Master of Transforming a Concept into a Matter, Kenichiro Ohara, NIGN

by Hiroki Yanagisawa on December 20, 2011 8:33 AM

With an extensive knowledge of materials and crafting skills, conceptual words turns into magical outputs.

If a designer's role is to transform a verbal-spoken or text-based concept into some form of a physical matter, Kenichiro Ohara of NIGN is the person to look for. Why this is possible -- because Kenichiro has an extensive knowledge of materials, allowing him to transform a given verbal concept in the best manner with a perfect expression.

"I tend to collect interesting materials that I don't really encounter in my daily life. For instance, a receipt from overseas -- something that is available in some people's daily life. This paper used for the receipt is rarely seem in Japan and that's what makes it special to me. Each sample is carefully stocked in my 'library of materials', and it will ultimately lead to my creations later on."

Kenichiro said.

Photo Sep 12, 16 42 20

Photo Sep 12, 16 42 48

Kenichiro's signature works include invitation cards for The Viridi-anne's collections. The Viridi-anne is a fashion brand, initiated and produced by Tomoaki Okaniwa. Just like any other fashion brands, The Viridi-anne holds two collections in Paris annually and Kenichiro is the one behind the creation of the invitation cards. One of the early works was 2009-10 Autumn/Winter Collection. The theme of the collection was "chrysalis" and this was Kenichiro's answer.



Viridianne Invitation Card 09-10aw_3

"I was looking for a metaphor for the theme. Chrysalis is light, fluffy and the content is somewhat visible from the external skin. What I did was to incorporate these elements into the card. My interest was not to transform the concept into the shape directly. As a designer, it's more like perceiving a concept with my understanding, and output with my filter.

In this case, Kenichiro utilized a waxed sheet. Once folded, the sheet creates visible dents on and they are the constituents of chrysalis. And what's more -- the content, the card, is visible from the envelope.

Ecdysis was 2010 Spring and Summer Collection's theme. Again, in here, Kenichiro didn't try to imitate a shape of insect to a card. He took the essence of ecdysis and transformed it like this:



One of the latest piece, 2012 Spring-Summer Collection's theme was "incomplete" and here's Kenichiro's definition of incomplete.




Every single elements are the constituents of incomplete.

"A sheet of paper is folded unevenly and all the characters were hand written by French, who works for the brand. The typography is the work of me and reflected the incomplete concept."

One amazing fact on all these creations is that most of the production process employs DIY style -- meaning Kenichiro and his colleague from the brand actually hold each paper and shrink the package.

"Since the maximum volume for these type of cards is around 2000, we can get everything done by our hands. But considering what I want to express, this DIY method is the best and only way to accomplish the desired output. It can't be automated with a machine."

For instance, this particular invitation card for DEVOA (another fashion brand based in Tokyo) uses different color on a front and back. Plus, all the letters are printed with gilt. When packaging, Kenichiro wanted the final package to show an essence of gilt, so he folded each piece manually so the external composition can be controlled with his intension.

DEVOA Invitation Card: 09-10aw

"It surely is time consuming but this is the ultimate and best solution to produce what the client and I want."

In some way, his creation is like modernized traditional Japanese craftsmanship.

"Many companies are switching their paper-based released to pdf format to minimize the overhead. But with my creations, I want to seek for the expressions that can only be achieved with a feel of material."

If you want the best out of a materialistic expression, now you know who to count on.

Official Website of NIGN, Kenichiro Ohara's design firm: http://www.nign.co.jp/

Kenichiro Ohara, the man behind NIGN

Share & Make Your Comment