Motomi Kawakami
1940 Born in Hyogo prefecture
1964 Graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (Majored in Industrial Design)
1966 Graduated from Master course of the same university
1966-69 Professional practice at Angello Mangiarotti Architect Office, Milan
1971- Established Kawakami Design Office

Visiting Professor at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tama Art University

Design work specializing in product, interior, space and environmental design.
Collaboration in local industry promotion projects and professional education.

Exhibitions, Lectures, etc.

1969 White Chapel Art Gallery “Modern Chairs 1918-1970” Exhibition (London)
1970 Good Design Exhibition “Global Eye” (Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo)
1971 Good Design Exhibition “My Seat” (Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo)
1978 The National Museum of Art, Osaka “The Form of a Chair - From Design to Art”
1982 Joint Exhibition in Five Galleries (Furniture)
Gallery LUFT (Tokyo), BUSHI showroom (AXIS, Tokyo), SKIPPER showroom (Milan), ARFLEX showroom (Milan), DESIGN 19 (Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo)
1984 “Design in Japan - Tradition and the Present” exhibition organization and installation (Moscow)
1987 One-man furniture exhibition “Hybrid - Light and Shade” (Gallery MA, Tokyo)
“Contemporary Scandinavian Crafts” exhibition coordination and installation (Yurakucho Seibu Art Forum, Tokyo / The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto)
1988 One-man exhibition “Fragments of Form - Furniture and Lighting” (Creators Gallery, Yurakucho Seibu, Tokyo)
Symposium "DESIGNERS WEEK-END” panel speaker (Brussels)
1991 One-man furniture exhibition “Industrial Symphony” (Quest Hall, Tokyo)
1995 Philadelphia Museum of Art “Japanese Design – A Survey Since 1950”
1996 Wood of Finland “Innovative Industrial Wooden Products” competition
juror and lecturer (Finland)
1997 Ministry of Trade and Industry “Good Design Award” Head of General Jury
1999 “New Perspectives on Industrial Design” exhibition coordination (The Museum of Modern Art, Toyama)
2000 “Masterpiece Chairs of the 20th Century - 200 Chairs by 200 Designers” (Kobe Fashion Museum)
One-man exhibition "Material Message” (OZONE Gallery, Tokyo)
2005 “Pioneers in the globalization of design” (Musashino Art University Museum & Library)
“ARITA-HOUEN” Exhibition (Spiral Hall, Tokyo)
2006 One-man exhibition “MOTOMI KAWAKAMI–Design with Precision and Flexibility” (Paramount Bed Showroom, Nagoya)
“Japanese Cool 1 (Timeless & Contemporary)” (Danish Design Center, Copenhagen)
“Japanese Cool 2 (Designers Chair & interior)” (Bella Center, Copenhagen)
2007 “Tokyo Design Premio” Exhibition (Super studio Piú ART POINT, Milan)
2008 6 Designers make the “Furniture to use it for myself” (Design Gallery Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo)
“International Furniture Design Seminar 2008” Sponsoring of The Japan Foundation (Hongik Univresity, Seoul), (Dong-A University, Pusan) Korea
“Foodesign Japan by Guzzini” (Trinnale di Milano, Palazzo di Arte)
“KANSEI—Japan Design Exhibition” (Musee des arts Decoratif, Paris)
(Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, N.Y.)
2009 “Japan Design Selection 2009” (Triennale di Milano, Parazzo di Arte)
“101st Anniversary Works in Progress for Mihoya Glass” (AXIS Gallery, Tokyo)
2010 Hida Shunkei, a Set of Bowls “Lacquer Ware for Daily Use” (Design Gallery, Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo )
2011 MOTOMI KAWAKAMI CHRONICLE 1966–2011 Exhibition (Living Design Center OZONE)
Tokyo Chair City 2011 (Tokyo, Marunouchi Building)
2012 Japanese Architects and Designers from Studio Mangiarotti - Tavola Rotonda – (Milano)
ANGELO MANGIAROTTI La Fiolosofia del Maestro opere dell’ Architetto Angelo Mangitti
ell suo rapporto con gli allievi giapponesi (Tokyo, Istituto Italiano di cultura di Tokyo)
Design in Wood Symposium + Potential of the woods seeking from architectural and design point of view (Nagano, WAKITA MUSEUM OF ART)
Planning and supervision of Japanese regional industry now Vol.1 Woodworks from Asahikawa Exhibition (Design Gallery, Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo)
2013 VISTOSI – A 500-Year Old Glass Company Meets Japanese Design Tokyo, Axis Gallery
sozo-comm in Milano Salone 2013 exhibition ”SEOTO” (Rho-Fiela)
Planning and supervision of Japanese regional industry now Vol.2 Lacquer industry in Iwate –Joboji Lacquer- Exhibition (Design Gallery, Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo)
2014 JAPAN CREATIVE ambiente (Frankfurt)
TOKYO DESIGNERS WEEK in Milano Salone 2014 exhibition “O-bath” (Padiglione Visconti)
sozo-comm in Milano Salone 2014 exhibition “KISARAGI” (Rho-Fiela)
Symposium “Beijing Design Week” lecture (Beijing)
“Manila FAME” lecture (Manila)
2015 SOZO-COMM “HIDA COLLECTION” (Rho Fiera/Milan/Italy)
TOKYO DESIGN WEEK in Milan (Tortona/Milan/Italy)
ta yu tau possibility of “HINOKI” and modern Japanese bath (le bain gallery)
JAPAN CREATIVE in SFF (Stockholm/Sweden)
2016 WOOD FURNITURE JAPAN AWARD 2016 Grand Prix (KISARAGI), Director General of the Forestry Agency Award, Overseas Audience Award (O-bath mugen / infinity)
Japan Creative NY NOW 2016
SOZO-COMM in Milano Salone 2016 Hida Sangyo Co.,Ltd. “HIDA COLLECTION 2016”
IFFT / interior lifestyle living 2016 SHARED-O (Tokyo Big sight)
Supervision of Metalworking of THE FUTURE OF JAPANESE TRADITION Exhibition (Event Square, Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo)
Supervision of Patching up Lacquer patching – Baked brush / Iron clamp (Design Gallerry, Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo)
2017 Kanazawa Collage of Art Emeritus Professor
JAPAN DESIGNER WEEK in Milan “O-bath” (Triennale di Milan, Parazzo di Arte.)
Japan Creative Exhibitions Milan (Palazzo LITTA / Milan)
Tradition and Design make the future Exhibition (Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Crafts Cente)
Supervision of Higo Inlaid Exhibition (Design Gallery, Ginza Matsuya, Tokyo)
2018 German Design Award 2018 Winner
JAPAN DESIGNER WEEK in Milan “Cradle” (Tortona / Milan / Italy)
Universal Design Consumer 2018 (Germany)
Good Design Award 2018 “Cradle” (The Chicago Arthenaeum / Chicago, U.S.A.)
Good Design Award BEST100 “STICK”
“Glass exhibition designed by 10 people” Sugahara craft glass x Japan design committee (Matsuya ginza design gallery / Tokyo)
2019 iF DESIGN AWARD 2019 “Cradle” (Germany)
JAPAN DESIGNER WEEK in Milan “STICK” (Tortona / Milan / Italy)
Thank you for being born “This is your chair” exhibition (Supervision, Matsuya ginza design gallery / Tokyo)
Angelo Mangiarotti Reality of construction (Italian culture center / Tokyo)
21_21 DESIGN SIGHT special exhibition, “Secret source of inspiration designers” hidden sketches and mockups (21_21 DESIGN SIGHT / Tokyo)
German Design Award 2020 Winner [Cradle] (German Design Counsil)
2020 CHICAGO GOOD DESIGN AWARD 2021 “Cazetora-chair” / U.S.A.
2020 GERMAN DESIGN AWARD 2020 “Winner” “Cradle” / German Design Council
“Cha-no-yu and the designers” exhibition / Matsuya Ginza Design Gallery, Tokyo
2021 CHICAGO GOOD DESIGN AWARD 2021 “Cazetora-chair” / U.S.A.
Reddot winner 2021 “Cazetora-chair” / GERMANY
Japan Creative exhibition / Seibu Shibuya, Tokyo
IFFT+TALENTS exhibition “wooden chairs” / Tokyo Big Sight

