Today, we had the opportunity to meet with Kashiwa Sato, an amazing designer who is known for his work with Uniqlo, among other clients.
We learned about what has to be one of the most brilliantly designed schools in the world—Fuji Kindergarten. Sato-san is responsible for the concept for the school, which he developed closely with the architect, Takaharu Tezuka, and the headmaster of the school.
Situated on a large piece of land with many trees, the school is shaped like a donut. The roof is a playground, with a slide that goes from the roof to the floor of the donut hole. Classrooms, with glass sliding doors on both the inner and outer ring of the donut and an occasional tree in the middle of the class (they made every effort to not cut down the trees), make up the solid part of the donut. The donut hole serves as meeting space—an outdoor auditorium. Sato-san even designed t-shirts for the kids.
The 500-student school has been so successful that it has had no problem recruiting excellent teachers. However, it has had the problem of an unusually large number of visitors who want to see how design can, and has, transformed the educational experience of children. It’s every parent’s dream school. (Betty)