The Japanese “MA” Concept In Practice. Mazda Design 2019

How to design an object, furniture, interior, so that their beauty is displayed in the presence of light? How to use light as a material? What is a comfort? How to design an item in such a way so that the excess stimuli from the surrounding world are reduced?

The organisers of the jubilee Mazda Design contest have been searching for answers to these questions. The contest is addressed to designers – students and graduates of design schools, technical schools and art schools. The prizes are worth a total of 35 thousand zlotys.

It is worth taking part in the contest, not only for the financial prizes. The contestants can test whether their projects respond to market needs, which is an additional asset. As Edward Bąk, Jury member puts it, “When you begin your education, you are inexperienced and you don’t know how to adapt your expectations, plans and potential as a designer to the operations of the external world. The school facilitates that in a way, but the reality check can be harsh. Competitions of various types provide an opportunity to verify your knowledge with the professionals’ and the industry’s expectations, to draw  conclusions and translate them into self-development.

This year’s 10th edition is held under the slogan taken from Japanese, “Ma.” The word has several meanings, as it can be translated as “space in between”, “a break”, “a gap”, or ‘a breath”. Using this subject-matter, the organisers refer to the Japanese philosophy of perceiving space, at the same time asking how we shape our living space, and how we understand our sense of comfort. What they expect from the contestants is courage and ability to enter a new age of design, even more, innovative than today, breaking conventions, but staying in harmony with human beings.

This year’s designs should fall within one of the following categories:

  1. Humans – the comfort of minimalism,
  2. Space – light as material (designing with light),
  3. Signs – a logo for the new century.

The task in the “Humans” category entails the design of an item of your choice which, in line with the ”MA” concept, will improve the comfort of daily life by reducing the excess number of stimuli from our surroundings. Here, it is crucial to the organisers that this “lack” should resound as a value, facilitation, and the object itself should be pleasurable. The submitted design should have a contemporary application and should be characterised with minimalism and beauty in line with the slogan, that less means more.

In the “Space” category the authors should give the leading role to light. It should become the creator, and bring the true hidden beauty of an object to the surface. The designer’s task is to design an object, piece of furniture, an element of interior design or decoration which will reveal their true functional and aesthetic value in spatial relation with light.

The authors who wish to submit their works in the ”Signs – a logo for the new century” category are expected to astonish the organisers with a new, alternative version of a Mazda logo (a logomark and logotype), which can become an undeniable symbol of the brand in the new era of vehicle design. At the same time, it should be consistent with the brand’s key values. The design should show how the author imagines the brand to be in the future, but the logotype concept should take into consideration the values and aesthetics marked out by the new Mazda3 model.

By the idea of “MA”, understood as emptiness waiting to be filled in by sense, it is worth taking part in a contest to create a solution which could improve our comfort of living. The organisers are waiting for the designs by 16 April.

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About The Author


Content manager and graphic designer at Contemporary Lynx. Studied history of art at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and completed postgraduate studies in e-commerce and social media. She is interested in art and culture of the 19th century.

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