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Mark DYTHAM and Astrid KLEIN, Founders of KDa, on ‘Pecha Kucha’

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APPLAUSE Yes, we are architects and the reason for Pecha Kucha Night is we found out early on that passionate creative people just talk too much! So, we are going to stick to it although we are cheating a little bit. I hope nobody counts the slides. But first to our day job. Architects are kind of expected to make a difference. They have the social responsibility. You know you're building the future, it's all up to you. And, so yeah, we feel the pressure, although we love the challenge... MARK: Okay let's get going... ASTRID: Yeah, let's get going. So we try and make a difference in the smallest details. This is our gummy tile for bathrooms because this is the place where you are naked and your body is most vulnerable, for the longest time in your house, and yet, there are glass, ceramics, metal, slippery, sharp, cold, and the gummy tile is sort of more warm. Twenty seconds is fast! This is a very entertaining hoarding. It's made from balloon fabric and inflatable, you know, we all balloons. Why be reminded of the dust and the dirt and the noise of a construction site, when you could have a vertical garden and feel refreshed by rosemary, mint... MARK: This ran all the way down Omotesando, it was 300 meters long and the point is that just a construction fence can be something really interesting and we can make a difference. Can we have the sound on, please? ASTRID: This is making a difference, like demystifying technology. It's the biggest interactive toy, it doesn't need explanation, as you can see from the video, and it's direct fun. MARK: This was in the ground floor of the Shin-Maru building opposite Tokyo Station, and as Astrid said, the key thing was there were no instructions necessary. This was six years ago; it's still one of the most interactive things in the world. And you can see that it just inspires people to play and have fun, and of course we had to put a volleyball because we were in Japan. And we co-developed with Toshio Iwai who was the programmer. Absolutely fantastic! That's our little bit of cheating. We didn't design these. ASTRID: This construction is actually the biggest carbon emitter in the world. So we thought we got to do something about this and this is one of the first ??? buildings with 40-story towers in Hokkaido. In a lovely setting, it's a ski resort and our client bought these and needed to put them in repair again. MARK: So we thought these were built 20 years ago. And we remember when we first arrived in Japan seeing these two towers and we thought that it was really bad they could build these in this beautiful, natural surrounding in Hokkaido. So when we got the chance, we thought with a bit of paint, a bit of insulation we can camouflage them and they'll disappear. So, it's been incredibly successful... ASTRID: You can see on that line, you know, it was all intended of course. MARK: But very luckily in Japan, there are no visual planning restraints, which meant the first towers could get built but also it allowed us to get the camouflage put through without any applications at all. ASTRID: A wedding chapel makes a big difference in your life of course. This one here is in Kobuchizawa, in Risonare. Again, the same client as the Tomamu Towers bought this defunct hotel and just by having a wedding chapel there it's kind of revived the whole resort. There are about 10 couples getting married in peak season on just one day. This picks up on the veil of the bride, you know at the end of the ceremony, it gets picked up, she gets the kiss. And at the same time this 11 ton, steel "veil" lifts up, a bit noisy... MARK: This is where we're cheating by the way as it takes 38 seconds to open. So we'll just keep talking... ASTRID: And, yes, the veil opens and the wedding party steps out over the stepping stones, over the pond making sure not to fall in, although when we mentioned this to the client that there might be a possibility that the bride, not seeing where her high heels go, might fall in, he says, "Oh, it'll make for a memorable day!" MARK: It would definitely get on You Tube! And, yeah, we've got lots of towels. But you can see that we've made this 11 ton piece of steel look like a piece of lace. It has 4,700 holes perforated in it. Each has an acrylic lens which shines through onto a sheet. Of course, with 10 weddings a day they have to have night weddings too. And as Astrid said, this was a completely bankrupt hotel. It was built in the "bubble" and went bankrupt. Hoshino resort built it and we've converted it into a brand new hotel and it's all being reused. It was actually going to be demolished but we've managed to save it. This is our office. So, that was our day job, now we are going to talk about our night job. This was our office in Azabu Juban. We had it in a warehouse; we shared it with five