・Organized a redesign competition for local specialty products in collaboration with Ishigaki City
・Took on the challenge of building fans of the community through the process of manufacturing products.
・Taiwan - Ishigaki City - Tokyo. Project teams were formed that transcends the seas.
Situated about 1900km away from Tokyo, Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture is a semitropical island full of attractions, with the beauty of nature and serene and gentle inhabitants. In order to further convey and disseminate the allures of this Ishigaki Island, we carried out the “USIO Design Project” to redesign the island’s specialty products in collaboration with Ishigaki City Office.
Can the island still be a place that continues to be loved by everyone while maintaining its precious environment?
- Please tell us what inspired you to start the project.
Mr. Kosasa (Ishigaki City Office)：Our island is located 400km further south of the main island of Okinawa and 270km from Taiwan. Yaeyama Islands are a group of small islands, richly endowed with nature, where people “live within their means,” with daily necessities within close reach. Although some agriculture and small-scale manufacturing exist, the core of the island’s economy is tourism.
Thorough disclosure of processes; “creating topics,” which exhibits another dimension of Ishigaki Island.
- What kind of proposal did Loftwork make?
Nakata (Loftwork)：I still remember the day when the office buzzed with excitement at the news; an inquiry came from Ishigaki Island! (Laughter) “Roooots Specialty Products Redesign Project,” which immediately inspired Mr. Kosasa, is a project that was held four times since 2008 in a manner to coincide with international art festivals (Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale/Setouchi International Art Festival) that took place in local areas. The project was intended to rejuvenate local industries by inviting visitors to art festivals held in regions struggling with depopulation, declining birth rate and aging population and selling local specialty products as souvenirs that were redesigned for target visitors.
In that respect, Ishigaki Island is “a very lively region,” already enjoying high popularity and recognition as a tourist spot with a number of people moving to the island. Of course there are issues specific to the region, but the USIO project needed messaging and a new approach in the island’s context, while using the same scheme as in Roooots.
So, the proposal we made was to make the redesign process thoroughly open using a special Web site and social media. While taking the form of a project of “creating things,” we aimed for “creating topics” to show another side of Ishigaki Island, by consistently providing detailed information on what happened while creating things. Events involving networks of creators were also proposed in conjunction with the team Taipei of the digital fabrication café “FabCafe,”
Collaboration with FabCafe Taipei and Taiwan Design Center aimed at strengthening cultural exchange with Taiwan
- Why was the collaboration with Taiwan born and how was it realized?
Mr. Kosasa：Firstly, Ishigaki Island is geographically close to Taiwan, and there have been immigrants and cultural exchanges for a long time.
similar to brown rice milk and shisa (Okinawan lion dog) in Taiwan. We hoped that the collaboration with Taiwan will lead to an opportunity to freshly explore identities that are unique to Ishigaki and Yaeyama but different from those of Japan and the main island of Okinawa.
That’s why collaboration took place in each phase, such as inviting Mr. Chen Wenlong, CEO of Taiwan Design Center as a judge, actively organizing events and disseminating information for Taiwan in collaboration with FabCafe Taipei and eventually nominating a Taiwanese designer to work on “Ishigaki Tuna.”