Design is all around us, often going unoticed in the things that we use everyday. Japan’s Peabody award-winning children’s educational program Design Ah! (デザインあ) explores the form, functionality, and relationships behind these familiar objects through short, artfully-crafted segments. The “Ah” represents that Ah! moment of connection in learning, as well as for あ, the first character of the Japanese alphabet.
The show is a wonder in children’s programming, made even more special by the fact that its segments are hard to find online. These three episodes, a sometimes-recurrent mix of live-action and animated clips dubbed for Portuguese audiences, demonstrate design concepts through singular aesthetics, melodies, rhythms, and edits, with a focus on Japanese cultural touchstones.
Observe, study, and appreciate the diverse forms of flowers and how we arrange them, the design of a wheelchair from all angles, the components of a stalk of broccoli, drinking glasses and more.
Though the program transcends language barriers, the second to last clip may require closed captioning. It features the innovative design of Fuji Kindergarten outside of Tokyo, Japan.
Enjoy more deconstruction and exploration in the second Design Ah! episode below. It features the design and use of chopsticks, an observation of Japanese armor, an accounting of snacks, the usefulness of clothes hangers, subway handholds, and more.
Plus: It’s different from what you expected and Unendurable Line.
Previously on TKSST: Design Ah! (デザインあ) introduces kids to design concepts.