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Tokyo Designers Week

Hong Kong correspondent, Ben McCarthy, takes a trip to Tokyo for their designers festival.

Tokyo Designers Week


November 26th, 2008

Indesignlive.com correspondent, Ben McCarthy, is based in Hong Kong and contributes regularly to the site, keeping us informed on everything HK.


Tokyo designers week is the forerunner of the Asian design shows, it doesn’t have the international appeal that Milan has, but for the refined Japanese aesthetic, and the design savvy Japanese public, it’s a major calendar event.

The main event is 100% design, which is smaller than its London sibling, and attracts a nice balance of exhibitors. From contract suppliers, designer makers, coporate brands and avant guard young guns, it is perhaps only let down by the small scale of each department.

There were several interesting exhibitors, including &design, who presented some nicely considered pieces from a corian-like plastic, exploiting the materials versatile characteristics with a Japanese simplicity.

Design Tide is the other main exhibition during the week which attracts many international and Japanese exhibitors, including several Australian designers. The exhibition was beautifully presented, which for me was the highlight of the show.

Walls made of a semi translucent paper like fabric were stitched together like brick work, held aloft via helium balloons, which gave the show are more village fate feel, and removed it from a trade show context.

The pick of the satellite events was ‘second nature’, directed by Tokujin Yoshioka and included work from Ross Lovegrove, Makoto Azuma and the Campana Brothers. The show drew inspiration from nature forms, and applied them to provocative pieces, mostly furniture.

The stand-out pieces were the chairs from Tokujin Yoshioka made by growing natural crystals in a liquid bath, the painfully slow process gave the object a thoroughly unique texture – and the study of nature as an industrial process celebrated beauty in irony.

The Tokyo event is a worthy exhibition in the global design calendar. Even if the atmosphere of the week is perhaps enhanced by its very location, the celebration of Japanese design simplicity in an international context was well worth my short trip from Hong Kong.



100% Design Photographs by Luke Hayes Photography


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tokyo design week



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