It takes a special sort of talent to mastermind the world's first 3D photobooth, a replica Lady Gaga speaker, or a radio signal-repellent fashion line. Tokyo Journal's Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie talked with Masashi Kawamura, who alongside his partners at Creative Lab PARTY, has done all three. Established in Tokyo in 2011, and with a recently opened New York office and world-wide projects in the pipeline, it's fair to say that PARTY is just getting started.
TJ: Could you tell me about your background? You were born in Tokyo, and then...
KAWAMURA: I moved to San Francisco in kindergarten, and then came back to Tokyo in high school. I started to get into coding and design at university, and got my first job at a Japanese agency called Hakuhodo. Then I spent about ten years working for advertising agencies in different cities: London, Amsterdam, New York...
TJ: So what did you do with Hakuhodo?
KAWAMURA: I was a commercial film planner, which is a niche title and special to Japan, where TV commercials are considered the main form of advertising. The way it forced me to only do TV commercials was good training but a little limiting for me. I saw the outside world doing more integrated communications and was like, “Wow, I gotta put myself into that group.”
TJ: And tell me a little bit about PARTY?
KAWAMURA: PARTY is a company I started in 2011 with four partners – that’s Naoki Ito, the chief creative officer; Qanta Shimizu, our chief tech officer; Hiroki Nakamura, a creative director, and me. Each of us had been having success in the advertising, communications, and design world, but felt the structures of these agencies were limiting to our desire to push the boundaries of creativity. Now, we specialise in projects that merge storytelling and technology, and we call ourselves a lab to make sure that we don’t forget our experimental and innovating spirit. It’s the first entity I’ve been in that I feel like change is part of the culture.