The alter ego coffee robot, which offers a real place for people who have difficulty going out, has won the Good Design Award 2021 | Forbes JAPAN

The Good Design Award is an award that assesses not only the quality of design, but also the essential value behind it, such as the attitude and effort towards the development of the submitted work. In a complex society, design is necessary to discover new issues and themes, and the expectations of design are increasing, which is why this series comes closer to the role played by the Good Design Award.

For the first time, pay attention to the alter ego coffee robot that won the 2021 Good Design Award. This coffee shop, which enabled remote working and visiting stores using OriHime, presents an approach to the problem of “how to live with ease in a super-aging society”.

>> GOOD DESIGN AWARD 2022 Applications are accepted <

Applicants are all products, architectures, applications, content, services, systems, etc. “designed”, whether tangible or non-existent. The application period for 2022 is from April 1 (Friday) to May 25 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m.

The Good Design Award 2021 was awarded to the alter ego coffee robot, which allows remote work and visits. It’s a vintage cafe where people who have difficulty going out can remotely control the robot alter ego as a pilot and serve customers. It is also an experimental site as a mechanism for all people, regardless of age, gender or disability, to continue to be involved in society throughout their lives. How do we live comfortably in a super-aging society? Producer Orii Yoshito and Minoru Oyamatsu, who was in charge of the store’s design, talk about the goal of the project and the world it aims for.

How OriHime Became a Cafe

Orii Yoshito(what follows,Yoshifuji): When I was a child, I started taking a break because of my weakness, and I was absent from school and withdrawn, so I couldn’t participate in fun parties or class excursions. Even if I hurt my right hand, I can use my left hand, and even if I wear an eye patch on my right eye, I can see things with my left eye, but when the body itself enters in maintenance, I can not do anything. So since I was in elementary school, I wanted another body. After that the Internet spread and I thought if I could combine the Internet and robotics to create something like a wheelchair that would carry my heart when I couldn’t carry my body, the reason for the development of OriHime was.

It is difficult to say “the elimination of loneliness”. For example, disabled people or bedridden people may say, “You are worth living just because you are alive,” and of course that’s okay, but people just say, “You can stay.” But I can’t stay here. For some reason, I think I can have a place to stay. Then just make a reason.

However, human relationships are built at unnecessary times between needs. For example, something interesting begins with a conversation during a visit to a company and a walk to a conference room with the responsible person. Even at school, people become more refined not only in class but also during breaks, and relationships are born. Then I wondered what remote working was for building relationships, which led to this coffee robot alter ego.

Oyamatsu Minoru(what follows,Oyamatsu): I knew OriHime originally, so I was very excited to participate in the project. I listened carefully to how the store should be shaped and really resonated with Mr. Orii’s ideas. There was an order to stop the silver and blue sci-fi interior that appears to be the robot of the future.

Yoshifuji: Silver and blue do not look very comfortable. It may be good for the people of the future, but we are modern people.

It’s a good time now, and you can do most things with AI, buy things without human intervention, and live. But accidental things like hitting a person who was drinking in the bar next door are really valuable. As everything becomes rational, surely we will need a situation where we can consciously generate accidental things when our bodies are stuck in the future. There is room between people who are born because they work together or are needed. I decided to go to this cafe when I thought about how to create a lifestyle that considers balance rather than ideal theory. I think margins are necessary for life, but I also need a role, and I wanted to create a reason for being there and the design of margins.

Oyamatsu: You were told to make as much space as possible inside. Therefore, there are no ceilings or walls on purpose. The concept of Mr. Orii will continue in the future, so it is expected that the version will be upgraded. I myself was very inspired.


What it takes in a time when everyone is bedridden

Yoshifuji: Is this a workplace where you want to work when you are bedridden in the future? The healthy life expectancy is 70 years and the average life expectancy is 80 years. There are about 10 years of unhealthy life in old age, but no one wants or thinks about the reality. The world is designed to make life easier for healthy people who engage in physical activity, but is that really good in the coming age of super-aging? In the future, when I’m stuck, will I leave my AI friends at home or go out for coffee in the VR space? Thinking that way, at least where we want to go home is real, and I think we want to be needed by real people.

