home / about us / History of PAOS Prehistoric PAOS:The Sixties

History of PAOS Prehistoric PAOS:the 1960s

  • Prehistoric PAOS:the 1960s
  • the 1970s
  • the 1980s
  • the 1990s
  • the 2000s

"To be successful, a company must embrace both economic and cultural concerns with equal enthusiasm. Whilst it is important to bring sales and profits in line with market mechanisms, as a public citizen, a company is also required to contribute to social mechanisms: to society, culture and the environment. It must also create new values and give thought to establishing and developing a unique identity."
PAOS' journey commenced over forty years ago with the founding of this philosophy and ideal. To rephrase, PAOS is a group organization that began life as a company inspired by aesthetics and the desire to make cultural contributions, a company seeking to reform the fabric of society, whose basis and goal were to develop and disseminate a wide-ranging design philosophy.
Naturally enough, in order to transform this theory into reality in the late sixties, a period of high-growth corporate dominance, the first task was to demonstrate to active business managers how meta-design and its practical methodologies could be used to gain competitive advantage.The history of PAOS' work is to be found in this philosophy and along the path traced by our practice and verification activities, and it is a path that we continue to tread. We are proud to present to you all the trials and tribulations we have faced and the struggles we have endured down the years as representative of our solitary challenge on this field of design.

Prehistoric PAOS:the 1960s


1960 onwards
Waseda University's Design Research Association

Inspired by the belief that "designers have an important role to play, but (that) the development of design theories and methodologies, which are understandable and acceptable, for management also constitutes a key aspect of design work," Motoo NAKANISHI, the founder of PAOS, entered Waseda University with a view to conducting research on this topic having completed studies at the Kuwasawa Design School. NAKANISHI recruited students from all faculties and embarked on developing the activities of the "Design Research Association".


"Proposal on the establishment of the Waseda University Strategic Design Faculty"

Convinced that a major university such as Waseda should set up a center for design education, NAKANISHI proposed to university administrators that they establish a Waseda University Design Faculty. Centering around the precept of "teaching future political, business, government and educational leaders to understand and make the best use of design," this innovative idea caused quite a stir and was featured in a number of magazines.


Publication of Nakanishi's first literary work: Design Policy

"Design Policy: Corporate Image Formation" (co-written by Ryuichi HAMAGUCHI and Motoo NAKANISHI; Bijutsu Shuppan-sha, Ltd.), Japan's first book on the subject of corporate identity was published this year. At the invitation of Mr. Ryuichi HAMAGUCHI, a leading critic of architecture and design, in the book, NAKANISHI provided factual commentary on the management policy + design combination, documenting fourteen companies who were at that time renowned for the excellence of their image designs.


Production of the TDK Design Manual

This year witnessed the development of the TDK Design Manual, Japan's first handbook on controlling brands and designs. At the time, Tokyo Denkikagaku Kogyo (or TDK Electronics Co., Ltd., the predecessor to TDK Corporation) was a little-known mid-ranking company. Details of this ground-breaking manual were featured in contemporary magazines, marking the first use of the DECOMAS (Design Coordination as a Management Strategy) moniker in the field of design. TDK was the first Japanese company to use an English trade name.

The founding of design office "UP Design"

NAKANISHI started up a design office with the help of Hiroyuki KOMATSU, Fumio KITA and Yoshimitsu KUROKAWA, three of his juniors at Waseda University. They christened the company "UP Design" in view of its location at the end of a long flight of stairs on the roof of a shabby five-storey building in Koenji (Tokyo). None of UP Design's founders thought that the business would be a lasting enterprise; it was simply intended to be an experiment.


Unexpected demand for "UP Design"

UP Design's outstanding and, for the time, exceptional planning and research capabilities resulted in an unexpected development: presented with UP Design's blue tax return (the tax form for businesses), the local tax officer advised the design office to incorporate and Nakanishi's thoughts turned to the establishment of a joint stock company.


Main Menu