24 / 9 / 2019


  • Hideki Yoshimoto, Grand Prix-winner of the Lexus Design Award 2013, commends the competition as a fantastic opportunity for young creatives
  • Yoshimoto has established the successful design studio Tangent and seen his winning lighting concept Inaho become a fully marketed product
  • Entries now being invited for the Lexus Design Award 2020 through to 14 October

Many young designers from around the world have been able to use the experience of participating in the Lexus Design Award as a springboard for developing their craft and building their profile. As entries continue to be welcomed for the 2020 edition of the competition, its first winner is using the example of his success to encourage others to seize the opportunities the award offers.

Designer and engineer Hideki Yoshimoto was the Lexus Design Award Grand Prix winner in 2013 for Inaho, an imaginative lighting concept designed to reflect the elegant swaying motion of rice in a paddy field (inaho means ‘golden ear of rice’ in Japanese). Today he is the founding director of Tangent, a London-based studio that has collaborated with major luxury global brands all over the world.

Inaho itself has been developed from a concept into a fully marketed product, included in the Crafted for Lexus collection of luxury items and featured in The LOFT, the award-winning airport lounge presented by Lexus and Brussels Airlines at Brussels’ international airport.

Yoshimoto’s achievements exemplify the aims of the Lexus Design Award to nurture up-and-coming talent and promote the way in which good design can improve people’s lives – the goal of ‘Design for a Better Tomorrow’.

“The theme for the 2013 award as ‘motion,’ and that is what first caught my attention,” Yoshimoto explained. “When the call for entries started, I was a doctoral student at the Royal College of Art in the UK and was writing my thesis on ‘Pulse and Rhythm’. Since my research revolved around how to incorporate reciprocating motion and repeated movements as design elements, the theme was perfect.”

He added that the fact the award finalists have their work on public display, hosted by Lexus at Milan Design Week – one of the most prestigious dates in the international design calendar – was another significant attraction. “As a student, the possibility of being endorsed by a well-known global brand offered a huge opportunity. But what was especially meaningful was the fact that the things Lexus believes in as a brand, I value as a designer as well,” he said.

The distinguished mentorship provided for the award finalists is an important element in the Lexus Design Award and in 2013 Yoshimoto was able to develop his ideas for Inaho into a working prototype under the guidance of the world-renowned designer Sam Hecht.

“This was my first experience of interacting with a designer in a practical way, so it was a truly invaluable opportunity. He worked with us less like a teacher or famous designer, but more like a member of the project team. He was constantly pushing and challenging us to explore ideas and wider possibilities. There were quite a few passionate discussions, and all this made for a huge growth experience for both the team and Inaho.”

His advice to any young designers thinking about entering the Lexus Design Award is emphatic: “Just do it, look what it has done for me! It has unlocked possibilities, driven my personal and professional growth in so many ways and boosted my career. And my relationship with Lexus is strong and ongoing.

“If anything, it offers you an unbelievable opportunity to showcase your brand on a world stage. What you do with that opportunity is up to you.”

Looking ahead, Yoshimoto sees immense possibilities and no limits to materials or scale in his future work and he is particularly keen to use his engineering background to explore how hidden technologies can be used to unlock new design potential. “Taking the seed, crafting a concept and a narrative around it and collaborating to bring the concept to life, that’s what excites me,” he said.

Entries for the Lexus Design Award 2020 are being accepted through to 14 October 2019; for more information and details of how to take part visit LexusDesignAward.com.