Delivering the "Now" of the GOOD DESIGN AWARD

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The Future Role of Design in “Day Service Center for Aged Persons ‘Verandah with Length of 52 ken’,” 2023 GOOD DESIGN GRAND AWARD


At this year’s Good Design Award Exhibition, stage events such as “GOOD DESIGN GRAND AWARD Commemorative Talk” and “Design Talk Session on Initiative and Activity for Region” were held. In the grand award commemorative talk, the winner talked about the architecture and design concepts of Verandah with Length of 52 ken (94 m), which he could not talk about in the finalist presentation.

On the day after Grand Award Selection and the announcement of the GOOD DESIGN GRAND AWARD at the Award Celebration held on October 25, the GOOD DESIGN GRAND AWARD commemorative talk was held with members Mr. Seiichi Saito, Chairperson, Mr. Jin Kuramoto, Vice Chairperson, and Ms. Yuko Nagayama, Vice Chairperson, as well as Mr. Hidekazu Ishii from ALL FOR ONE Co., Ltd., Grand Award Winner.


About Verandah with Length of 52 ken, 2023 GOOD DESIGN GRAND AWARD

The GOOD DESIGN GRAND AWARD is the PRIME MINISTER’s AWARD for the most excellent design among all the award-winning objects of the year. This year’s grand award went to Day Service Center for Aged Persons “Verandah with Length of 52 ken” by ALL FOR ONE Co., Ltd. and YAMAZAKI KENTARO DESIGN WORKSHOP Co., Ltd.

Verandah with Length of 52 ken is a symbiotic day service facility where people help each other in the community rather than relying on the system. It is a place where elderly people, children, and local residents can stop by easily, and serves as a community base for welfare where people can help each other in times of need.


The facility also has a cafe and a small private school called Terakoya. It is like a town where various people come and go. The L-shaped site is elongated from north to south. As its name suggests, Verandah with Length of 52 ken has a long engawa (Japanese porch) and wide space under the roof.

Engawa has the power of ambiguity of being neither inside nor outside

Regarding the idea of engawa, which embodies the concept of connecting the facility and the community, and connecting various people, Mr. Ishii and Mr. Yamazaki, an architect, had a desire to restore the forgotten culture of Japan.

Verandah with length of 52 ken consists of large engawa occupying about half of the room. Mr. Ishii describes engawa as a “strange” space that is neither inside nor outside, and suggests that its ambiguity is part of Japanese culture. He said he really likes culture that has such ambiguity, which allows anyone come and visit, giving examples of Japanese architecture such as doma dirt floors and shoji paper doors, in addition to engawa.

The engawa occupies about half of the room. When opening the large window, a connection is created to the outside.

Because the engawa blurs the boundary between the outside and the inside of the facility, it maintains space for each individual, and achieves easy access to inside and outside.

The website of YAMAZAKI KENTARO DESIGN WORKSHOP, introduces a daybed (a bed that doubles as a sofa) placed by the window between the cafe and the terrace as an approach to “boundaries.” Depending on the size of the daybed is placed in, the type of fittings, the materials, etc., a way of living is created that allows people to be alone and with others.


Operation design puts human connections and dignity first

Various efforts are being made to embody the concept not only in terms of buildings but also in terms of facility operation.

For example, they set up a candy store and hold workshops such as making a garden pond together to encourage local children to visit easily. In addition, it has been recognized as a playground in this area through cooperation with “Wakka,” an NPO that also supports children in Yachiyo City.


Also, he said that while other senior and child daycare centers tend to prioritize how to manage and how to avoid risks, it is important to maintain relationships with people and build relationships with the community.

“For example, the elderly people sometimes go outside the facility. But we don’t lock the facility. We sometimes stop them, or sometimes we walk after them. After a while, they don’t know why they went out, and come to us for help (laugh). Then, we walk together side by side, and go back home. The vertical relationship becomes a horizontal one.

Because it’s open to the community, sometimes someone notices an elderly person who has become lost, and brings them back.”

Business website of ALL FOR ONE Co., Ltd.

They make various efforts to operate the facility and build the relationships with people while other facilities tend to avoid risk, even if only a little, and shut down possibilities.

Remembering something lost through design

We have to be brave in order to design architecture and operations that prioritize human connections and dignity. The organic movement of Verandah with Length of 52 ken expanding from a brave step exemplifies this year’s Focused Issues theme, “Brave Attitude, Organic Design.」”

Ms. Nagayama, Vice Chairperson, said, “This year, many works go beyond convenience and rationality. Values have changed. For example, time-saving products have become less popular. Products to enjoy time spent have become more popular. I feel that people are trying to regain what they have abandoned or lost.” Regarding the transition of values, Mr. Saito, Chairperson, said, “All of this year’s finalist works has taken time and given much care.” Also, he spoke about the future role of design, saying, “Designers giving further care, and thinking about the users. I feel that this may be the current role of design.”

2023 Focused Issues Theme

Forward-looking design based on a long time horizon

Regarding new connections and discoveries created by taking time and giving care, the keyword of “how to understand the time frame” appeared in the “Design Talk Session on Initiative and Activity for Region.”

In this talk session, Ms. Ai Iishi, Ms. Motoko Tanaka, Mr. Katsuo Mizuguchi, and Mr. Jun’ya Yamaide, judges of Unit 18, “Initiative and Activity for Region,” took the stage to discuss trends and features that have emerged during this year’s screening process.


In the session, Ms. Iishi, Unit Leader, said, “I doubt a community effort will be successful after one attempt... I think activities will be continued to solve local issues. Under these circumstances, the shape of the community also changes with the times.”

“Therefore, I would like designers to think about whether they act over that time frame, and how much they can expand an event. And I want them to carefully nurture their processes and thoughts.” He talked about design based on a long time horizon.

This year’s unit review is posted on the GOOD DESIGN AWARD official website for each unit, as well as the unit of Initiative and Activity for Region. From the perspective of various fields, you can see the future direction of design. Please enjoy it!

2023 Unit Review:

Maki Ohashi

Editing & writing

A member of the editorial team for web media “.g Good Design journal.” She plans, edits, and writes content as a freelancer.