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Makoto Koizumi

Makoto Koizumi (1960) is a multidisciplinary designer from Tokyo, whose projects range from retail spaces and office buildings to domestic appliances and furniture. In 1980 he started studying woodworking with a view to becoming a furniture designer. He then worked as an apprentice at an interior design agency. He set up Koizumi Studio in 1990 and opened Koizumi Tool Shop as a showroom for his designs in 2003.

In his designs he places the emphasis on tradition and craftsmanship. His work is a combination of architecture and product design and can be defined as lifestyle design. From chopsticks to architecture: he is always involved in creating the design. He works with a range of materials, but, because of his training, he has a preference for wood. These days he travels to production sites throughout Japan in order to work in partnership with local factories. He draws his inspiration from and incorporates the unique characteristics of the technology, material and the atmosphere of the regions in which he works. He has been presented with a number of awards for his work over the years, including the Mainichi Design Award 2012.
‘Because I am a furniture designer by profession, I wasn’t able to use the techniques I would normally employ for this project. So, to begin with, I created an initial design using the Miffy money box as a smaller model. Next I made a full-size version in card based on the initial model. Then I produced a drawing and the furniture workshop set to work using the drawing as a reference. When I saw the white Miffy statue, I was struck by its similarity with the cultural associations in Japan, where the colour white is regarded as sacred and symbolic of purity, innocence and the strength of the family (hakubi), which are conveyed by things such as white clothing and white wood (shiraki). I wanted to present the white Miffy statue in a Japanese context. I used Japanese shiraki (white cedar wood) in an attempt to create a setting that depicts home, clothing and furniture all at the same time. The title of my Miffy statue is hakoirimusume [Little Daughter in a Glass House]: a little girl who is so precious that you want to put her in a little box so you can keep her safe.’