Design Academia - 国公立デザイン系大学会議

Aiming for a New Design Division in 2023

Japan’s First Public University for the Arts

The Kyoto City University of Arts is the oldest university in the country as a public arts university, which originated from Kyoto Prefectural School of Painting, established in 1880. Design education began in 1939 as a design department of Kyoto City College of Painting, and in 1950, design education started as an art university. Since then, under the guidance of Felice Rix-Ueno and Professor Isaburo, design education has started in Japan, influenced by the unique Vienna studio. Since then, we have been conducting design education under the three major areas – visual design, environmental design, and product design.

However, with the recent changes with time, design issues have become widespread. Design has penetrated all areas, and the requirements that the design must meet are becoming more complex. In such a social background, the momentum of the design department reform has increased, in search of cross-disciplinary design education in response to the situation of de-regionalization / expansion. Since FY2017, we have set up a study team on the future concept for the design department. The team will review the curriculum that has continued for about half a century in parallel with the campus relocation plan. We are considering the redesigning of the design division. The aim is to start a new design division when the university moves to the new campus in 2023.

Visual Design

In the Visual Design major, Kyoto City University of Arts, we have developed a curriculum to achieve three goals: (1) fostering the modelling and cognitive ability by drawing and creating, (2) acquiring problem-solving techniques, and (3) realizing the vision through own creation. Also, in addition to classes conducted only within the course, there are joint classes with overseas universities from France, Italy and Germany, and collaborative classes with universities in Japan. While focusing on the basics of traditional modelling, it features education in a new design concept born from the perspective of medicine, behavioral economics and intellectual property.

Workshop to visualize the concept of “circle”, co-sponsored by The École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs



Posters for joint classes through a partnership with Osaka University in medicine, nursing, engineering, and art (design)


Environmental Design

The Environmental Design major begins with learning from the scenes of Kyoto cityscapes, traditional architecture, and gardens. We subscribe to new technologies that sublime the high modelling skills that have cultivated so far. The area of environmental design ranges from furniture design to urban planning. It will sustain over the long term and aim to design the overall relationship from a global perspective, rather than a single view. By providing students with opportunities for independent learning, experiences and research, we want to cultivate human resources who can enrich the design of future environment and lifestyle around the world after graduation.


Regional mobile cafe production as the basic design classes


Training trip to understand senior’s job


Product Design

With the motto “Designing a better society by looking at the source of things and behavior,” the product design major changed its name to Design B (tentative name), and the design of concepts and things in response to social changes. It aims to produce human resources who practice “B”. Design B anchored on “Becoming” as the central concept and expresses the attitude of design education by looking into the design’s Behavior, Basic, Bone, Behind, Borderless.


A cross-year class (2nd, 4th, and graduate students) led by a graduate student