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The Only Book About Japanese Design You’ll Ever Need

Architect and design writer Naomi Pollock’s eighth book is the most comprehensive guide to modern Japanese design.

By Rachel Gallaher

Architect and design writer Naomi Pollock's 8th book came out last month through Thames & Hudson.

When architect Naomi Pollock moved to Japan in 1988 her plan wasn’t to become a design writer. At the time, she was working at Davis, Brody & Associates in Manhattan, but when her husband’s job transferred him across continents, she was awarded a scholarship from the Japanese Government which enabled her to enroll at Tokyo University and pursue a second Master of Architecture degree (her first is from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design). It wasn’t long before design magazine editors, who heard about her burgeoning connections in Japan’s design community, started asking her to write for them, and pretty soon, as Pollock puts it, “article begat article.” Before long, articles begat books as well.

A set of drinkware showcased in 'Japanese Design Since 1945: A Complete Sourcebook.'Image by Ryoukan Abe.

Last month, Pollock, who has contributed to GRAY, released her eighth book, Japanese Design Since 1945: A Complete Sourcebook, through Thames & Hudson. Organized into seven sections (six delve into specific design typologies including furniture, home electronics, tableware, and graphic design; the seventh is a focus on Japanese design titans), the book takes a comprehensive look at Japanese product design from post-World War II to the present day, and profiles more than 70 designers. “Part of the reason I felt an urgency to write this book is because there is no design museum in Japan,” Pollock says, “and so no central place to go and learn about design. The idea I had for organizing it came from an image in my mind of going through the sections at a design shop or museum. I wanted people to be able to walk into any part of the book and orient themselves immediately.”

A shot from 'Japanese Design Since 1945: A Complete Sourcebook.' Image by Tendo Co.


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