Rediscovering the possibilities of pipes
Pipegram began in October 2013, when Busyu Kogyo Corporation, a company with world-class technology for precision machining of pipes, began working with Ryu Kozeki, a designer involved in a wide range of activities centered on product design. Busyu Kogyo collaborated with Kozeki for the Tokyo Business Design Award, a competition held to promote collaboration between designers and small and medium manufacturing companies in Tokyo.
Kozeki offered various suggestions:
"Could we make a pipe-based product? Pipes are something that generally seems familiar to people, but that people aren't really familiar with at all."
"By definition, pipes have openings. Why don't we use the openings of the pipes to join them together?"
"Connecting pipes to make three-dimensional shapes is something that is simple yet has quite a bit of depth, wouldn't you say?"
"I think that with precision machining technology and your unique production system, we can make a really original product out of aluminum. Aluminum is also easy to work with."
Through much trial and error, the image of Pipegram became clearer and clearer, and Kozeki and Busyu Kogyo's idea gradually took shape. The concept of using pipes to get ordinary people involved in making things also happened to fit with one of Busyu Kogyo's principles. The team's work received much acclaim - in addition to being selected for the Grand Prize of the 2014 Tokyo Design Award, Pipegram won a Good Design Award for 2014.
Tokyo Business Design Award »
Good Design Award »
Giving kids an opportunity to make things with their own hands
Busyu Kogyo had been thinking for some time about whether they could use their manufacturing technology to give back to society in some way, or whether they as a manufacturer could show the next generation how exciting it is to make things. Kozeki's proposal for Pipegram, which already contained a new possibility for an educational toy made with sophisticated pipe bending technology, could not have come at a better time. As a manufacturer, Busyu Kogyo saw great social significance in creating an opportunity for the next generation of children to make things with their own hands and selling an educational toy of their own that stimulated children's imaginations. They began working to develop the product, and built and organized a framework to make Pipegram available to everybody.
Simple actions that lead to a lot of ideas
The product was named "Pipegram" for its concept of "drawing" with pipes. By allowing flexible, easy and fun use of a linear building material like pipes, this educational toy is the ideal way to "learn through doing" about the structures of shapes and how they are made. Using lines to make and play with three-dimensional shapes is a very basic activity, and materials such as the wire frames used in 3D modeling allow 3D shapes to be made as simply as possible. Real buildings, with the column and beam structure seen in architecture such as Japan's, are an even more beautiful example of things created entirely by putting together linear materials. Pipegram identifies a core element of how things are made and provides users with an opportunity to try it themselves. Experience the pleasure of making things by hand and the joy of new discoveries.
Busyu Kogyo Co., Ltd.
Ome City in the Tokyo Metropolis is a manufacturing area that specializes in pipe machining and has developed unique production and technology know-how as a result. Manufacturers in Ome have supplied one million parts per month to automobile and medical manufacturers since 1952. Parts from Ome are used by all Japanese automobile manufacturers, as well as automobile manufacturers in the USA, Germany, Italy and France. Ome manufacturers have even supplied parts to manufacturers of precision optical instruments in the medical field. These instruments are used in advanced medical treatments worldwide.
Parts from Ome are highly regarded by manufacturers throughout the world for their high technical performance and reliable quality.
Busyu Kogyo Co., Ltd. »
Ryu Kozeki began working at I.D.K. Design Institute in 1998, trained by Toshiyuki Kita.
He started his own design studio, RKDS, in 2011.
His design and art direction work takes a wide variety of forms, breaking the walls between genres. Kozeki has produced comprehensive design proposals and branding strategies, and he has been involved in various initiatives to bring possibilities to life.
He has won many awards, including the Good Design Award and the iF Design Award.