Inclusive Design for Disaster


The third installment of the ‘Design Night Series’ talks took place last night at USJ. This informative and inspiring talk took us to new levels of understanding on the undisputed power of design…that and more motivation as we got to know more about the intelligent and philanthropic mind that took design to new places.

The Experience

Nosigner, the ‘mysterious’ pseudonym of the first class design director from Japan Eisuke Tachikawa, gave a clear and insightful keynote on design and it’s power to change the world. He reminded us of the fast paced change the world is experiencing, noting that therefore, “…we have to reinvent many things” and continuously come up with solutions to tackle the non-stop influx of new problems. He showcased some of his marvelous designs and how he was able to overcome problems harnessing the creative catalyst for effective solutions that is design thinking. Needless to say, we in the crowd were deeply impressed.
The core idea he delivered in terms of what is very important in good design is that integration is key. “You need a small and efficient team. Gather the right people…from across the range of professions…and have good dialogue,” He mentioned later on in the talk that “Everything can be reinvented”. We give narrow definitions for things that ought to have more diversity, limiting it’s usefulness and therefore we should move away from a wasteful consumption state of mind. A coke can can become a stove…a plastic soda bottle can be cut in half to become a cup, and people can benefit by the added thought, care and creativity.


Getting to the heart of his talk, Nosigner divulged the OLIVE project.
“I wanted to help and I posted ideas online,” he said, mentioning how he tried to share ideas of how one could use everyday materials to help in the post disaster efforts. “Many other people in Japan were doing the same thing…so I thought that if I can make a place to gather these great ideas it would really help.”
If you remember, last year, on March 11, 2011 at 14:46, Japan experienced a massive earthquake followed by a Tsunami that killed many people and totally destroyed lives and wiped out families. The world cringed, tears came forth and hearts were galvanized to help. A mere 40 hours after the horrendous incident, OLIVE, an online wiki platform to share creative ideas and help living in disaster areas, was born, spearheaded by Nosigner. Today over 200 designers are actively sharing ideas. OLIVE got over 1,000,000 views in just one month and volunteer staff quickly translated the site. To conclude, OLIVE serves as a beacon of hope in 4 languages: English, Korean, Chinese and, of course, Japanese.


The Q&A was like a family discussion affair. We huddled into groups and discussed the keynote and asked Nosigner questions about design, the mysteries of his name, his work and more on what we can do to build up other’s lives harnessing the power of good design.
It was overall a very informative and inspiring experience we will remember, and dare I say more than one heart has been moved into action.
By Mukeh Kanagbo, 1st year Communication & Media student

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