Monday, November 7, 2011


Did a PechaKucha tonight. For those of you who've been living on Mars, PechaKucha was devised by architects Mark Dytham, Astrid Klein and friends in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.  The name comes from the Japanese term for "chit chat" and the way it works is simple: you can talk about virtually anything with 20 images and 20 seconds per image. It's a good discipline and keeps things moving.

I took part in an early one, in 2003 or 4, at Mark & Astrid's studio, an old taxi depot which they called Deluxe (and where I celebrated my 40th birthday), in central Tokyo. As both their practise and PechaKucha grew, they opened a gallery-cum-cafe called Super Deluxe and that's where they continue to host PechaKucha nights once a month. But to their great surprise, it's turned into a global phenomenon with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world - up to 449 now. Nobody's driving it - it's just happening. 

Each PechaKucha night is run by a city organizer or 'steward' who look after the PechaKucha spirit in each city. All organizers must have a regular day job and they run PechaKucha nights only for the inspiration, love and fun of it.

Beijing has been hosting them for a while now, but tonight was special as we got involved and invited Mark over to introduce it - and he's also going on to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. It was great to see him again and catch up. Mark did a 20x20 on how Japan is recovering from the 3/11 earthquake, I did one on UK Now, someone else did a piece on Penguin book covers, etc. All good fun and a nice dinner afterwards where I chatted with the other speakers - and that's what it's about really. 

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