Yoshihiko Mamiya

Sakai City in Osaka is now rediscovering its vitality in keeping with various initiatives throughout the country such as regional vitalization. One of the instigators, who is introduced here, is Yoshihiko Mamiya, a spatial designer. What Mr. Mamiya did to actually communicate the attraction of Sakai City was to create SAKAINOMA, a café with accommodation with the themes of space, time and the space between the lines. *See this website for more details on SAKAINOMA http://sakainoma.jp

Why has Mr. Mamiya, who has created total designs for spaces such as restaurants, commercial facilities and offices all over the country with Osaka as his base, now become involved with town planning in Sakai?

“One reason is because it was the place where I was born and brought up. Another is that Sakai should be an attractive city with its fusion of old and new culture but that this has not yet been properly communicated,” says Mr. Mamiya, who we asked for a keyword. It is “era”.

“I don’ think anyone would have been interested in SAKAINOMA five or ten years ago. Of course, five years later and it would have been too late. Tourism literally means to look at the light of the area you are visiting in Japanese. I believe that in order for people to feel some kind of attraction, novelty and stimulation are required but that timing is also extremely important.”

“Sakai has many historical and cultural assets but if you are just looking to see objects with historical value, Kyoto is nearby. However, in the modern day, it is not only the actual physical building that people are looking for; there has also been an increase in the number of people wanting to know what kind of experience they will have at a specific place. Furthermore, the internet is now commonplace and it has become natural for young people to collect information and have fun on this platform. These young people can actually visit Sakai and be surprised or make new discoveries by coming into contact with the culture that has been around in this area since ancient times. For example, during the era when it was fashionable to take trips or travel, we may not have been able to find any value in experiencing things in themselves.”

Communicating things that people will demand in the near future and reinterpreting from a modern point of view. This is precisely the creative strength of Mr. Mamiya along with the perfect timing of revitalizing the city of Sakai.

When we think about enlivening an area through tourism, we first of all think about methods to show the appeal of nature or the countryside or to create new symbols such as events or commercial facilities. However, Mr. Mamiya creates new things in Sakai without using either of these methods.

“When I was young, it was the era of counter culture so the worst thing was to be the same as someone else! I was also fickle so it wasn’t fun unless I was always creating something new.”

“Creating something from nothing is not the be all and end all. As we renovate houses and other buildings, by changing our viewpoints and the shape of things, it is possible for anyone to create something new.”

SAKAINOMA is precisely a place and a space full of new things for young people. These are: 1. The time actually spent in the city of Sakai is new. 2. The time that matures through the urbane house-type space is new. 3. The space between the lines (depth) in that you will not understand until you have actually visited rather than using the internet or social media is new. By integrating these three spaces and while creating new things, we are producing, on the one hand, the attraction of nostalgia for older people.

“Culture is not something that can be created quickly. In saying that, old things can be left behind by the times. This is precisely why we require new ideas and ways of thinking such as renovation of era and culture. I think that it is my job to continue to provide shape to things that we cannot yet see.”

We asked Mr. Mamiya about his picture of the future for SAKAINOMA and Sakai.
“It is not achieving something by myself. I think it will be good if it is possible to give a good impression of Sakai and increase the number of bases using SAKAINOMA as a starting point. But at that stage, I will already be working on something else new because I am fickle!”
When we hear this, it may be the appeal of Mr. Mamiya’s style that makes us start to be even more interested in Sakai.

Ideas and ways of thinking to renovate the era and culture greatly influence the band that Mr. Mamiya has been in since his days at high school.

“I have confronted buildings from the aspect of spatial design. Buildings comprehensively accumulate culture by existing for a certain period of time. On the other hand, music, fashion and art creates culture with the power of each instant.”
At a glance, precisely because Mr. Mamiya has these two conflicting elements as his own set of values, he may be able to create the things and concepts demanded by the era.

He also told us the following.
“There is a low dining table in the Nishiki living room of SAKAINOMA, which is an accommodation facility, and people sleep in futons. For young people, it is an extraordinary space as well as an ordinary experience of spending time at home and sleeping. To make the point, low dining tables and futons were completely normal parts of our lives in the past but inviting guests into the living room was something that only happened on high days and holidays. This integration of the ordinary and the extraordinary cannot be experienced in ephemeral events. There is significance in places, spaces and time that are rooted in lifestyle precisely because we can experience culture.”

OVE is also active in creating bicycle culture starting with bikes and linking them to food, books and towns. On the one hand, precisely because we are in an era in which it is said to be difficult to create new things, we may be able to create new things that have not been seen before by integrating the ordinary and the extraordinary. We get the feeling that Mr. Mamiya has taught us that this exact accumulation becomes the culture of the future taking root in our lives.


Yoshihiko Mamiya

Born in Osaka in 1958. Started infix design inc. in 1989. Involved in total design of all genres of spaces from interior to construction including spatial design of restaurants and commercial facilities for the sale of goods all over Japan. Not constrained by particular formulae or principles, he expresses the mood of the era and pursues its latent universality. Currently works as a professor of design at Osaka University of Arts and continues to make proposals for spaces that go beyond the era while making the utmost effort to train the younger generation.


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