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Design Week in Tokyo

Sightings at Designtide Tokyo and Tokyo Designers Week this November.

Design Week in Tokyo


November 20th, 2011

From 1 to 6 November, the annual Tokyo Designers Week (now in its 26th year), took over Meiji Jingju Gaien as its main venue, and spewed over the city with a series of events, exhibitions and workshops, all following the theme “Love for Earth, People and Objects”.

The smaller but no less inspiring Designtide Tokyo was also back from 29 October to 3 November as a platform to trade design, and to trade ideas. It included the Designtide exhibition, which gave Japanese designers the opportunity to present new thoughts and forms in sustainable design.

Here’s some of what caught our eye at both events…

Tokyo Designers Week

Roundish chair by Naoto Fukasawa in the latest red fabric and pearl white leather options, the latter being a rare but stunning match with oak.



Maruni’s Autumn collection showed a wealth of new options.

The Roundish chair is now available with a cushioned seat. It also uses the same fabric as Hiroshima, making colour matching between both series easy.

Tokyo Designers Week

The very latest Lightwood chair by Jasper Morrison in oak and Sky Blue fabric option.

Tokyo Designers Week

Roundish chair in oak and new leather option.

The company has also introduced Lightwood in red and black finished birch (the colours stand out well against the wood’s texture) while Hiroshima is now also available in rich walnut.

Tokyo Designers Week

Hiroshima – a side by side illustration of machine versus handmade.

Tokyo Designers Week

Tools used during production.

Toshiyuki Kita – Timeless Future exhibition

This was the first large-scale exhibition in 20 years by leading Japanese product designer Toshiyuki Kita, who won the XXII Compasso d’Oro Prize in July this year.

Tokyo Designers Week

Toshiyuki Kita’s Timeless Future exhibition

The exhibition focussed on important resources and the development of life and culture as well as industrial design. On display were Kita’s vast range of works, including furniture pieces, household items and lighting fixtures. There was also a section devoted to works exhibited at the Milan Triennale.

Tokyo Designers Week

Truly an attempt by Kita to look into futuristic design, design for the everyday, and traditional industrial design throughout a long-spanning career.

Tokyo Designers Week


Daisuke Kitagawa

With the theme focussing on sustainability, this upcoming young designer, Daisuke Kitagawa, left quite an impression.

His prototype series of everyday products can be used together with his designs. Tolerance by Daisuke Kitagawa is the theme and within it, the Rename collection. The crux of the design is to strip away the name of objects like cups, glasses and jars by ’tolerating’ a wooden extension that changes its original use, hence Tolerance & Rename. By introducing a new function to these readymade objects, Daisuke Kitagawa gives them a new lease of life – and a new purpose, along the way.

Designtide Tokyo

Daisuke Kitagawa and his Rename collection

Especially following the great earthquake on 3.11, it’s heartening to see how most of the new ideas generated by these young Japanese designers address sustainability in new and creative ways.

Other images…

Tokyo Designers Week

At the Designtide extension in Aoyama – large installations by artists within the Cibone shop.

Tokyo Designers Week

At Designtide Tokyo – “A piece of natural paper” is 100% natural organic handcrafted paper that can be made into greeting cards, room fresheners, window displays and more.

Tokyo Designers Week

At Tokyo Designers Week – a section created by the youth from Tohoku (area affected by the 3.11 disaster) to express their thanks to their supporters from Japan and globally.

Tokyo Designers Week

International companies (such as above, from Taiwan) were also there to participate in Designtide Tokyo.

Tokyo Designers Week

Tokyo Midtown Design Touch outdoor exhibition

Top image: Toshiyuki Kita’s Timeless Future exhibition

Photos and contribution by Andrew Tan, director, atomi.

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