Naoto Fukasawa was born in Yamanashi, Japan. He graduated from Tama Art University’s Product Design Department. As an in-house designer, he engaged in the design of microelectronic devices including watches. In 1989, he went to the United States and joined IDEO, where he was mainly involved in the design of computers and electronics for companies in Silicon Valley, medical equipment, furniture and sporting goods. In 1996 he returned to Japan, where he set up and headed IDEO’s Tokyo office. He worked in a design consulting capacity as well as designing products for major Japanese companies. In 1999 and since, he launched the “Without Thought” design workshops, based on his own personal idea regarding people’s unconscious memories and actions leading the way to design. The exhibitions held to showcase the results of these workshops every year have won a number of design awards. Fukasawa’s wall-mounted CD player, designed for the first workshop, was put into production by MUJI, and won the German iF Gold Award and the British D&AD Gold Award, as well as becoming part of the MoMA New York design collection.
In 2003, he established Naoto Fukasawa Design. In the same year, he started up the electronic household appliances and sundries brand ±0; the brand’s signature product, the humidifier, won a G-mark Gold Award. He also unveiled the mobile phone INFOBAR for KDDI/au, which garnered a great deal of attention.
Since the establishment of his own studio, he has been collaborating with a number of major European and Scandinavian brands as well as some major Asian and Japanese brands. In the past, he has won over 60 awards internationally, including the American IDEA Gold Award, the German iF Gold Award, the German Red Dot Award, the British D&AD Gold Award, the Mainichi Design Award and the 5th Oribe Award. In 2007, he was accorded the title of Honorable Royal Designer for Industry (Royal Society of Arts). Fukasawa has co-authored such books as The Ecological Approach to Design (Tokyo Shoseki) with Masato Sasaki and Takeshi Goto, Optimum (Rikuyosha), Super Normal (Lars Müller Publishers) with Jasper Morrison and The Outline – The Unseen Outline of Things (Hachette Fujingaho) with photographer Tamotsu Fujii, and has authored An Outline of Design (TOTO Shuppan) and released NAOTO FUKASAWA, a compilation of his works, through Phaidon Press.
Fukasawa is one of the directors of 21_21 Design Site, as well as acting on the design advisory board of MUJI. He is a professor at Musashino Art University, a visiting professor at Tama Art University, and a member of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Research Group on Applications for Strategic Design.