Dwell 24: Hiroto Yoshizoe

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By Dwell
A graduate of Tokyo's Musashino Art University, designer Hiroto Yoshizoe, 32, balances commissions for hotels and restaurants with personal forays into product design.

In 2017, he was Grand Prix winner of the Lexus Design Award for PIXEL, a wall of hollow building blocks that channel and transform light. The year before, he was a finalist for Plants-Skins, a ceramic planter that changes color when the soil is dry. "I had a mortar pot, and I knew when to water my plant by how wet the mortar was," he says of the idea's genesis. To get a similar effect, Yoshizoe used hydrochromic ink, which he knew about from his family's book-bindery business.

We asked the breakout designer about who inspires him, his most treasured possessions, and what daily rituals get him in the zone. Read the answers below.

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"I enjoy exploring innovative materials," Yoshizoe says, "but I like having an analog dimension. Technology is important only in the engagement it allows the design to have with people."

"I enjoy exploring innovative materials," Yoshizoe says, "but I like having an analog dimension. Technology is important only in the engagement it allows the design to have with people."

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Current location: Tokyo, Japan

Something you always carry with you: Pen, iPhone.

First childhood memory related to design: Drawing on cardboard larger than myself at my father's book binding factory; swimming in a pool of paper off cuts waiting to be thrown away.

Hiroto Yoshizoe's Plants-Skin planters use hydro-chromic ink to reveal underlying color in the ceramic when the soil inside is dry.

Hiroto Yoshizoe's Plants-Skin planters use hydro-chromic ink to reveal underlying color in the ceramic when the soil inside is dry.

Daily ritual to get into a creative space: Viewing scenery, finding reasons behind the scenery; secretly viewing faces of people on the streets, and finding out what they are staring at. 

Person you most admire: My father and mother.

This chart outlines the process behind Yoshizoe's use of hydro-chromic ink in Plants-Skins.

This chart outlines the process behind Yoshizoe's use of hydro-chromic ink in Plants-Skins.

Talent you would most like to have: Talent to speak multiple languages.

A word or phrase that is guiding you currently: To discover and share wins over creating.

The concept for PIXEL "is very similar to bricks," says Yoshizoe. "A singular brick is small, but using them in mass can create architectural environments. This structure absorbs the scenery around us, and through reflection eliminates unnecessary factors, allowing the viewer to witness the fundamental beauty of light and shadow."

The concept for PIXEL "is very similar to bricks," says Yoshizoe. "A singular brick is small, but using them in mass can create architectural environments. This structure absorbs the scenery around us, and through reflection eliminates unnecessary factors, allowing the viewer to witness the fundamental beauty of light and shadow."

Your most treasured possession: People in my life.

Advice you would give yourself five years ago: Draw more.

Inspired by the moon, 1.625m/s2 explores the process of light. "The objects shine as they float within the air, as if they are free from gravity," says Yoshizoe. Its usage is flexible: it can be placed near your favorite floor lamp, or by a window flooded with sunshine.

Inspired by the moon, 1.625m/s2 explores the process of light. "The objects shine as they float within the air, as if they are free from gravity," says Yoshizoe. Its usage is flexible: it can be placed near your favorite floor lamp, or by a window flooded with sunshine.

Describe your work in one word: Time and space.

Favorite or least favorite design trend: I don't have any, since I tend to view design trends with a neutral mind.


You can follow Yoshizoe on his website or on Instagram.

The short film at the beginning of the article was directed by Shunsuku Watanabe. You can follow him on his website or on Instagram.

Meet the rest of the Dwell 24, our selection of up-and-coming designers to watch in 2018.