After Being Led to Pursue What I Liked, There Was My Own Design

Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.1

PROTOTYPING REPORT

At the i-ROAD Touring organized by the Phase 7 Test Pilots, there were two i-ROADs that really stood out.
They both had a custom front panel and were driven by Mr. Toshikura and Ms. Umezawa.
So we interviewed the two pilots, who experienced ROAD KITCHEN, a customization service by using a 3D printer.
In Part 1, we trace how they came to give shape to their desired designs.
At the i-ROAD Touring organized by the Phase 7 Test Pilots, there were two i-ROADs that really stood out. They both had a custom front panel and were driven by Mr. Toshikura and Ms. Umezawa. So we interviewed the two pilots, who experienced ROAD KITCHEN, a customization service by using a 3D printer. In Part 1, we trace how they came to give shape to their desired designs.

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A Showy Design, or a Natural One?
Everyone Has His or Her Own Preference.

A Showy Design, or a Natural One? Everyone Has His or Her Own Preference.

―― Mr. Toshikura’s front panel is characterized by “mechanical” colors and shape, while Ms. Umezawa’s simply flowery; they are so different from one another. What were your original ideas?

Toshikura: The first time I saw an i-ROAD, I really liked its body design, both futuristic and pop in an anime-like way at the same time. So I decided that, to maintain the vehicle’s worldview, my front panel would have to be one that matched the i-ROAD. In considering a design, the first thing that came to mind was outer space. I thought of delicate coloring: the panel would appear black at a glance but blue when lit by light. I also wanted to use a star shape. This idea was the beginning of everything.

Umezawa: All I thought right from the beginning was my design would be “me” through and through. The cherry flower motif came to me right away. Cherry blossoms are special to me because I was born in April. I like them so much I named my child with the kanji character for cherry. Since my test piloting happened to fall on April, I wanted to run on an i-ROAD with a front panel decorated with cherry flowers under cherry trees in full bloom. And then I thought I wanted to express not just the vibrant beauty of cherry blossoms but also their ephemerality keenly felt when their petals start to fall. So I came up with a design with paper cutouts. If the “me-ness” was the surface theme, the hidden theme was Cool Japan. Considering the fact that Toyota is a Japanese company, too, I wanted my front panel to be clad in typically Japanese beauty.

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Designer’s Single Remark Turned Ideas Into Designs

Designer’s Single Remark Turned Ideas Into Designs

―― It was a group of 3D designers registered with Lancers, a cloud sourcing service, that actually gave shape to your ideas. We understand that the manufacturing process was based on direction sheets on which your ideas were written and Skype discussions. Did the designers sometimes offer their opinions?

Umezawa: Because 3D printers are not yet widespread, I had no idea what could and couldn’t be done. But the designers skillfully matched my design with the technical aspects of the process. So I was comfortable throughout despite the total lack of my 3D printing knowledge.

Toshikura: Initially I was worried if I could convey my idea, which was quite abstract, to the designers well. But while we were talking, one of the designers suddenly asked me if I liked Gundam. And it occurred to me, well sure, I liked Gundam. It was all thanks to this single word the designer came up with that the design direction was clearly set. They are true professionals in that they accurately surmise one’s feelings and then turn them into words that are easy to share.

Umezawa: I was having tremendous trouble deciding how to lay out the cherry flowers and petals, but one of the designers gave me advice, saying that arranging large flowers would give a pop impression and small flowers a delicate impression. So in the end, I arrived at randomly arranging flowers and petals in different sizes. Looking back, I realize that the designers skillfully led me to the end while respecting my own opinions.

Toshikura: I find it very interesting that Ms. Umezawa’s panel has a family crest along with cherry flowers. At which point did you decide to include the crest?

Umezawa: I wrote in my direction sheet without much thought that adding a family crest might be interesting, and the designers agreed, saying, “That would be great!” When I wrote that idea on the direction sheet, I wasn’t sure if it would work, but with the designers’ encouragement I included the crest. And I do think it really worked! Without the designers’ advice, I wouldn’t have been as happy with my panel as I am.

Continued to Part 2: Custom i-ROADs Are the World’s Most Adored Vehicles

TEXT BY Ryoko Sugimoto (contributor)
PHOTOGRAPHS BY Tomoyuki Kato

ISSUED : 1 July 2016

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Article Index

Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.2 “Custom i-ROADs Are the World’s Most Adored Vehicles” 8 July 2016

Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.1 “After Being Led to Pursue What I Liked, There Was My Own Design” 1 July 2016

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Article Index

8 July 2016

Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.2 “Custom i-ROADs Are the World’s Most Adored Vehicles”

1 July 2016

Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.1 “After Being Led to Pursue What I Liked, There Was My Own Design”

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