Currently, 60 to 70 people work in the cafe, but they are all bedridden seniors. Everyone wants to work and doesn’t want the next generation to experience the same pain. Those who know the pain of bed rest best as a group have become pilots as companions to explore how people with disabilities can live in their own way and create a place to live. By talking with them, various ideas arise, but everyone says that this café is a space where there is room to bring ideas to fruition. Looking at the store, after the driver took an order from the customer, he stayed and carried on the conversation. By getting to know each other, clients can hear the parties talk about incurable illnesses and disabilities they had never experienced before.

Oyamatsu: There are people who work, but different people come to our customers. We have paid particular attention to the interior and accessibility so that people with disabilities can spend their time comfortably. I aimed for a natural and comfortable space. Instead of showing the robot, sometimes there is a robot in a certain space. I was asked to create a space where humans and avatars coexist naturally. Orii himself participated and chose the material, right? I dared to make the interior of the store in a dark tone so that the white robot shines. The green and earth tones are images of Yakushima.

Yoshifuji: However, there is a problem with this cafe, and there is no waiting room for pilots. Therefore, we try to create the same cafe as here in a virtual space, to build a metaverse where we can communicate and to use it as a waiting room. In the future, maybe there will be fights between pilots and good collaborations in this waiting room (laughs).


Realize that the idea has been accepted and accepted

Yoshifuji: OriHime itself has been around for 10 years, but it was hard to figure out on its own. I applied in 2021 because I wanted people to see “design that eliminates loneliness” when properly communicated to people. By winning the grand prize, we realized that our ideas were recognized and accepted. I was very happy with that. I’m grateful it’s been reviewed, but the alter ego coffee maker is still experimental and not the goal. I want to continue to evolve without stopping.

Oyamatsu Minoru◎ Representative director, designer and architect of Oyamatsu Design Studio. He handles a wide range of domestic and overseas facilities, stores, housing design and interior design. It is said that the design of the alter ego robot cafe aimed for a space where all people coexist naturally.

Orii Yoshito◎ Deputy Director and Director of the Ory Research Institute. Developed “OriHime”, an alter ego communication robot for loneliness, based on his own experience of refusing to go to school. Creation of the Ory Institute. Our goal is “to realize a future where you can meet the people you want to meet and participate in society while you are in bed”. In 2016, he was shortlisted for the Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 Industry, Manufacturing & Energy category.

What is the Good Design Award?

The Good Design Award is a global design award that has represented Japan since 1957, and many companies, organizations, designers, etc. both domestic and overseas have applied every year, and many excellent designs have been awarded so far. In fiscal year 2021, the number of applications increased by more than 1,000 from the previous year, reaching a record 5,835, and the number of awards was 1,608, the highest on record. Applicants are all products, architectures, applications, content, services, systems, etc. “designed”, whether tangible or non-existent.
The application period for 2022 is from April 1 (Friday) to May 25 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m.

>> GOOD DESIGN AWARD 2022 Applications are accepted <

Candidates:Products, architecture, applications, software, content, projects, services, systems, etc. Japan, domestic and foreign, general/professional use does not matter.
Terms of application:The price can be announced on October 7, 2022 (Friday). Must be available for purchase or use by March 31, 2023 (Monday).
Qualification requirements:Business owners and operators of design companies eligible to apply.
Registration fees:Expenses such as examination fees and exhibition fees will be incurred depending on the stage.
How to register:Register by 1:00 p.m. on May 25 (Sunday) on the application page of the Good Design Award website (

Opening of the Forbes JAPAN x GOOD DESIGN AWARD special site
#1 This article | The alter ego coffee robot, which offers a real place for people who have difficulty going out, won the Good Design Award 2021.
#2 Now open | “Good design” that guides society through various approaches – Presentation of examples of winners of the Good Design Award 2021
#3 Now open | Design is a “road sign” to create a better society — Dialogue with the president of the jury of the Good Design Award 2021

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