Sunday, January 10, 2010


Kansei is manifested in three ways. The first is the expression (hyojo) of an object, or its appearance. This includes color, texture, material, and surface treatments: all the qualities visible to the eye.

The second is the creator’s gesture or intent (dosa), or the body’s physical responses to the object. These become apparent upon using or touching the object—how it feels in the hand and how its fragility or strength dictates one’s movements.

Finally, there is the heart (kokoro)—the emotions an object stirs. This psychological dimension is the most abstract, but it’s also the most prized by Japanese designers, who speak of the feelings of recognition, attachment, or playfulness that an object elicits in its user, perhaps because it functions so well or is pleasant to look at.

From Metropolis + Japan, a special supplement to the December 2009 issue of Metropolis

Photo: Takayama Wood Works

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