A graduate of Tokyo’s Musashino Art University, designer Hiroto Yoshizoe, 32, balances commissions for hotels and restaurants with personal forays into product design.

Plants-Skin is a flower pot that visualizes the timing for watering plants.

In 2017, he was Grand Prix winner of the Lexus Design Award for PIXEL, a wall of hollow building blocks that channel and transform light. The year before, he was a finalist for Plants-Skins, a ceramic planter that changes color when the soil is dry. “I had a mortar pot, and I knew when to water my plant by how wet the mortar was,” he says of the idea’s genesis. To get a similar effect, Yoshizoe used hydrochromic ink, which he knew about from his family’s book-bindery business.

We asked the breakout designer about who inspires him, his most treasured possessions, and what daily rituals get him in the zone. Read the answers below.

"I enjoy exploring innovative materials,

“I enjoy exploring innovative materials,” Yoshizoe says, “but I like having an analog dimension. Technology is important only in the engagement it allows the design to have with people.”

Photo by Hidetoshi Fukuoka

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Current location: Tokyo, Japan

Something you always carry with you: Pen, iPhone.

First childhood memory related to design: Drawing on cardboard larger than myself at my father’s book binding factory; swimming in a pool of paper off cuts waiting to be thrown away.

Plants-Skin is a flower pot that visualizes the timing for watering plants.

Hiroto Yoshizoe’s Plants-Skin planters use hydro-chromic ink to reveal underlying color in the ceramic when the soil inside is dry.

Photo by Shunsuke Watanabe

Daily ritual to get into a creative space: Viewing scenery, finding reasons behind the scenery; secretly viewing faces of people on the streets, and finding out what they are staring at. 

Person you most admire: My father and mother.

"To visualize this phenomenon, I used a special type of ink called hydro-chromic ink,

This chart outlines the process behind Yoshizoe’s use of hydro-chromic ink in Plants-Skins.

Photo Courtesy of Hiroto Yoshizoe

See the full story on Dwell.com: Dwell 24: Hiroto Yoshizoe
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