25 July 2018

Taro Yamane, sanwacompany
A design style defined by colour, form and essentiality

sanwacompany, founded in Osaka in 1979, proposes a simple, refined, and beautiful design that does not have any superfluous elements. This means a design that is simple but, as a mode, is conceptually rich, and one that asserts itself. The company thinks that in today’s lifestyles, whose focus has been changing from material affluence to spiritual satisfaction, minimalistic design serves as the ideal design concept.

Interview to Taro Yamane, sanwacompany President

This is your second debut at the Salone del Mobile.Milano: what sort of tradition and kitchen design do you bring to Europe from Japan?

For our second exhibition at EuroCucina, we intended to bring what we have been developing in the Japanese market for a past few decades. One is Japanese craftsmanship in fine details and another is compact kitchens optimized for comparatively small Japanese households.

“The Impact of Compact” is the new concept we saw at EuroCucina: what needs did you spot to inform it?

As we have been pioneering the compact kitchen design in Japan, we see the current urbanization worldwide and the subsequent increase of small apartments in the urban areas as a great opportunity to showcase our products, which offer various solutions for these situations.

How did your meeting with Alessandro Mendini come about and where did the innovative idea behind AM 01 spring from?

During our first EuroCucina in 2016, I met Mr. Mendini at our exhibition booth. I enthusiastically explained what we were pursuing as a company. Mr. Mendini was so kind to accept our offer for collaboration even though we were an unknown company in Italy back then. Talking about AM 01, the concealed functionality behind the expressive exterior was proposed by Mr. Mendini as an answer to our request, which was to design a compact kitchen with Minimalism in mind.

Tell us a bit about your meetings with Elisa Ossino and Bestetti Associati? How important is the Italian sense of design for you?

As in the case of Mr. Mendin, I also met each of them at first and had discussions about our idea for kitchens. Ms.Ossino has such an amazing sense of creativity not just in styling but also in product and space design, and Mr. Bestetti vision extends far beyond ordinary architectural design. Although we have different cultural backgrounds, we've enjoyed working with them so much.
We've always admired Italian design in furniture and kitchen design as well as in architecture. We believe there are some similarities between the Italian sense of design and the Japanese one. That's probably why our collaborations for EuroCucina 2018 was rewarded with such a great prize.

You’re one of the three companies to win the Salone del Mobile.Milan Award: surprise or satisfaction?

It came to us as a total surprise. Before the show, we were anxious about how people would react to our products because no one ever exhibited compact kitchens only. The actual reaction, however, was overwhelming. People loved our kitchens and the space design of our booth. We are so thankful to the designers as well as all the parties involved in the project.