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—— Please give a brief summary of what you were doing prior to coming to Yamaha
Jens: Initially I wanted to be an artist or graphic designer, but I realized that I wanted to create physical products that people could use. So I changed my plans and started to study product design. After graduation I started my own design company where I designed products for many different companies.
Jose: My father was both an industrial designer and a sculptor, so I had an interest in design, which I studied at a university in Valencia. After I graduated I worked as a designer for furniture and interior products, designing things like chairs and tables. I have also exhibited my work in Spanish booths at international exhibitions at the request of the Spanish Ministry of Industry.
Yves: My father was an engineer. That led me to study engineering for two years, and then another two years studying product design. Looking back now, that was a good thing, because for me, "engineering design" and "product design" are two very similar things. After university I first took a job at a design studio in Paris, then at another in London. During that time I was involved in designing everything from huge industrial machines to small items like eyeglasses.
Thomas: Early on I have been inspired to work within the design field or some sort of creative field, especially inspired from my uncle whom are a graphic designer. Initially I found that industrial design was the direction for me to go and I was also triggered by the opportunity of working with design abroad. Therefore I have also been gaining professional experience from both the US and Sweden before coming out to Japan.
—— How did you come to work at the Yamaha Design Laboratory?
Jens: I had an interest in Japan before I came here, and I liked Japanese design, so when I heard that Yamaha was recruiting I decided that I wanted to join. I found the fact that Japanese and Danish design share a focus on minimalism and functionalism intriguing.
Thomas: I was very interested in Japan as well. There are a lot of great products coming out of Japan, and I was curious on the development process behind. Yamaha is a brand with consistent products, and a lot of creative strength. I thought that the chance to work "inside" such a great brand would be a good opportunity for me. More than anything, I wanted to live in Japan and learn about the country from the inside.
Jose: While in Spain I saw the Silent Violin from Yamaha and was very impressed with its advanced design. After that I found out that Yamaha was looking for designers and I thought it would be good challenge, so I decided to come to Japan. I had mainly been involved in designing furniture, but furniture and musical instruments have many similarities—as you can see if you look at a piano, for example. However, musical instruments involve more interactive behavior—performance—than chairs, which simply involve sitting, and I felt they would be a good challenge.
Yves: When I was working in the design office in London, I stumbled upon some Yamaha product designs in a magazine and thought, "This is what I want to do." Those were for the EZ-TP and some other audio products. Soon afterwards I noticed that Yamaha was recruiting designers and applied straight away. Music-related products held a great appeal for me, and I was interested in how Japanese companies managed the design of products that are globally accepted.