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Yoshinori Kuno

1. Mr. Kuno, tell us how the Ambientec adventure began.

Ambientec was established in 2009 with the aim of starting a "design home appliance brand that considers the environment, energy, and human health." Immediately afterwards, we launched portable solar panels and mobile phone chargers. However, achieving results as a business was difficult.

In 2011, a major earthquake occurred in Tohoku, Japan. Witnessing that scene led to a change in our approach to business. We became interested in extremely simple things like "beautiful and long-lasting items," and wondered if implementing them could benefit society.

My background lies mainly in the camera and photography industry, where my expertise lies in designing, developing, and manufacturing underwater photography equipment, such as waterproof camera cases and underwater lighting, using resources from collaborative factories. As digital cameras began to fall out of business trends with the emergence of smartphones, the space left behind was to introduce unique underwater lights that illuminate underwater scenes vividly to the world. Additionally, I wondered if this technology could be utilized in daily life. This led me to visit Italy for the first time in 2011 and attend Milano Salone and EUROLUCE. There, I witnessed many lighting brands appealing to the world with wonderful expressions never seen before, and at Salone Satellite, I witnessed young designers from around the world striving to improve themselves.

All those backgrounds, thoughts and moments has certainly inspired me to start Ambientec.

2. A brand that is deeply contemporary in its sensibility and innovation yet rooted in the design culture of the Maestros. How do you maintain this balance between past and present? Is it true, as they say, that ""we are sitting on the shoulders of giants"?

Masterpieces designed in the 1960s still hold a special place in the hearts of people worldwide. Items characterized as "beautiful and enduring" not only enhance the lives of users and creators but also boast eco-friendly attributes. Amidst a plethora of masterpieces, crafting innovative furniture poses a challenge. Nevertheless, I perceive significant potential for innovation in lighting. The simultaneous realization of two technological advancements, LED and lithium-ion batteries, enables the development of lighting fixtures that defy conventional concepts.

3. Light has to do with emotion; it is a matter of perception and taste. Therefore, Ambientec's collaborations are based on elective affinities that cannot be forced but simply happen when you recognize each other as similar. How does this alchemy work?

The light created by Ambientec is not tense like bright white light but rather an emotional light that enhances the quality of space. Therefore, we pay meticulous attention to the relationship between light intensity and color, especially in adjusting the color and brightness of light during the darkest times. It may sound unusual to emphasize lighting quality in the darkness, though... In other words, Ambientec's lighting is not merely functional illumination aimed at brightening a room like traditional lighting. Instead, it is lighting that allows one to enjoy the interplay between the light source and the objects illuminated in darkness. During daylight hours, we hope our lights can coexist harmoniously with natural light, respecting it as a beautiful object, and become a long-lasting companion for people. We aspire to nurture collaborations with partners who share such sentiments and values with Ambientec, fostering relationships based on mutual understanding and appreciation.

4. What do you have in mind when working on a new project? What input do you convey to your team and collaborators, what goals are to be achieved?

When starting a new project, I first determine what I want to create. In discussions with designers, we convey that intention and start with the condition that the design should be highly original and have the potential to become a masterpiece. Once the design concept is decided, we consider the materials, processing methods, and surface finishes that will best complement the design. We do not prioritize manufacturing costs or production efficiency. Our goal is purely to refine the design to its highest form, envisioning scenes that will inspire those who see it.

5. What do you dream of for Ambientec? And how do you see the future of the lighting world?

What Ambientec wants to achieve is to have people around the world use what we have conceived, born from our philosophy and this team, and to continue to support them well after purchase, ensuring they can be used continuously through repairs and other means. I believe the lighting industry undergo significant polarization in the future. First, there should be those that communicate with smartphones and other devices, controlled automatically by sensors and AI. Then there should be those closer to tools like flashlights, intuitive and easy to use. Our role is to discern whether new technologies and trends are necessary for Ambientec users and express them as products.