Making comedy from tragedy // Inspirational story behind LCC alumna’s prize-winning designs
Tomomi Sayuda, an LCC BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design (then Design for Interaction and Moving Image pathway) alumna, has just won first prize in the digital design category at the Ideastap Graduate Awards. Tomomi, who recently graduated from MA Product Design at the Royal College of Art, won for her fun piece ‘Desktop Fireworks’.
‘Desktop Fireworks’ is made up of seemingly plain, practical office stationery. However, beyond providing a place to store your pens, this stationery serves an altogether bigger purpose. On the activation of an extremely tempting big red button your mug becomes a disco ball, your monitor becomes a glitter cannon, and your drawers full of miscellaneous clips, elastic bands and blue-tack become a bubble machine!
On winning the first prize for her fun piece Tomomi states, “I am very proud to win such an honourable prize.”
Whilst the purpose of this piece and indeed all of Tomomi’s work is to make people smile, there is a personal tragedy that motivates her practice. When she was only eleven, Tomomi’s father, Kenichi Sayuda, committed suicide aged thirty-seven, due to extreme stress at work.
She explains “Since my father’s death I have become obsessed with finding solutions to stress, especially in the work-place. I have found that the most effective stress relief often comes from laughter. My work uses comedy, and creates a positive and surprising solution to a serious problem.”
Tomomi’s work has recently garnered press attention from the likes of Creative Review and The Sunday Times, and this week the BBC did a feature on her recent project ‘The Mask of Soul’.
Tomomi explains, “The mask gives its wearer the strength to be able to express themselves in public. It hides the speakers’ identity and the microphone picks up the speaker’s voice and in turn projects it loudly through the speaker on the top of the head-piece. Part of the project is a game in which people are invited to compete in shouting the loudest insults at each other. I was inspired to create ‘The Mask of Soul’ after having experienced a ‘karaoke box’. This unusual space allows its occupant to reduce stress through the almost primal release of energy!”