Nov 05, 2016

YOY: Design with a Twist

Naoki Ono and Yuki Yamamoto’s award winning design studio with a difference.
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Naoki Ono and Yuki Yamamoto are YOY

‘We’re trying to create a new story between space and objects.’

As you look over the work and awards of YOY design, this statement holds particular resonance. A painting becomes a place to sit. A light bulb seemingly sways in the wind without actually moving. Wallpaper peels away to reveal the LED lighting panel underneath. YOY are not so much creating a story with objects, but changing our fundamental understanding of an object itself.

YOY is the combined talent of Naoki, an architectural design graduate from Kyoto Institute of Technology and Yuki, a spatial designer and graduate in Industrial design at Kanazawa College of Art. The pair joined forces in 2011 and have since won many awards for their Tokyo based design studio, including most recently the Design Intelligence Award at the NYCX Design Awards.
Lighting has been an area of focus for the studio, with the majority of their designs challenging traditional assumptions of what a light should be.

‘Shadow’, a vase shaped lamp looks like a normal vase during the day, but when turned on in darkness creates a shadow, or more aptly put, a light where its shadow should be. It’s clever appearance works by cutting a shadow shaped hole out of the back of the vase with an LED planted inside.

‘Light’ while turned off has a sense of incompleteness about it, with its low profile design making it almost anonymous. Turn it on though and it projects the shape of a lampshade onto the wall, strangely returning the sense of normality back to the object, albeit with YOY’s usual extraordinary methods.

‘Swing’ continues their innovation with light. Look at it from one angle and the optical fiber elongating the bulb at the back makes the pendant light look as if it’s swinging. Look from another angle and it’s like time itself has frozen.

Shelves look like drawers emerging from a wall with ‘Drawer’, while in ‘Blow’ shelves take the form of papers blown by a gust of wind.

Their goal is to continue to ask questions and challenge the purpose of objects as we understand them. While it’s fair to say that these questions are more shouted directly into the face of the viewer than subtly whispered, this fits with their style perfectly. Their work has an innocent humour born out of a desire for their designs to be accessible by everyone and while they stay true to this objective, their design will certainly never be uninteresting.