The Yanagi Sori Design Memorial is a small museum affiliated with Kanazawa College of Art that houses an interesting collection of the celebrated designer’s works and design materials. It is an eye-opening collection that reveals the deep consideration and artistry behind the design of seemingly simple household products that we use every day.
About Yanagi Sori
Yanagi Sori, who lived from 1915 – 2011, was a highly influential and very successful industrial designer in post-war Japan. He worked in many areas designing everyday products, home furnishings, and large scale public structures. With a firm base in traditional Japanese design principles he created simple, modern, attractive objects that could easily be mass produced. Yanagi Sori’s designs are distinctive for the timeless beauty in their organic simplicity of form.
During his long career Yanagi Sori designed furniture, lighting, porcelain and kitchen utensils, children’s toys, railway stations, cars, motorcycles, and the 1964 Olympic cauldron. He also taught at Kanazawa College of Art for almost 50 years and was the director of the Japan Folk Crafts Museum for 30 years too. After his death Yanagi Design Office donated 7,000 of his designs, products, and materials to Kanazawa College of Art and this was the origin of the Memorial.
About the Museum
The Yanagi Sori Design Museum was created to celebrate the designer’s legacy and to operate as a center of design education and research. It is free to enter for the public and displays many of Yanagi’s products which you can both see and touch. Many of these items are still in commercial production today. Exhibits are arranged in unified household scenes such as a living room, dining area, and kitchen. Visitors can freely sit on the chairs and pick up the cups, dishes and cutlery to examine them. The exhibits are not captioned so that visitors can form their own ideas about Yanagi Sori’s unique design aesthetic. However, several of Yanagi’s thoughts and teachings on essential design principles are displayed on one wall in both Japanese and English. Here are just four of his ideas:
True beauty is born not created
Design cannot be achieved alone.
Design depends on society.
True design battles with trends.
The Yanagi Sori Design Memorial is located in the Owari-cho area of Kanazawa and is a 3 minute walk from the Hashiba-cho bus stop. To get there from Kanazawa Station take a Right Loop bus from bus stop #7 at the east exit bus terminal. The fare is 200 yen and it takes 10 minutes to get to the Hashiba-cho bus stop. Parking is available for seven cars. The Design Memorial is very close to the Kanazawa Phonograph Museum, so it is a good idea to visit these two unique museums together.
Open: 9.30 – 17.00
Closed on Mondays (open if the Monday is a national holiday)
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.