International Furniture Design Competition

Comments by the Judges

Minoru Nagahara

Judge

2011 marks the 8th International Furniture Design Fair Asahikawa. 21 years have passed since the three-yearly fair started, and the world has moved from the 20th to the 21st century. This period has seen nations around the world competing for power in politics, economics and military affairs. We, on the other hand, are competing in a different arena: craftsmanship. Craftsmanship is proof of humanity, and through this design competition we are not only designing items for our daily lives, we are addressing the most important global issues: bringing peace and protecting the environment.

This is especially important in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which ravaged Japan in March 2011. With the huge earthquake and tsunami and resultant nuclear crisis, it has been the worst series of crises Japan has ever seen. The main selection process for the competition part of IFDA 2011 had been scheduled for March, and even after postponing it for a month, the European judges were unable to come to Asahikawa. We therefore held the judging by teleconference so that the European judges could participate. It is significant to note that the panelís final decisions were unanimous.

The terrible disaster taught us that science and technology have their limits and that human intelligence is not infallible. However, we have also received something priceless. We have received so much support and encouragement and donations from all over the world. This has humbled us and made us strongly believe that the world is united. We will continue to have hope for the future and work to maintain a safe environment for our society. We would like to continue this event to give children a dream to aspire to, to motivate to younger generations and generate more business opportunities.

I would like to conclude my greeting as the representative of the IFDA organizers by expressing my sincere gratitude to the institutions involved in the fair and to those who have believed in and supported this event for so many years. We are also deeply grateful for the sponsorship of Quebec Wood Export Bureau, Canada Wood and the support of the government of Quebec, Canada, which allowed us to add the Maple Leaf Award.

Minoru Nagahara

Minoru Nagahara

Chairman, IFDA Organizing Committee, Japan

Minoru Nagahara was born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1935. He started his career in the furniture industry in 1950 in Asahikawa. In 1963, he went to West Germany as a technical trainee with a program sponsored by the Asahikawa City, where he received training at three diffrent furniture manufacturers. During his stay in Germany, he also studied as an auditing student at Holz Technikum, a national technical university in Rosenheim.

After coming back to Asahikawa in 1965, he worked for Asahikawa Industrial Arts Institute. In 1968, he established Interior Center Co., Ltd. (present Conde House Co., Ltd.). He now serves on the board of directors as the company chairman, and is also the chairman of the Asahikawa Furniture Industry Cooperative. Additionally, he is currently a guest lecturer at the School of Art and Design Technology of Tokai University.

Furthermore, he has also worked in the posts of chairman of both the Hokkaido Furniture Industry Cooperative Association and the Federation of Japan Furniture Manufacturers Association.

Minoru Nagahara was awarded the Japan Interior Designersí Association Award in 1980, the Kitaro Kunii Industrial Design Award in 1989, the Hokkaido Industrial Contribution Award by the Hokkaido Government in 1993, and the Hokkaido Shimbun Cultural Award by The Hokkaido Shimbun Press in 2007.