Tokyo designers week/ Designtide 2011

Posted on November 20, 2011 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

I didn't really expect to encounter obstacles when I planned my trip to Asia, but I guess life is full of unexpected surprises... First, I had to cancel my Bangkok trip 2 hours before my flight departure due to the floods; then I was warned about the high radiation scare in Tokyo by concerned friends. The latter didn't bother me that much and I decided to stick with my original plan.

I first attended Tokyo designers week in 2009 and this was my second visit to the event. Though I wasn't sure what to expect especially after what has happened to Japan earlier this year.

My conclusion of the show after my 2 visits was that there is definitely room for improvement. One of the problems I found was that Tokyo is big and a lot of exhibitions and events were scattered in different areas, though not all were easy to find (for those who have been to Tokyo, you will understand how hard it is to find a place even with the full address, map and GPS). Another was that the designers' work shown at the main hub lacked focus and consistency even though there was a so-called theme, 'love/ Arigato'. I lost interest after walking around for about 15 minutes because the layout was confusing and the work I saw didn't appeal to me that much. As a huge fan of Japanese designs, I didn't think the show highlighted their creativity and craftsmanship, instead it was a mishmash of work by design students, artists and foreign designers trying to sell their products to visitors.

For me, the more sucessful and interesting show was Designtide in Midtown. The layout was easy to navigate, airy and I was able to chat to the designers and asked them about their work. There was also a small exhibition within called 'Mark-ing' supported by the British Council that showed work by Japanese and British designers.

Among them, Ryuji Nakamura's Fragment chair stood out because of its organic structure and form. Complex and yet simple.

Back in the main exhibition, there were also some interesting furniture and I particularly like Design soil, a design project by teachers and students in the product design department at Kobe design university. The aim was to create 'compact' furniture that could be dismantled, stored in a hand-luggage and brought onto a plane! I didn't really get why people would want to carry furniture in their hand luggage but I like the designs of their furniture (esp. the bamboo-like coat hanger stand) and would buy them if they were in production.

The rather unique sets of furniture are produced by Morie Nishimura and are called 'furniture of prayer'. The dresser is inspired by a church which can be used as your own sanctuary at night. The fireplace, on the otherhand, is a Buddhist altar where light is shone from above and illuminates the statue of Buddha inside. I wonder if this will do wonders to my meditation in the mornings? Just like most contemporary sanctuaries, they do not come cheap...

Un-do design's hanger tree is another interesting piece...

I was quite intrigued by Daisuke Kitagawa's project, Rename, which examines the functions of objects from a different perspective. Here, glasses and mugs are turned into vases, plant pots, pen and coin holders etc. Interesting.

Out of all the projects, Smile park x food action nippon's Kup (edible products made of rice) was probably the oddest and yet most thought-provoking...The project aims to bring awareness of our eating habits and the relationship between using, eating and discarding. Though I am not sure why they used such a haunting tune in their Youtube video! Click here to watch...

As much as I love furniture and products, I was also hoping to find some cool stationery at the show. Sadly, there was hardly any except for the beautiful Mino Japanese paper stationery. I love the paper's texture and patterns but all of them were only prototypes. We'll have to wait for their official launch in spring 2012...

Last but not least, I love this apple pencil sharpener by Rabbit hole, it's humourous and refreshing. I almost want to take a bite...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This post was posted in Japanese designs, Tokyo, Travel, Design festivals & shows, Anything Japanese, Design and was tagged with Japanese designs, Tokyo design week

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