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Makiko Higashi

MA work

The Door Lock – The Aesthetics of Inefficiency

Today’s commercial design standards grow increasingly preoccupied with promoting 'efficiency' and functionality to satisfy the tastes of a fast-paced, disposable society. Consumers are reduced to a passive role, conditioned to simplified design responses. I consider this 'efficient' approach to be a systemic ethical dilemma, prompting the slow demise of our collective cultural, traditional and spiritual legacy.

My aim is to incorporate more sustainable design concepts that engage both user and object in a more meaningful and memorable exchange.

The aspect of how this 'inefficient' exchange can survive within an efficient function is explored through the daily life object, the door lock. This creates an evolving relationship between user and object by highlighting the subconscious process of learning and eventually memorising the feeling of turning a key in our daily lives. The user is more challenged in utilising this product at first, but through the interactive process needed to get used it, an even more efficient result is promised at the end. The engagement required by users makes them feel more human and enhances the human relationship to it. This product can be in an alternative present.


  • MA Degree


    School of Communication


    MA Information Experience Design, 2015

  • Esteemed cosmologist and science communicator Carl Sagan says: if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

    This simple yet profound statement represents my creative philosophy towards art and design extremely well. To me, starting 'from scratch' means starting the creative process by critically examining existing conditions through more sustaining conceptual and intangible (ethical and psychological) values. Additionally, though I strive to create work which appeals to the whole of society, it is equally important for me to make it feel very personal, as if it is reaching out to only one individual through the balance of emotionally-engaging tactile components and digital medium. The philosophically abstracted wider view of 'inventing the universe' should be boiled down and served to the viewers as 'an apple pie' in its resulting tangible form, the origins of which are rooted in the greater universal concept, yet designed to feel personal (warm and homey), evoking intangible values in their mind.

  • Degrees

  • New York School of Visual Arts, 2012; BA Fine Arts: Communication Design, Parsons The New School For Design, 2010
  • Experience

  • Graphic design internship, Harry Allen Design, New York, 2009–12 ; Graphic designer, Gilmore Group, New York, 2011 ; Graphic design internship, CUBANICA, New York, 2010 ; Motion graphic designer, Aruliden, New York, 2010 ; Graphic design internship, Glassnote Records, New York, 2008