Uchida Yoko is now marketing the projection table concept and technology. In January 2006, a virtually identical set-up was installed at the Mizuno head office building in Osaka.
UCHIDA CORPORATE MUSEUM 100 | 100
Uchida Yoko Co., Ltd. (Hatchobori, Tokyo 2004)
A small corporate museum built on the first floor of the Uchida Yoko office building in Hatchobori, Tokyo.
When icons are removed from the century of company history traced on a timeline on the wall, and placed on a table (projection table), information based on the product or business etc. in question appears in moving form.
Living World provided planning and design services for the project.
On the first (ground) floor of Uchida Yoko’s Tokyo showroom building in Shinkawa, there was a small room about five meters square, previously used to display the Almighty Desk “desk of the future” exhibited by the company at the Osaka Expo in 1970. Our task was to take this room and give it a new lease of life as a corporate museum.
Work began at the end of 2003. Using sketches, LW, Ryuichi Iwamasa from GK Tech, Nobuyuki Hirayama from Uchida Yoko plus design staff from the company’s cultural facility section tossed ideas around until mid-February.
The timeline on the wall is split at the year 2000, with 100 years either side. Half the space has been left blank so as not to simply present the path the company has travelled to date, but to leave scope for discussion on the future.
Uchida Yoko was founded in 1910 in Dailian, Manchuria. The characters for “yoko” are Chinese for a foreign-owned business. Initially the company manufactured and marketed stationery for clients such as the South Manchuria Railway Company. In the post-war period, when goods were scarce, for a time Uchida Yoko also sold temple bells, before moving on to teaching resources and office equipment.
Above the timeline are listed events from the wider social context of the time. Apparently the Mainichi Shimbun is the only newspaper in Japan in possession of a pre-war photo archive. (After WWII, those belonging to other companies were disposed of by the occupation forces, however the Mainichi Shimbun avoided this by hurriedly stashing its collection away in Osaka).
Major operations/projects and products for each year are expressed as icons.
Some icons on the wall are accompanied by acrylic cubes containing miniature figures.
Project manager Nobuhiko Hirayama of Uchida Yoko talking about slide rules. He takes the cube icon from the wall, places it on the center table and…
Information on the product and business in question appears on the black tabletop.
The attributes of the cube are identified using RFID (radio frequency identification) technology.
The display is easy to operate (just place the icon on the table), and works whatever the combination of icons and pace of presentation. The display is designed not to astound with its technical wizardry, but to encourage interaction.
The timeline on the wall is an important element of the overall impression created by the room, and for this reason, the editing and design for it were time-consuming tasks.
The title “The Road of…” was devised by Uchida Yoko president Shinichi Mukai. During building of the museum, the company decided to market the technology and concept, and currently a number of businesses and public facilities are looking at installing similar displays.
(open to the public by appointment since 2005)
Project management: Nobuhiko Hirayama (Uchida Yoko)
Design planning / direction: Yoshiakai Nishimura (Living World)
Art direction / graphic design: Tariho Nishimura (Living World)
Editing: Mie Uchida (Silent Office)
Editorial assistance: Akihisa Gojo
Exhibit construction drawings: Hiroyuki Hirabayashi, Takashi Hirai, Makoto Tsuruoka (Uchida Yoko)
Exhibit construction management: Yoichiro Mimura (Uchida Yoko)
Engineering direction: Ryuichi Iwamasa (GK Tech)
Programming/Engineering: Masashi Okubo Takahiro Shinkai (GK Tech)
Antenna unit engineering: Masayasu Hatta, Kazunobu Houri, Toshio Masuyama, Satoshi Otsuka (CABIN Industrial Co., Ltd.)
Sound design: Kimitaka Matsumae (Manual of Errors)
Motion sketch / image processing: Yasuko Seki
Special thanks to Tami Okano; Shigeomi Hasumi; Ryoichi Takagi, Nobuko Kobayashi, Mayuko Kanemune (Uchida Yoko)