Noriko Kawakami     



Design Journalist

Associate Director of 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT 


Up-to-date news:


Served on judging committee for design and art competition, including

Good Design Award  2017, 2018, 2019

The JAMES DYSON AWARD  2018, 2019

Tokyo Midtown Award,  Art competition   2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Toyama Design Competition  2016, 2017, 2018 





Guest-curator of Japon-japonismes 1867-2018,  Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs,Paris. 

Delivered a lecture on notable projects on contemporary Japanese Design and craft at Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs.


Nominator for the  Beazley Designs of theYear 2018,  London Design Museum


Speaker for the design seminar  at  SEOUL DESIGN FESTIVAL 2018.

Delivered a lecture on notable projects on contemporary Japanese Design, organized by the Japan Foundation, Beijing, 



Delivered a lecture on notable projects on contemporary Japanese Design, organized by the Japan Foundation, March 2017, Beijing.

Served on judging committee for design and art competition, including Good Design Award, Tokyo Midtown Award 2017

Toyama Design Competition 2017 and DSA Design Award 2017.



Participated in official talk event at the London Design Biennale, September 2016.

Delivered lectures on trends and background of Japanese Design, organized by the Japan Foundation, November: Beijing; December: Guangzhou.

Served on judging committee for design and art competition, including Tokyo Midtown Award 2016Toyama Design Competition 2016 and DSA Design Award 2016.


Currently Noriko Kawakami undertakes interviewing, writing, project direction and design exhibition curation, while also serving as lecturer at several universities. She participates in numerous round tables and talks for general audience.





Wochi Kochi magazine, published  by the Japan Foundation, 2017

with Mr. Yasuhiro Suzuki (artist) Regarding the London Design Biennale 2016

⇨ see 


TOKYO MIDTOWN STYLE magazine, 2017 (text in Japanese)

⇨ see 


Highliting Japan,  published by the Government of Japan, 2017

⇨ see 






After an editorial career at AXIS design magazine from 1986 to 1994, Noriko became a design journalist in 1994.

For the next two years she participated in various Italian-Japanese design projects with the Domus Design Agency, serving as External Editorial Director of the Domus Academy Research Center.


Kawakami is author of many books, including Realising Design (TOTO Shuppan 2004), and co-author (with Oki Sato) of Ura kara nozoke-ba omote ga mieru (Peeping at the Back to Reveal the Front) (Nikkei Business Publishing 2013) and Nippon Product (Bijutsu Shuppan-sha). She is also editor of Tendo Mokko (Bijutsu Shuppan-sha 2008).   See link to the introduction of Realising Design.

Kawakami co-curated Wa: The Spirit of Harmony and Japanese Design Today (2008) and Japanese Design Today 100 (2014), both commissioned by the Japan Foundation for worldwide tours. She was Curatorial Advisor for the official Japanese entry at the London Design Biennale 2016, entitled A Journey Around the Neighbourhood Globe (artist: Yasuhiro Suzuki). /  

⇨ See link to Wochi Kochi Magazine by the Japan Foundation 


Kawakami now works as Associate Director of 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Tokyo, where she co-curated The Fab Mind exhibition (2014).  

 See link to New York Times article


Kawakami is much sought-after as a guest speaker, and is Lecturer at Nagaoka Institute of Design, and Kuwasawa Design School.

She is also Special Lecturer in the Graduate School of System Design at Tokyo Metropolitan University.

She is a member of various professional bodies, including the Architectural Institute of Japan, the Japanese Society of Social Psychology, and the Japanese Society for the Science of Design.




Writings (recent years) :


「ART AUREA」 2016-1、 p.50 - p.55、

「Otto Künzli in Japan」 Photo: Miriam Künzli.  「ART AUREA」


「AXIS」 vol.191( February, 2018), p.90 - p 95

JINS Design Project with Jasper Morrison, Aiming for the ultimate standard.


「AXIS」 vol.190( December, 2017), p.100 - p.105

Philippe Apeloig- Capturing the moment and instilling graphics with movement.


「AXIS」 vol.188(August, 2017 ), p.98 - p.103

Utilizing art and design to eliminate the gap between medical treatment spaces and daily life.