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The Second C.H.C. Marvel Design Competition
Subject: Comfortable Washroom Features
The subject of the Second C.H.C. Marvel Design Competition was “Comfortable Washroom Features”. Entry deadline was March 10, 1994. There were over 90 entries and the final judging took place at our new corporate office on May 19, 1994. One First Prize (Gold), two Second Prizes (Silver) and six Third Prizes (Bronze) were awarded. Winning entries were displayed at Architectural Institute of Japan Exhibition Hall from June 10 through 17, 1994.
Chairman/Chief Judge: Masayuki Kurokawa
Judges: Motomi Kawakami (Product Designer), Shigeru Uchida (Interior Designer), Toshihiko Ishibashi (Architect)
Gold Medal (Prize ¥1,000,000)
Ohashi reason three stones / Masanori Haneda(A free lance)
Silver Medals (Prize ¥300,000)
Genta Kanayama（An art land）
Bronze Medals (Prize ¥100,000)
Look after Hosoda;（Look after Hosoda）
Yutaka Murata（Toda Construction）
hon-ushi’93（A Niwa architecture drawing office）John M.Lennon（The third building stage）
Keiichi Kodaira（Keiichi Kodaira Building Res. Inst.）
Yann NUSSAUME（Kyoto University department of engineering）NOBUYOSHI SUTO（Kyoto University department of engineering）
Hiroshi Kikuchi（Science University of Tokyo department of engineering）
Masayuki Kurokawa (Chairman/Chief Judge)
The theme, “Comfortable Washroom Features” must have been easier to interpret than the last ambiguous one, “Restrooms in Commercial Facilities,” since many excellent and fruitful works were submitted to this competition. Still, the approaches were varying from philosophical concept to concrete fixture suggestions, which again reminded me of the extensiveness of the meaning of washrooms and restrooms.
The Gold prize winner by Yumiko Ohashi and Masanori Haneda was using water drop as a motif, capturing the characteristic of water at its best. The poetic colors and shapes also suggested ritualistic and mysterious aspects of the hand washing act, which made this excellent design a first prize winner, agreed unanimously by all judges.
One of the designs for the Silver by Genta Kaneyama was an idea for a fold-out sink that could very well be developed as a product, and it showed beautiful forms both when in use and not in use.
Another Silver winner by Koichi Ishihara was more philosophical, to describe the meaning behind the washrooms by the thoughts and visions going through one’s mind as if they were floating out of his body.
Washrooms are connected directly to our mind as well as our physical function. It’s the place governed by a fluid and soft element of water, which is sometimes used for religious purpose as “Baptism”, or for cleansing ritual of the spirit. Water as an element contains many inspirations within, and that must have stimulated many imaginations of the applicants. It was a very interesting and fun judging process.
Shigeru Uchida (Judge)
The theme for this competition seemed specific enough to narrow down the direction of the ideas, yet there were many different perspectives presented in the submitted designs. Some deliberated the true meaning of hand washing and toilet activities, some focused on the ritualistic side of the washroom, while others pursued the completeness of the fixtures, or the environmental aspect in the cities and at the parks. I was pleasantly surprised by the contents and fruitfulness of the designs submitted this time.
During the judging process, the design called “a Drop” from the Gold winner, by Yumiko Ohashi and Masahori Haneda, drew great attentions from the judges, which I also was very impressed since the very first stage of this selection. The symbolic use of water as drops coming down from the sky was brilliant in imagination, execution, and presentation using limited means.
The Silver winner, “Switch”, by Genta Kaneyama, has a great potential to be developed as a working product, compared to many other fixture designs submitted this time. With sharp and comfortable forms, it uses a mechanism that folds itself neat and tidy. I would definitely like to see it commercialized in the market.
Another Silver winner by Koichiro Ishihara used sophisticated illustrations to portray restroom area, normally used for bodily function, to incorporate visual information and function, which was another attractive perspective found in this competition.
Motomi Kawakami (Judge)
It was a good idea that more specific theme like this (“Comfortable Washroom Features”) was chosen for the second time around. Not as ambiguous as many other common themes in design competitions, its concreteness set clearer goal for the designers. I really enjoyed seeing more straightforward designs of the washroom fixtures this time.
The Gold winner, by Yumiko Ohashi and Masanori Haneda, especially evoked a sense of romanticism in describing our relationship with water, instead of focusing on the function of hand washing too much. It was as if our fundamental memory of water was presented in the design.
There is nothing more dubious and fragile than the forms of the objects, today. The phenomenon of differentiation in the late 80’s wiped out the true strength of the forms of the objects.
However, forms are quite important in pursuit of any design. Of course it is the thoughts that create forms, but to materialize a thought into a form takes more than just the thought itself. This competition was ideal in that sense, because many entries not only presented their thoughts, but also gave those thoughts a certain form.
Toshihiko Ishibashi (Judge)
I suppose the innate meaning of hand washing activity is in the feeling of cleanliness. Therefore, the most important factor in this competition was to understand the cleanliness and deliver it in the design. Some used water and its flow, or glass as symbols, others used technologies to create cleanliness.
The Gold winner by Yumiko Ohashi and Masanori Haneda expressed the flow of water in the most delicate way, which was also beautiful to the eyes.
The Silver winner by Genta Kanayama was praised for its simplicity and tidiness of the design among the other over exaggerated expressions. There were also many designs in traditional Japanese style, but the Bronze winner by Yutaka Murata made its mark by capturing the hand washing activity as a ritual.
Another Bronze winner by Migiwa Hosoda showed a feminine softness in her design by using curves. The other Bronze winner by Hiroshi Kikuchi was offsetting the floors and walls to create a unique washroom space.
The restroom space is usually regarded as subsequent to the other living spaces, and to come up with innovative ideas for such a space seemed a little confusing for everyone at the last competition, but it was much improved this time. By putting toiletry activities as a primary subject to consider, this competition might have provided a great chance for getting out of stereotypes in architectures.