The Good Design Awards, Japan’s oldest and most-comprehensive system for evaluating design, are doled out annually. And this week, the 2021 awards were announced. The theme this year was “Aspiration and Action with Consideration,” which verbalizes our wishes and hopes for a better world. You can see all the recipients here but below are a small selection of our favorites, which embody the spirit in forms of sustainability and inclusivity.

Public Bath for Disaster Preparedness

Kuwamizu Sento is a rare breed: public bath on the ground floor; private home on the second. And it was born out of disaster. Back in 2016 when the Kumamoto Earthquake rocked the region, thousands were not only displaced from their homes but were deprived of one of the necessities of Japanese lifestyle: hot baths. Motivated to not let history repeat itself, and to give back to the community, the owners decided that they would build their new home with a public bath. The homeowners and their 4 kids use the public bath along with members of the local community.

You can read more about the project here.

Avatar Robot Cafe that Allows Severely Disabled to Work Remotely

The DAWN Café is seemingly staffed with robots that will wait on you by bringing you your coffee and asking if you need anything. But if you think this is another example of robots coming for our jobs, you would be mistaken. Embedded within the robots are real intelligence: they’re operated remotely by people with severe disabilities who often can’t leave their bed.

You can read more about the project here.

A Stationery Company’s Semi-Public Campus

Stationery and furniture company Kokuyo recently renovated their 40-year old office building in Tokyo’s Shinagawa neighborhood into an experimental “open space for work and life” to promote creativity and borderless activities. With retail and cafe spaces that are open to the public, the campus blends office and community, embodying the concept of “future urban office” as workers continue to shift to more flexible work environments.

You can learn more about the project here.

World’s First Disposable Paper Razor

Single use plastics are one of our most critical environmental issues. And you don’t have to travel far to find them. Practically every hotel room is stocked with a plastic razor, ready to be used once and thrown away. Japanese company KAI Industries is solving for this with their latest creation: a 98% plastic free paper razor.

You can read more about the project here.

Free Japanese Culture Pictograms

Graphic designer Kenya Hara and his firm Nippon Design Center’s self-initiated project to release over 250 pictograms — free for anyone to use — in support of tourism in Japan from a visual design perspective.

Read more about the project here.