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2016 Mainichi Design Awards winner Daito Manabe pushing the envelope

Daito Manabe (Mainichi)

New media artist Daito Manabe, one of the main creative stars behind the Tokyo 2020 presentation at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics' closing ceremonies, has won the design prize in the 2016 Mainichi Design Awards, along with his artist group Rhizomatiks.

    "It is an honor to be awarded in the same competition as John Maeda (who received the special award in this competition in 2001)," said the 40-year-old Manabe. "Maeda is a pioneer in the field of computational design -- something which forms the roots of what I do today."

    In addition to winning the 2016 award, Manabe's company Rhizomatiks, a collective that works on large-scale commercial and artistic projects, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. Tokyo-based Rhizomatiks has about 40 members, and makes use of sophisticated programming technology and design to deliver captivating projects in art, stage performances and commercials.

    To date, Rhizomatiks has collaborated with a variety of artists such as Icelandic singer Bjork -- who will perform at this July's Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata Prefecture -- as well as Kyogen performer Nomura Mansai, and Japanese techno pop group Perfume.

    Notably, the company was also the creative force behind the impressive Tokyo 2020 presentation at the conclusion of both the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio, which made use of augmented reality (AR) technology to deliver a memorable message to the world. "Regardless of the field, our company's main strength is to respond flexibly and create music and video software," Manabe explained.

    Manabe is a music lover who played in a band during university. After working for an electronics company, he studied at the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Gifu Prefecture, and his life took a new direction after working on fusing engineering and music. "I always want to do new things," Manabe said. With this kind of mindset, an entire ocean of creativity surely lies ahead

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