Miyamoto's Early Assignment: Create a Chair

Shigeru Miyamoto's world class design reputation is within video games, but when he was a student he demonstrated his very adaptable creativity within other media. Such as chairs and coat hangers, according to a Los Angeles Times profile.

In an anecdotal profile published over the weekend, Miyamoto, 57, related his earlier days as a designer. In college, at Kanazawa College of Industrial Arts, "I made a lot of strange things," he said.

We were given an assignment to create a chair. Most of the other students would examine chairs from a historical perspective and create a chair that was an evolution of that. When I got the assignment, I thought about what it would be like to sit on a rope. So I tied some ropes together and made a chair. I don't think it was very comfortable.

In his initial job interview with Nintendo, Miyamoto of course had no video game concepts or code, given the times (it was 1977). But he also didn't bring drawings, photographs or other tradition samples. Instead he brought coat hangers, designed for kids who were too small to reach closet bars, and so young that traditional hooks might injure them. The coat hangers had a cross fixture that would attach them to a notch in the wall. "I painted pictures of elephants on them."

Impressed, Nintendo thus hired the man who would create the company's most iconic character.

Shigeru Miyamoto Profile [Los Angeles Times]