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The 309th Exhibition KIGI Exhibition: Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabe

May 08, 2012 - May 30, 2012

Design: KIGI
Design: KIGI
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In May ginza graphic gallery (ggg) will host an exhibition of the works of Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabe, the duo behind KIGI co., ltd.

The design work of Ryosuke Uehara is a nimble combination of finely conceived ideas and superlatively executed expression. Forming the core of Ueharafs work, however, is his discovery of a unique formula for each project, achieved through an ongoing interchange between creative musing and communication, a simple structure based on that formula, and the design techniques which give form to that formula. It is this core that allows him to continue producing creations possessed of firmly planted roots.

Yoshie Watanabe creates works based on a unique worldview, best represented in her picture books, Brooch and Un Deux. The world generated by the straightforward way of expression present in all of Watanabefs designs enfolds everything she creates, from textile patterns to her numerous packaging designs. Her eternally flowing fount of creativity is like music that has no end; and though at times it may overlap with something else, it maintains a constant balance and continues to reverberate strongly.

Uehara and Watanabe first began working jointly in 1999. Together they have been involved in a number of distinctive and ground-breaking projects, including direction at D-BROS – a venture begun by DRAFT Co., Ltd. to pursue new approaches to products from the standpoint of the graphic designer – or their branding work for gune nana coolh and gPASS THE BATON.h

This exhibition, which coincides with the establishment of their new company, will introduce the projects that Uehara and Watanabe have been involved in up to the present. The exhibition title, gKIGI,h means gtrees.h The tree is a symbol of creation, and the pair chose this name for their new company with the hope that their creative gtreeh might one day grow into a lush gforest.h The works on display, spanning across all genres, probe new approaches in graphic endeavor, and they not only represent the pairfs creative output to date but also a new starting line for KIGI.

In tandem with the exhibition, an anthology of their works is also planned for publication.


ginza graphic gallery (ggg)
DNP Ginza Building, 7-2, Ginza 7-chome,@Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel: 03-3571-5206
Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. on Saturdays)
Closed on Sundays and holidays.
Admission free.

Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabefs Forest

Yoshie Watanabe is like a broad-leafed tree. Her works, like the flowers of an apricot tree, are soft and delicate. Raised in the mountains, from a young age she made acquaintance with the trees, the flowers, the animals, and of course, with fairy-tales. In the works she produces, this sensibility and the view of nature that dwells deep in her heart are expressed with gushing exuberance, creating a cosmos all her own.

Ryosuke Uehara is more a conifer. Like a spruce tree, his works are stately and robust. While he possesses a level of sensitivity characteristic of a person raised in the northern provinces, he is simultaneously audacious and manly. Guts and determination are his watchwords. He thinks big, an idea man of the first order and obsessive to a fault over details. It is these traits which allow him, with perfection, to give form to the world depicted in his mind. His ever-evolving designs harbor unlimited potential.

Together, Watanabe and Uehara are like siblings. Through the interaction of their respective sensibilities, they influence each other, enabling them to soar by leaps and bounds. They created KIGI as a pair. I wait with great anticipation to see what new designs, heretofore unknown, will emerge from their forest.

Satoru Miyata



Ryosuke Uehara: Born in Hokkaido. Graduate of Tama Art University.
Yoshie Watanabe: Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Graduate of Yamaguchi University.

After many years employed at DRAFT Co., Ltd., in January 2012 Mr. Uehara and Ms. Watanabe both left their positions and jointly established KIGI co., ltd.

The two have worked on numerous projects together, including art direction (for PASS THE BATON, une nana cool, caslon, etc.) as well as product design for D-BROS. The line of vinyl flower vases they created in 2003 for D-BROS, entitled ghope forever blossoming,h can be found for sale in major museum shops and other select stores throughout the world. It has currently reached its 10th series.

In addition, Uehara is responsible for all graphic design work for the THEATRE PRODUCTS fashion brand, and in 2009 he won the 11th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award for this work. Watanabe has published two picture books, gBroochh and gUn Deux,h incorporating her unique worldview; gBroochh has received high acclaim in major international competitions, winning Gold Awards at One Show Design and from the NY ADC.

As KIGI, the two will continue to work with DRAFT and D-BROS while also branching out into new avenues of their own.


ginza graphic gallery (Contact: Ms.Takagi) Tel: 03-3571-5206


Ryosuke Uehara, Yoshie Watanabe
gtime paper for V&A Museumh 2010

Ryosuke Uehara, Yoshie Watanabe
ghope forever blossomingh 2011

Ryosuke Uehara, Yoshie Watanabe

Ryosuke Uehara
gTheatre Productsh 2008/2009

Yoshie WatanabeiText. Yayako Uchidaj
gBROOCHh 2006

Ryosuke Uehara, Yoshie Watanabe

Ryosuke Uehara

Ryosuke Uehara, Yoshie Watanabe
g10th ANNIVERSARY Clematis no Okah 2012