Welcome to #SPAN16, Google Design’s annual conference exploring the connections between, and conversations around design and technology. This year, we livestreamed our events in both Tokyo and Los Angeles, so that people everywhere could enjoy the day. In celebration of the Tokyo event on October 6, we put together a handy cheat sheet—three things you might like to know about each of our speakers plus all the talks from the day.
スパン（#SPAN16）へようこそ。スパンとは年に 1 回、デザインとテクノロジーの関係を探り、対話を重ねる Google Design 主催のカンファレンスです。今年は、世界中の皆様にもお楽しみいただけるよう、東京とロサンゼルスの両都市で行われたスパンの模様をライブ配信でお届けいたしました。また、10月6日の東京での開催を記念し、講演内容とともに各登壇者について三点、ポイントを分かり易くまとめました。
SPAN Tokyo Schedule
You can now watch each of our speaker's talks by clicking "play video" below.
Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham | play video
Klein Dytham Architecture
The pair founded a multidisciplinary design practice, Klein Dytham architecture (KDa), in 1991.
Both expats living abroad in Tokyo, the duo conceived PechaKucha Night. PechaKucha means “chit chat” in Japanese and began as a way for designers to meet and share work. Each presenter adheres to a simple presentation format where 20 images are shown for 20 seconds each.
KDa’s contribution to the HOME-FOR-ALL initiative was inspired by a large straw sun hat held aloft by trees. (The building also won the grand prize in the culture category at the World Architecture Festival.)
PechaKucha | play video
Throughout the day, we hosted short-form talks in the classic 20x20 PechaKucha style (see Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham above).
Eiko Nagase | play video
Nagase co-founded the interactive agency AQ with Chris Palmieri in 2004.
AQ organizes a bi-monthly meetup called Ride the Lightning, where designers and developers share knowledge with one another.
Eavesdrop on AQ’s office culture via their public heyhey, and read some of Nagase’s thoughts on Japanese type on Medium.
Toru Kase | play video
He first studied economics before attending the Kawasawa Design School in Tokyo.
James Riney | play video
He’s on Forbes first-ever 30 Under 30 Asia finance list.
Ryoichi Tsunekawa | play video
Tsunekawa is the owner and founder of DharmaType (as well as Flat-it type foundry, Holiday Type, and Prop-a-ganda).
Meet Bio Sans, a super neutral sans-serif family designed by DharmaType.
Tsunekawa switched to type design after studying architecture.
Bin Sugawara | play video
- Debuted his poetry in 2011 with a collection titled Naked on a Veranda, the Rabbit and his Minx, published by PRE/POST books.
- Sugawara writes a regular poetry series for the publication Brutus.
- Sugawara hosted “Public Readings to Make You Go to Sleep” at the Zojoji Temple in Tokyo, a grand Buddhist temple built in 1393.
Sato Shintaro | play video
Shintaro’s “Tokyo Twilight Zone” series captures a unique view of the city at night, with long exposures shot from fire escapes.
He started out as a staff photographer for Kyodo News.
“I’m fascinated with the colors and light at night,” says Shintaro. “I think in these pictures we can see everything—whereas in daytime maybe we cannot.” Read more in this interview with Japan Exposures.
Motohiro Inaba | play video
Traditional Japanese Confectioner
Japanese sweets are called wagashi. Wa means Japan and gashi means sweets. Inaba’s sweet shop is named Wagashi Asobi.
Wagashi Asobi uses only traditional ingredients such as azuki beans, sesame, roasted soybean flour, soybeans, sticky rice, regular rice or rice flour.
Kotaro Watanabe | play video
Takram Director and Context Designer
A creative agency based in London and Tokyo, Takram specializes in everything from hardware and software development, to architecture and digital art, as well as organizational communication and education.
Takram is the branding director for Morioka Shoten, a tiny bookstore which sells only one book at a time.
Shenu: Hydrolemic System is a prospective gadget Takram designed to help humans survive in a post-apocalyptic world where water is scarce.
Material Design Panel | play video
Designers from Google talk about what’s next for Material Design. Get to know a little bit about each of the panelists by checking out some of their writing and speaking engagements:
Nick Butcher, Designer, Designer Relations - “Material Improvements"
Yuin Chien, Designer, Material Design - “Reimagining Google Fonts”
Dave Chiu, Designer, Material Design - "Material Design: Structure and Components"
Sharon Correa, Motion Designer, Material Design - “Making Motion Meaningful”
Bethany Fong, Designer, Material Design - “Design Reviews: Going beyond the surface”
Mike Tyka | play video
Tyka joined Google in 2013 to study neural networks, both artificial and natural. He explores the possibilities of artificial neural networks for creating art.
