I’m very excited to receive the Grand Prize. This is my 2nd challenge for UTGP since I applied last year as well. I never expected to win the Grand Prize so that I’m very happy with the result. Also, it was my pleasure to receive the plaque from the C.E.O Mr. Yanai. I’d like to set this plaque in my room, but before that, I’d like to put it on Facebook and tell my friends I got this.
I believe this award is a big step for me. This award is my honor as a Malaysian, since Malaysian hasn’t won the UTGP before. I would like to try other designs in other fields if I get an opportunity. Meeting with the C.E.O Mr. Yanai is my speechless-experience. I was nervous to meet with him; however, he talked to me very casually and it made me relax. Thank you very much.
“Coca Cola” themed, “UT GRAND PRIX 2012”. The total number has reached 6288 works from 72 countries, which is way over than last year. As a result of rigorous reviews by judges, we selected a Grand Prize and a Most Voted Prize by the public; KARRIE LEE a designer residing in Hong Kong won the Grand Prize and MUHAMMAD ZAIRUL BIN MOHD PUAD, a designer residing in Malaysia won the Most Voted. This time, we gratefully invited the award winners to Japan. Their tour begins with the award ceremony & ceremonial photo shoot at Uniqlo Tokyo Headquarter office, the welcome-party, and visiting Uniqlo Ginza Store and Coca-Cola Store. As a chain of UTGP Grand Prize Supports – “Support and Discovery of Artist”, KARRIE LEE, Grand Prize awarded Designer, was invited to visit Kyoto. The winners had opportunities in experiencing of Japanese cultures and arts over 3 days.
After the ceremony, the award winners were brought to the UT product design room. A designer of Uniqlo explained the process of “How to create UT”. After this, they described how they felt at the UT product design room. “Visiting the design room is very inspiring and good experience for us. It’s our first time to be on the spot of fashion, and it was remarkable experience to see the process of our UT design.
On the first night, we held the welcome-party at the clubhouse in Roppongi. Most of the participants wore the awarded UT, which created a full of UTGP atmosphere inside of the clubhouse. Also, award winners received Coca-Cola’s 125th Anniversary Memorial Art Book, Recycle-Bottled chairs as well as other items, 5 in total, as extra prizes. They received numerous applauses during the party. Among the applauses, Mr. Kaji, art director of Uniqlo Creative Design Team, encourages the winners. “UTGP project is set up to support the young creators. I believe their awarded design motivate the next young creators.” Also Ms. Shoko Suzuki, Vice President of Marketing & New Business Media / Sports & Entertainment Marketing, at Coca-Cola Central Japan Co. Ltd, expresses her wishes to the award winners. “I would like you to be proud of being awarded out of more than 6,000 works. I also wish this award inspiring you the further creativity.
On the second day, their first visiting place is Uniqlo in Ginza. They took a tour the Uniqlo Ginza store, having a full 12 floors and the largest sale floor in the world, 1,500 square meters. At the floor of having the gigantic showcase for awarded UT, they expressed their excitements. “Displaying our design in such a fine way is the best moment we’ve ever had before.” On the day, their designed UTs were displayed at the 1st floor. About the shop itself; Ms. LEE said “Each one of the decoration is fabulous, but I was very impressed by the lots of mannequins lining on the 1st floor”. Mr. PUAD said “Each floors has a different theme, such as a futuristic floor. Even just looking at the floors was very exciting moment”. In the afternoon, they moved to Aqua City in Odaiba and were brought to a tour to the official store “Coca-Cola Store”, opened in April. The innovative approaching store has a touch-panel Interactive Vendor Machine, which only 10 of them exist in Japan, and they sell the original recycle products themed of “Sustainability” based on their corporate policy. Mr. PUAD commented about the concept of the store; “Reuse is a good idea, because there are lots of serious issues such as enormous trash and global warming. I bought a T-shirt which made out of plastic bottle at the store and I thought it’s pretty cool to ‘wear a bottle’ ”. Mr. Kiyota, Japan Coca-Cola Marketing & New Business Licensing Manager, commented their works with giving them the Coca-Cola Store original goods; “Thank you for the great design. About Ms. LEE’s design, her design expresses the world of Coca-Cola very well on the canvas of T-shirts, because of the idea describing the gesture of drinking Coca-Cola in wearing. Also, about Mr. PUAD’s design, we can see his deep understanding of Coca-Cola’s brand value “HAPPINESS” from his colorful design.
On the final day, as a privilege of the Grand Prize winner, Ms. LEE visited Kyoto, including Kinkakuji, Kiyomizudera, Sanjusangendo, and Ryoanji. The purpose of visiting Kyoto is to touch Japanese history and culture as an activity of creation support. Ms. LEE was impressed by the stone garden in Ryoaji saying, “Just looking at it makes me very calm and I felt like my mind is cleared out”. About the impression of Kyoto, she commented; “I felt the artistic inspiration by the traditional scenery of the entire town.