Skip to Content

Events - 11.04.2023 - 11.05.2023

LA x TOKYO: RE-SET | Finding Beauty and Meaning in Urban Chaos

Courtesy of Andy Gutierrez


11.04.2023 (Sat.) - 11.05.2023 (Sun.)


11:00 AM - 06:00 PM


JAPAN HOUSE Salon, Level 5



*In-person weekend showcase. No reservation required.

On November 4-5, 2023, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles invites you to immerse in a salon experience featuring exciting collaborative work between Tama Art University and ArtCenter College of Design.

Since 2006, ArtCenter College of Design, located in Pasadena, CA, and Tama Art University, located in Tokyo, Japan have been partnering on multi-disciplinary educational programs. These projects invite design students from each institution to collaborate on research and practical work related to both global and local themes, such as natural disasters, sustainability and ecological issues, food culture and dining, and the future of the workplace.

The students and their collaborative output explore viewpoints from different cultures, customs, languages, and traditions, then propose responses and possible solutions as designers.

In 2019, the JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles salon hosted another iteration of this studio focused on street culture and art, and is honored to welcome this program back as part of our ongoing commitment to support art, education, and cross-cultural exchange between the US and Japan. In this sixteenth Pacific Rim collaborative studio between Art Center College and Tama Art University, students are challenged to create products, spatial experiences, interactive installations that reflect the theme of RE-SET | Finding Beauty and Meaning in Urban Chaos.

As we emerge from a global pandemic and resume our “digital nomad” lifestyles in an evolving new reality, the students’ mid-term projects will examine the need for healing, sacred spaces, and experiences that not only reflect the diversity of faith and cross-cultures amongst Pacific Rim (LA x Tokyo) citizens, but can also offset the rise of anxiety, collective loss, suicides, depression and mood disorders.

The work presented will comprise works-in-progress from five teams, each consisting of two students from each institution, that have created intriguing designs that explore outcomes such as: public, private, and intimate spatial experiences; interactive installations; objects and furnishings that encourage reflection, remembrance, contemplation, and re-set. All will invite us to re-think our fragile and current relationship with each other and our natural resources and environments.

A group of students sitting and listening to a lecture outdoors
A group of people on a path in the woods
A group of students working on a project together
A group of people around a fire pit

Courtesy of Andy Gutierrez

About Faculty & Organizations

Pacific Rim is an international collaborative educational project that began in 2006 between Tama Art University and ArtCenter College of Design. This event features their 14th collaboration. Students studying in the design field of both universities explore global and local themes, from aging issues to traditional Japanese crafts. They explore the role that design should play, and present innovative solutions. The Tama/ Pacific Rim exchanges have been and continue to be, a relevant and contributing element of our Environmental curricular experience.

Pacific Rim program creators

ArtCenter College of Design

David Mocarski, Chair of Grad and Undergrad Spatial Experience Design
David Mocarski has explored the boundaries of the creative process for more than thirty-five years. He is the principal of Arkkit forms design, as well as Department Chair of the Graduate and Undergraduate Environmental Design Department at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. David has also been involved with art and design education for more than thirty-five ...

Read more.

years. He has been instrumental in the development of ArtCenter’s Environmental Design program and its focus on “Designing Spatial Experience.” He has been an educational leader at ArtCenter since 1978. In addition to developing both Graduate and Undergraduate curricular directions for Environmental Design, he has taught Fine Arts, Illustration, Graphics & Packaging, photography and Industrial design. Many of his students have gained significant global recognition for their efforts. His sponsored studios with Bernhardt design have defined a new model for how industry interfaces with education. He has been instrumental in the evolution of ArtCenter ’s International Study Abroad programs in Copenhagen “Designing Index,” Fresh Eyes and TESTLAB Berlin 1-6 and Pacific Rim 1-10 Tokyo, Japan and has worked closely with Designmatters on humanitarian projects for: GE Healthcare Africa project, Un Techo Para Chile “Safe Agua Chile, Peru and Columbia,” “Living Home India” and “Safe Niños” Chile.

Tama Art University

Tatsuya Wada, Professor Chair of Product Design
After graduating from Tama Art University in 1981, Tatsuya Wada started his career as a designer at Design Center, Hitachi, Ltd. He was mostly involved with designing home electric appliances. He was also engaged in researching color, materials, and finishing. In 1992, he established a design office, G PLUS Co., Ltd., and acted as a design consultant for manufacturers such as Sony or Panasonic. Apart from consulting, he started ...

Read more.

teaching on the Product Design Course at Tama Art University in 1993, and had been Head of Product Design. Now he has been assigned as Dean of educational affairs and also member of the board of dircetors from April, 2019. With cooperation from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, he opened CMTEL (Color Material Trend Exploration Laboratory) at Tama Art University in 2007, and has been its director since then. He has organized various exhibitions, presentations and workshops with cooperation from domestic and overseas companies related to color, materials, finishing or trends in order to support students’ research. He is one of the leading experts on industry-university joint research among Japanese Art and Design schools. Tatsuya Wada was appointed a jury member of the G-Mark (Good Design) Award hosted by Japan Institute of Design Promotion in 2001. As part of Japan's ODA program, he has also worked as a professor and designer in Thailand and India, and has given workshops on product design management using company case method.

Co-faculty of the RE-SET Design Studio

James Meraz, Professor, ArtCenter College of Design, Pacific Rim Lead Faculty
Prof. Meraz works and teaches in the field we call Spatial Experience Design. Driven by the philosophy that all things within an environment are significant, James Meraz places importance on all aspects of three-dimensional design. From Architectural Design to Industrial Design, James Meraz incorporates multiple design disciplines to create environments that emote moving experiences.

Read more.

Upon graduating from Sci-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) and The Architectural Association of London in 1989 James Meraz took a position with Morphosis Architects where he headed furniture, lighting, sculptural objects and installations. In 1992 he founded Studio Meraz, Inc. a multi-disciplinary design consultancy firm with background in interior architecture, furniture design, sculpture and exhibit design. Clients include Olympus, Kyocera, Mercedes-Benz, Ole Henriksen Spas, Paris Hotel, Gravis Footwear/Burton snowboards, Electra Bicycle Co., Volkswagen North America He has also been a design consultant for The Discovery Channel.

James Meraz has been an instructor at Otis College, UCLA, Sci-Arc, and is a Professor at ArtCenter College of Design, where he has taught since 2001. In 2015 Prof Meraz created Eco Research Lab at ArtCenter College of Design where he teaches biomimicry studies and leads design workshops in intense nature environments such as the Mojave Desert and the Costa Rica jungles.

James has been a lead Professor in The Pacific Rim exchange in Pasadena, Ca. and Tokyo, Japan since its inception in 2015. He has lead design workshops and lectured in Mexico City, New York City, Vancouver, Canada, and Panama City, Panama.

Andy Gutierrez, Instructor, ArtCenter College of Design
Andy Gutierrez was born in Kealakekua, Hawaii and raised in Los Angeles, California. He is an alumni (2017) & faculty member at Art Center College of Design under the Spatial Experience department. After graduating from Art Center, He spent 4 years living and working in Tokyo, Japan as a Spatial Designer. During those 4 years he spent a lot of his time designing exhibitions for clients ...

Read more.

such as Google, IBM, Nissan, and the Japanese Government. When not designing spaces he spends most of his time as an Audio Visual artist, working in the realms of Max msp, Touchdesigner, and Ableton. He is constantly seeking a connection between the synthetic and natural in our everyday surroundings, and how that may apply to space or sound.

In Partnership with

ArtCenter and Tama Art University logos
Back To Top