john maeda interview john maeda interview
apr 03, 2001

john maeda interview

 john maeda© designboom

 

 

we met john maeda in milan at the ‘sawaya&moroni’ showroom on april 3rd, 2001.

 

 

what is the best moment of the day?the best moment of the day is when I see my kids get up, it gets me going.

 

 

what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?I listen to whatever music I buy, I’ll listen to the same tape for a year and then I’ll buy anew tape, its usually japanese music or a movie soundtrack.

 

 

‘time paint’ © john maedacourtesy bangert verlag 

 

 

do you listen to the radio?I listen to news radio once in a while, but it gets me depressed.

 

 

what books do you have on your bedside table?something about cell-based computers, and another on physics.

 

 

 graphics for sawaya & moroni, detail© john maedacourtesy sawaya & moroni

 

 

do you read design magazines?I used to read a lot of design magazines but I stopped recently.

 

 

where do you get news from?I get news from my students, they are an amazing source of news because they’re likenews gatherers.

 

 

do you notice how women are dressing? do you have any preferences?yes, definitely. I’m interested in how fast fashion changes.

 

 

left: ‘summer’ for seibu© john maedacourtesy bangert verlag

right: © john maedacourtesy bangert verlag

 

 

what kind of clothes do you avoid wearing?there’s nothing I avoid wearing. I wear bermuda shorts, t-shirts, in the winter I wear more formal cloth,no, I don’t wear pink, red or anything like that, maybe in the future…

 

 

do you have any pets?no pets.

 

 

where do you work on your designs and projects?I work on airplanes a lot, or in a coffee shop, where I can be alone and think.who would you like to design something for?I’d like to design things for children. I think it’s a good area.

 

 

 

 left: calendar for shiseido, detail© john maedacourtesy bangert verlag

right: ‘helvetica’, detailcover for the book ‘dynamic form’© john maedacourtesy bangert verlag

 

 

when you are working, do you discuss or exchange ideas with your colleagues?actually no. no, I work myself. I sort of sit and stew a bit. my time is very limited.

 

 

describe your style, like a good friend of yours would describe it.I try to keep changing. I don’t like to be labeled as a certain style, so I continue todestroy everything I did. maybe every few months. my wife is the reason why, she always says, doesn’t that look the same?she’s the pressure that keeps me changing.

 

 

when you were a child, what did you want to be?my dream was to support my family. my father was very practical minded and that is all he talked about. …yes, how to support my family, that was all I thought about it.

 

 

 absolut ad for I.D. magazine march / april 1999 issue © john maedacourtesy bangert verlag

 

 

which of your projects have given you the most satisfaction?the most satisfaction is from my recent book ([email protected]),that book was merely meant to make me stop with everything what I’m doing, I thought about everything I’ve done, so I wrote it down. now I’m a baby again, kind of fresh…

 

 

is there any architect or designer from past you appreciate a lot?bruno munari, paul rand.but it’s definetely the every day life, seeing things and patterns, what inspires me.

 

 

and those still active, are there any particular ones you appreciate?all the people I admire are dead, how sad.

 

 

 calendar ‘seibu summer’detail© john maedacourtesy bangert verlag

right: ‘japanese colourcards as a group photo’detail© john maedacourtesy bangert verlag

 

 

do you believe in sharing knowledge via internet ordo you think that the internet has more negative effects on us ?I think it depends who you are. if you are in younger generation,I see it’s a very vital part of their life, sending messages and all.I prefer to talk to people face to face…

 

 

on the news broadcast they said that italians are afraid ofunemployment,criminality and pollution. what are you afraid of regarding the future ?I am afraid that technology will make us stop imagining and we’ll get stuck

 

 

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