Inspired by the human nervous system, artificial neural networks are computer programs composed of units that receive and send information. In contrast to conventionally programmed computers, these networks are trained to infer what to do on their own, a process known as machine learning.
In 2009, Tyka and a team of artists created Groovik’s Cube, a functional, 35-foot-tall multi-player Rubik's cube.
Naohisa Inoue | play video
Inoue is a surrealist painter whose paintings are set in Iblard, a fantastical land of his own creation. He was born in Osaka in 1948.
He created reference and background art for the Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart, and also provided a cameo appearance as the voice of Minami.
Keiichi Tanaami | play video
Keiichi Tanaami was born in Tokyo in 1936 and graduated from Musashino Art University.
In the 1960s he started making psychedelic animation, silkscreen, cartoon-like illustration, collage, experimental film, painting, and sculpture.
Tanaami’s work is deeply influenced by the nightly hallucinations he experienced both after the World War II firebombing of Tokyo, and during a four-month hospital stay when he was recovering from pleurisy in 1981.
Panel on Publication Design | play video
Lucas Badtke-Berkow, creative director of Paper Sky. Paper Sky is a lifestyle and travel magazine. In addition to the publication, Paper Sky has an active club culture as part of its brand including five groups—mountain, bicycle, food, book, and Japan—which meet several times a year in various locations throughout Japan to highlight the country’s rural communities. Paper Sky also started an online travel shop.
Joanna Kawecki, editor-in-chief of Champ. Champ is a biannual magazine based in Tokyo and London, focusing on “curiosity and investigations into creativity and cultural insight,” and features art, language, architecture, fashion, poetry and prose.
Kiyonori Muroga, editor-in-chief of Idea. Idea magazine is a quarterly publication based in Tokyo, focusing on graphic design and typography.
Note: Video of this talk is not available.
Craig Mod is New York and Tokyo-based writer and designer. He was a product designer at Flipboard, a TechFellow award recipient, and a 2011/2012 MacDowell writing fellow.
With collaborator Dan Rubin, Mod will publish Koya Bound: A book of photography from Japan’s Kumano Kodo. Kumano Kodo is a 1,000+ year old world heritage pilgrimage path.
Yo Shimada | play video
Yo Shimada founded Tato Architects in 1997.
The kanji character for Tato, 外 (pronounced “soto”), means outside or outsider, referencing Shimada’s perceived status as an “outsider” architect.
Shimada makes star-shaped structures out of Post-it notes, that can be stacked and layered in a number of ways.
Yuri Suzuki | play video
Born in 1980, Yuri Suzuki is a sound artist, designer, and electronic musician living in London.
Masamichi Udagawa | play video
Masamichi Udagawa co-founded Antenna Design in 1997, with Sigi Moeslinger.
Antenna has worked on a variety of transit designs—including subway cars—for New York City’s MTA and Washington DC’s Metro.
Prior to founding his studio, Udagawa worked as a product designer for companies like Yamaha Product Design Laboratory, Apple and Apple's Advanced Technology Group, as well as Ideo.
Deyan Sudjic | play video
The best way for guests to channel all the inspiration from SPAN was to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. Workshops weren’t filmed, but you can still get to know what our workshop leaders are all about.
Pop-Up Portraiture with illustrator Mariya Suzuki
Mariya Suzuki is perhaps best known for her site-specific drawings, which are often rendered on discarded paper coffee cups.
The Art of Correspondence with Mail Artist Ryosuke Cohen
Ryosuke Cohen started his mail art project Brain Cell in 1985.
Fabrication Design with Akiko Moriguchi of FabCafe Hida
FabCafe, referring to both fabrication and fabulous, is a place where people can come together, get inspired, and use digital fabrication tools such as laser cutters, and 3D / UV printers. There are branches all over the world including Tokyo, Barcelona, Toulouse, and Singapore.
Composer, Sound Designer
Note: Video of this event is not available.
Hirokazu “Hip” (or sometimes “Chip”) Tanaka is a prolific composer and sound designer who created the musical scores for various Nintendo games including: Super Mario Land, Dr. Mario, Metroid, Kid Icarus, and Tetris among others.
Tanaka has been president of Creatures, a video game development company (and part owner of Pokémon), since 2001.
He has been in a number of rock bands, including the Shampoos. Check him out on Soundcloud.