to be left unattended or serve as industrial waste,’ comments Ohta. 

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repurposing discarded containers into unique public furniture 


That’s when the name ‘Common Neglect Material (CNM)’ came to mind. A CNM is a unique object no longer owned by anyone but is now consciously repurposed and dropped in one of those marginal towns for people to interact with or rest on. The images here show bright-yellow fish containers transformed into furniture with playful shapes. Some of the functional objects include a glow-in-the-dark fishing chair, benches, and stools.

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project info:


name: Common Neglect Material (CNM)
designer: Takuto Ohta


designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: Lea Zeitoun | designboom