Japanese illustrator Naho Ogawa just released her first illustration travel book Hi Everyone, I’m Naho: The Discovery of Taipei by a Japanese Illustrator, in which she realized each step she walked in the streets, each cultural pieces she learned about Taipei with her own insights into hundreds of illustration works. Play Design Hotel is honored to be part of the wonderful book. In particular, the illustration of PDH that Naho produced is the room she stayed two years ago, with each furnishing items selected by her own choice, and with her own taste. With the vision of this Japanese professional illustrator, we recreated the Naho’s self-selection room, in which each furnishing item reappears from the illustration book, as the unique "Naho Selections Room."
Naho has a very gentle, unassuming manner; quiet, shy and very sincere. Right after the high school education, she moved to the United States to study art and design, and then went back to Japan, lives as an independent artist and freelancer. She does not belong to any institution or brand. With this, there seems a smooth channel between her and the world; and when she leaves her position, she’s open to the world. During our cooperation process, we found a sharp sense from this illustrator: the ability to capture the "details." Naomi Schor, an American scholar, has highlighted the importance of "details" in the development of Western aesthetics in the book Reading in Details. She argues “detail” is a political position to confront the totalized, grand narrative, and the second, it is gendered as feminine. Naho, with the identity of female illustrator, has presented the ability to destruct the unity and reconfigure the details. She’s capable of digesting the general impression of an object or a scene, and realizing them into warm, beautiful images with her unique sense of stroke and color. When we asked her about the image of Taiwan design, she constantly reminded of certain subtle moments. Such as the light and shadow in the room, the intertwined old and new of the streets, or the patterns of window frames and manhole.
Nonetheless, she confessed that she had no knowledge about Taiwan design before the trips. The experience with Play Design Hotel engages her in understanding Taiwan design more consciously, with that, she’s adequate to appreciate the profound details behind the minimalist design of the furnishing items. There she meticulously shared her appreciation of each furniture in Naho Selections Room. When we stepped into the room to have a brief interview with her, she first sat on the RU-ST007, a solid wooden bench. The wood carved cushion on the bench surface mimics the texture of a sofa, enables interesting visual effect. Two years from her first experience with the same bench, the wood texture has aged so well that makes Naho connected to the bench in a very personal way. She also noticed that an extra cuckoo in the clock can differentiate itself from the regular cuckoo clock with one, and makes it more lively; as well as the ingenious way that the light flows from the Dove Light, which impresses her a lot. Such "details" are the intuition she chooses and admires the furnishing items, as well as the way she connects with the design objects.
Naho feels the charm of the details from cultural surface or design form, and we believe it’s an important gesture to retrieve the value of design from the stereotyped cultural elements or design cliché. As Naho unweariedly records a variety of trivial objects (tea bags, signboards, manholes) and landscapes (all kinds of passers-by and architecture) in the streets, that, enables us to see from the details a vivid Taipei. We as well always look at the cultural details that relate people, and with which we learn to define what is meant by design or Taiwanese design. "Naho Selections Room" is a way of expression, from a language that we share with Naho in terms of design, culture, and travel. With this, we invite you to dialogue and explore more ways to tell with us.