Uplift + Evolve Collab
We had our first business trip to Japan with Evolve Collab, visiting several of our current clients in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Fukuoka.
First stop was Kotobuki. Last year we had a creative workshop together, and since then we have been involved in working on a few unique projects. The most recent of these projects is the Portland Bench Competition. We are creating a bench design to enter into this competition and it turned out to be the perfect time to check out the prototype. As we took a look we were also able to talk further about the project’s next steps.
Visiting Suntory Design Studio
Next we went to visit an old friend of ours at Suntory Design. I have known Mr. Minaguchi, the head of Suntory Design, for a few years. He fully renovated/transformed Suntory Design’s work space with all the inspiration he got when he visited Portland creative offices a few years back. The new Suntory Design studio was designed and 3D rendered by Mr. Minaguchi himself. It strongly resembles Portland creative studios, with high ceilings, adjustable tables, and open assigned space.
I have visited many Japanese companies with design studios, and I would say Suntory Design’s studio is definitely one of the best environments for designers.
After our presentation we shared lunch at the big middle table with all of the other Suntory designers.
We met with another creative team, Ransom LTD, and a few other clients we have worked with previously. The creative team from Ransom LTD just happened to be in Japan for another project and we ended up having a great dinner together.
The next day we left early for Nagoya to meet with Brother at their world HQ. Evolve has worked with the team at Brother for a few years, and a sample piece from the production that they were working was just recieved.
We were invited to the Brother Museum with all of the sewing machines from all over the world dating back to the 1800. There were hundreds of sewing machines, each with its own great history.
We were so excited to visit Kyoto on this trip. Through the support of Cos Kyoto and Human Forum we were able to meet with City Councils from both the prefecture of Kyoto and the City of Kyoto. We discussed how to create stronger bridges between the creative communities of Kyoto and Portland; brainstorming possible creative events, volunteer opportunities, and international internships between the cities.
Creating an international makerspace to bring creatives together
Evolve Collab moved to their final meeting at Panasonic in Fukuoka while I went to meet with Mr. Taniguchi from Taniguchi Komuten, a company that has been renovating old farm houses (古民家) and townhouses（町家） in Otsu City. Otsu is one of my favorite cities in Japan, and is only two stations away from Kyoto. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains and Lake Biwa, with a long history of being a center of trade both by water and by land to other areas of Japan.
Mr. Taniguchi is now starting a new project called Craft Collage. The project entails building a space where various makers and craftsmen from all over the world can work in a in a place to make connections and inspire each other. We will be a part of this project once the building is completed.
What a trip in one week. Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Fukuoka; meeting with leading Japanese companies, and with City Councils to create dialogue for a better future.
Evolve Collab is one of the leading creative agencies in Portland. I truly believe that by connecting someone like Evolve with Japanese companies, something positive will come out in the future. We are happy to make the first steps toward a positive collaboration.