Saturday, 8 June 2013

In conversation with...pLAtOy's Akira Ishiwatari





A while ago an optician friend of mine told me he had found this REALLY niche eyewear brand on Facebook; he was on a mission to find some interesting frames, probably out of boredom or just bored of so many copy-cat eyewear collections and he succeeded!

This unique brand my friend was so excited about is called pLAtOy and the person behind it Akira Ishiwatari. If you have a look at Akira’s website you will quickly appreciate how unique his glasses shapes are.

Because I like nonconformists (a.k.a. fashion outsiders) I decided to interview Akira to find out what inspires him. This forced-out some translating skills (from Google-translated Japanese into English, ha!) I really didn’t know I had! And my Japanese readers are lucky enough to read the transcript from Akira’s emails below, enjoy!


Tell me a bit about you and your design background, where you live, what you like to do on weekends and what you do for a living?

私は現在東京から移住して千葉に住んでいます。そこは田園風景の残るとても住み易い街です。
週末には近所を散歩に出掛けて動植物や街並の写真撮影を楽しんでいます。
写真撮影は記憶より記録として残る資料なので思わぬ発見や造形が私のデザインに喚起されます。
私はここに20年程住んでいます。

I moved from Tokyo to Chiba 20 years ago. Chiba is a rural town and very relaxing to live in.
I walk around the neighbourhood on weekends, and I enjoy taking photos of animals and plants or rows of houses. I find photos very evocative, and I find a lot of design connections in them.


When did you decide to design eyewear?

私はこの眼鏡業界で30年程仕事をしています。

I have been working in the sunglasses industry for 30 years.


What is the meaning of your brand-name, pLAtOy?

Play Plastic Toy ... pLAtOy. 幼少の頃初めてオモチャを買って貰った嬉しさ気持ちを表現した
ブランドネームです。ユーザーが手にとってそんな気持ちになって欲しいと思います。
現在pLAtOyはプラスティック素材のみの商品展開ですが、金属素材を使用した場合ブランドネーム
は変わるかも知れません、ネーミングはもう決まっていますが企業秘密です。
今期ROCKETS by Akira Ishiwatariという新ブランドが動きだしますので期待して下さい。

Play Plastic Toy=pLAtOy. The name comes from the feeling of joy when you buy a new toy, it's a childhood expression. I want to convey the same feeling when someone picks up one of my glasses for the first time.

I will be launching a new brand called ROCKETS by Akira Ishiwatari soon, watch this spot!

artwork by Akira Ishiwatari









Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

生活の中で印象深い造形を眼鏡のデザインにどうやって取り入れるか考えています。
例えばナイフの造形をテンプルに表現したり山の稜線をイメージした眉のラインです。

Silhouettes inspire my designs. The shape of an eyebrow, the curves of a knife-blade, or a mountain ridge...

photo by Akira Ishiwatari



Where are your glasses made?

日本の千葉の海岸沿いにあるハンドメードの工場で制作します。
少数のエンジニア達がスローフードの様に手間隙かけて眼鏡を制作します。
pLAtOyは決して大量生産が出来ない日本で唯一のハンドメードです。
ホームメードのpLAtOyでしょう。

They are handmade in a workshop near the seashore in Chiba, Japan . There, a small number of craftsmen put a lot of time, passion and dedication in making frames by hand, it's like slow food...slow manufactory.
pLAtOy is far from mass production. It's handmade and feels homemade.


Who are or where the biggest influencers in eyewear (people or brands) in Japan?

日本で眼鏡デザインの影響を受けたのは白山眼鏡です。私が30年前に最初に働いたのが白山眼鏡です。

Hakusan glasses. I bought my first pair 30 years ago.


Do you have someone in mind when designing your collections, or does that come afterwards?

特に意識して考えていません。

No one in particular.


I like your graphics reminds me a bit of  Japan's 50's graphics (like YusakuKamekura's). Where does your graphic style come from?

東京で長年住んで居た場所は郊外の文京地区ですが近所には米軍基地が存在しました。
日本の和の美と西洋文化の美への憧れが私の描くイラストやデザインに影響をもたらしているでしょう。
Norman Rockwel等の写実的な絵画が好きです。

In Tokyo I lived for years near a US base. This is probably what influenced my style in illustration and design, it's the sum of Japanese and Western culture.
I also like realistic pictures, such as Norman Rockwel.

artwork by Akira Ishiwatari





What inspires you most?

When I look at a picture, for example a mountain or a flower I am inspired by the shape. These days, I am interest in the form and structure of various flowers.


What else would you have done if not eyewear?

Maybe Fashion design.


My favourite pLAtOy tyles are the RIVERGE, GLUM, PEARLY, CUTTER. Tell me where the idea came about for these designs?

CUTTERは文房具のカッターの刃を詰めた時に飛んだ破片の形状が眼鏡の眉部分に有る事をイメージした作品です。
PEARLYは真珠のシンプルな自然界の美しさを大胆に表現した作品です。他の装飾や石は使用せず真珠のみで構成して
アシンメトリーにする事により宝飾眼鏡にならないインパクトを重要視しました。
私のデザインラインは過剰な装飾は好みませんがコレクション毎に特別な商品を製作しています。

CUTTER is inspired by the fragments of a cutter or scalpel's blade. PEARLY expresses the plain beauty of a pearl but not as mere embellishment.

artwork by Akira Ishiwatari


Last question, do you listen to music when you work? if so, what is your favourite?

The moovie  sound track of Ghost World 




and 

Stan Getz&João Gilberto

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