Tokujin Yoshioka


Born in Japan in 1967 and the winner of a large number of awards, with pieces on display at the MoMA and the Cooper Hewitt in New York, the Victoria & Albert in London and the Vitra Design Museum. Tokujin Yoshioka trained along with Shiro Kuramata and Issey Miyake, opened his own studio in 2000, and has worked with Japanese and international companies such as Hermès, Toyota, BMW and Swarovski, designing showrooms and installations. As a result of the success of the Honey-pop paper chair in 2001, he began establishing increasingly close links with the world of interior design, developing projects for Driade, Moroso and Kartell, amongst others. The signature feature of his creations is their poetic, light, dreamlike quality; his products, interiors and installations are the result of painstaking, complex research carried out on simple materials, combined with experimental technology. The awards he has received include Design Miami, Designer of the Year 2007, the Wallpaper Design Awards 2008 and Elle Decoration International Design Award, Designer of the Year 2009.



As the messenger of the gods Hermes was able to breathe special life into things such that they playfully overcame the line dividing the world of symbols from that of the real. The messages he brings change reality. At any rate, Tokujin Yoshioka has just created a shop-window installation for Maison Hermès in Tokyo that would suggest just this. 

The installation is hard to top in terms of succinctness, as Tokujin Yoshioka simply places in the illuminated window two colorful silk scarves and two video projections of the face of a young woman, one from the side, one from the front. And whenever the lips of the image of the lady (she’s dipped in quality black-n-white) open and she lightly exhales the scarves move.

”Pneuma” was what the Greeks termed that gentle breath, an airy, ethereal substance that they believed moved the human lungs and caused our pulses to beat. Today, such pneuma is evidently a property of the media, as it is images that move real things. One need think only of the power of advertising, which uses images not only to praise wares, but thus indirectly decides the fate of companies and their employees.


This is a design to introduce a world of fantasy, Hermes’ lively scarves, which now represent one of the significant brand images. On designing a window-display at the 1F Maison Hermes, I intended to express people’s daily “movements” with a suspicion of humor. There are moments when I perceive a hidden presence of a person in the movements born naturally in daily life. In this installation, I created a space where one can perceive someone behind the scarves as if life were breathed into them. The window is designed with an image of woman projected on to the monitor. The scarf softly sways in the air in response to the woman’s blow.


Maison Hermes in Japan is experimenting with a shop front window art installation designed by Tokujin Yoshioka and produced by Satoshi Asakawa. Each window shows a Hermès scarf apparently being blown about by the breath of a Japanese actress. The illusion is achieved by venting air from a small hole in the wall near the mouth in the printed image.



Video link: Hermès × Tokujin Yoshioka 




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