Books and articles

“The Beauty of Bridges II: Road Bridges Landscape Handbook” 1981, Japan
Road Association)
“GACHI - The Furniture of Motomi Kawakami” 1988, Rikuyousha
Article in “Dictionary of Furniture” 1986, Asakura Shoten
Article in “Dictionary of Design” 2000, Heibonsha


  • 14th Milan Triennale, Gold Prize
  • Japan Interior Designers’ Association Award
  • 1st Prize, The Open International Chair Design Competition (The American Institute of Architects)
  • Japan Package Design Award for Super Excellence (85), Excellence (86)
  • Mainichi Design Prize
  • Kitaro Kunii Industrial Design Award
  • Tanaka Prize, Japan Society of Civil Engineers (for “Tsurumi Tsubasa Bridge”)
  • Yokohama Civic Design Award
  • Prize for Excellence, Wood Chairs in Living Exhibition
  • iF Design Award (Germany)
  • Gold Prize, Good Design Award
  • Long Life Design Prize, Good Design Award
  • Japanese Society for the Science of Design (JSSD) Excellent Design Award 2010

Academic society / Social activity

JAPAN DESIGN COMMITTEE / Chairman (2006-2009)
Japan Industrial Designers’ Association
Mainichi Design Prize / Selection committee (1996-2000)
Japan Institute of Design Promotion / G mark Selection examination committee (1986–2012) / Integrated examination chairman (1997)
Japan Institute of Design Promotion / Chairman (2013-2022)
TOTO GALLERY, MA / Project committee (1985-2010)

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