Katsumi Komagata

Katsumi Komagata is a Japanese designer and illustrator born in 1953 in Shyazuna. His career began at the Nippon Design Center and continued in the United States where he worked with several design studios in Los Angeles and New York. In 1986 he returned to Tokyo where he opened One Stroke. An award-winning artist, in 1981 he received the Silver Medal of the Art Directors’ Club of New York and in 2006 he won the Tokyo Design Award with his design for the Children’s Hospital in Kyushu, Japan. In Europe, on the occasion of the 1994 exhibition in Villeurbanne, he began a long and fruitful collaboration with Les Trois Ourses, which continues to this day. The partnership focuses on the artistic education of children, both at the Petite Ècole des Trois Ourses in Paris and elsewhere, with workshops and exhibitions. Among his works are the Little Eyes series, small books of visual games to develop the eye and the imagination, and the design of tactile books for blind children. In 2007, Komagata curated the exhibition organised on the occasion of the centenary of Bruno Munari, a master of whom he is considered by many to be the most illustrious pupil, at the Itabashi Museum in Tokyo.

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    Katsumi Komagata’s ‘Book of Books’, an essential work by the author published in 2013 by Les Trois Ourses, now appears for the first time in a bilingual Italian and English version, in a revamped and updated edition. Komagata needs no introduction: it suffices to mention the two instances with which he revolutionised children’s publishing. Starting from an interweaving of his life with his young daughter Aï and the plastic experiments that characterised his training, Komagata manages to forge a new artistic sensibility through the extreme simplification of shapes and colours.

    In his books, the author accounts for the infant’s point of view on the world and, following his growth processes, he follows the development of his perception, realising a true study that is not only pedagogical but also anthropological. Moreover, his way of understanding children’s publishing is revolutionary in that the volumes themselves are true design objects: pop-up techniques, the Japanese art of origami or the tangram are just some of the many examples with which the author recovers the material value of any book, in a rich encounter of colours, shapes and sensory stimuli. In doing so, the sensitivity that transpires from his books cannot but broaden the audience, reaching even adults.

    In the 192 pages of this monograph, more than 100 illustrations offer a comprehensive view of his works. The book is aimed at all admirers of the figure of Komagata and what he represents for publishing, design and the graphic arts worldwide. The new edition in Italian and English also includes the titles published by One Stroke, the author’s agency and publishing house, over the last 5 years.

    Preface by Stefano Salis
    Texts by Kazumasa Nagaï, Élisabeth Lortic and Katsumi Komagata
    Book design by Bunker

    22 × 28 cm
    192 pages
    Paperback
    Italian/English
    Isbn 978-88-98030-33-0
    First published April 2019