other companies. Not architects! We shared it with a graphic design company, a computer company, a brewery, thank you, and a composer. And we events there and these events got bigger and bigger and bigger. That was space was called Deluxe. After we outgrew that we moved into a new space just below Roppongi Hills. It's called Super Deluxe and it's where super things go on. And we had four or five events in our office before, each month but when we moved here we had the potential of 31 events. And we didn't have enough events so in our old office we used to have Show and Tells. Everybody has been to a construction site, been on a good holiday, we all have digital cameras. It's very easy to put a quick presentation together. And we thought instead of just having us talking about where we've been, why don't we get everybody together and have a chat and show where you've been, the great construction site... But as Astrid said, architects talk too much so we thought let's make some simple rules. Let's make some simple rules. Ten slides, ten seconds: bit short. Twenty slides, twenty seconds, we started on the 20th of February at twenty past eight so that's how we got to 20:20. And off we went and we had one event. And that event, as everyone said it was fantastic, we had the next month and now we are on our 62nd month so it's been running for six years. We always get 400 people a month in Tokyo. Then during design week in Tokyo people started taking it around the world. This format, Pecha Kucha Night, the same format. And we made a website filled with little rows, and we realized the website didn't work. So, today it says in the brochure 186, there are actually 198 cities. We are growing about two or three cities a day now. And there is a really big need because like in Tokyo and like in all these other cities there are very few places where they can show and share their work. And this is just a great format for young students, designers, all sorts of people. This is in Rotterdam. You can see how big the queue is outside. ASTRID: Yeah, not just the website was growing the queues were growing all around the world. MARK: So you think Bogota is about drugs and guns, and it's a very vibrant, creative city. The Mayor of Bogata said it's changed their city, which is a really amazing compliment. We are getting lots of Mayors who are writing to us right now. Whoa! So twenty seconds is quite long as well, you see. The next city, oh, and the other thing is we don't charge for this format. It's completely free, it's non-profit. We just make a very simple handshake agreement with each of the cities. That means that it can go to places like Kampala in Uganda. And it just shows that all you need is a bed sheet. A bed sheet hung up and a projector to show your 20 slides. And this was just a really moving thing, when we first agreed that they should have an event in Kampala and then to get these photographs where they are having an event in a forest. ASTRID: Yeah, look at all the smiley faces. MARK: So we're completely shocked. Last month there were 55 events around the world. That's 15,000 people went to these events and we are running at a rate of about 45 this month, going up again, so it is incredible. So, anybody can present! That's my mother, who's 65. That's Astrid's daughter, who's five. My mother talked about her creations: her wedding cakes, her flowers. Astrid's daughter talked about her trip to London with a digital camera that she took her own photographs. ASTRID: Yeah, and we have all sorts of interesting people kind of talking: hair stylists, food... MARK: The key thing I was saying about Bogata, because we are in a recession it is amazing that Pecha Kucha Night is growing quicker and quicker and quicker because people want to network and show what's going on. Even the Mayors of cities are getting up on stage and Mayor David Miller was talking about people who blog about his city. He couldn't believe that people blog and are interested in Toronto, other than him. A hundred and has to load I think this, maybe I have to press this... You're now going to see, this is 198 cities, it takes exactly 20 seconds to put them all up. So, please look out on our website at and you can see where the events are coming up. The next one, they are always the last Wednesday of the month in Tokyo. Thank you very much and thank you to Todd and thank you to Patrick. You've done a fantastic job and thank you all for attending and supporting this. APPLAUSE

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 15 seconds
Country: Japan
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Producer: Virgin Earth & Ansur Pictures
Director: Andrew Malana
Views: 324
Posted by: tedxtokyo on Apr 9, 2010

A talk given in Session 4 "How Does Today Decide Tomorrow, From Local And Global Perspectives?" of TEDxTokyo 2009, held on May 22 at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

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