White by Kenya Hara

“White” is not a book about colours. It is rather Kenya Haras attempt to explore the essence of “White”, which he sees as being closely related to the origin of Japanese aesthetics—symbolising simplicity and subtlety. The central concepts discussed by Kenya Hara in this publication are emptiness and the absolute void. Kenya Hara also sees his work as a designer as a form of communication.

Published by German publishing house Lars Müller Publishers, also available in German, in this book Kenya Hara compares this form of communication with an “empty container”. In visual communication, there are equally signals whose signification is limited, as well as signals or symbols such as the cross or the red circle on the Japanese flag, which—like an “empty container”—permit every signification and do not limit imagination. Not alone the fact that the Japanese character for white forms a radical of the character for emptiness has prompted him the closely associate the colour white with emptiness.

Kenya Hara, born 1958, is a Japanese graphic designer and curator. Hara has been the art director of Japanese brand Muji since 2001 and designed the opening and closing ceremony programs of the Nagano Winter Olympic Games 1998. He published Designing Design, in which he elaborates on the importance of “emptiness” in both the visual and philosophical traditions of Japan, and its application to design. In 2008, Hara partnered with fashion label Kenzo for the launch of its men’s fragrance Kenzo Power.

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