Superlative design blows into Tokyo

November 1st, 2010 by Felicity Hughes

Unlike the grey pre-typhoon skies, Tokyo Design week was decked out in a cheerful bright blue hue

Unlike the gray pre-typhoon skies, Tokyo Designers Week was decked out in a cheerful bright blue hue

Celebrating its 25th year, Tokyo Designers Week kicked off last Friday. The theme this year was “Environment,” which seemed a bit of a cheat since last year took an ecological theme as well. However, the color chosen to represent the show changed from green to blue – which was  a good thing because unlike last year, the skies were a gloomy shade of grey. The blurb on the website stated: “The term ‘environment’ we regard is not just ecological environment concerning issues such as global warming but in a more collective means of ‘living environment’ including conditions of our mind and body to have affluent living.”

No, we didn’t really get it either, but at least the ideas on display stood on their own.

Field Four Design Office's Hanging Plants and Mie Matsubara's cardboard origami blinds

Field Four Design Office’s Hanging Plants and Mie Matsubara’s cardboard origami blinds

As with last year, there was a lot of cool shiny stuff on show for us to coo over.  We were especially impressed with designs that updated the traditional Japanese aesthetic, like Mie Matsubara‘s super groovy origami window blinds (shown above) that fold out gradually allowing you to regulate the amount of light you’d like in an a room. Both super-strong black cardboard and wood versions were on display, but surprisingly the cardboard looked like the least flimsy of the two. We also dug the hanging garden of tsuri-shinobu hanging plants (above), from Field Four Design Office, which had fluffy ferns growing out of the top of the traditional hanging moss ball.

Shimada Touki's crockery sets

Shimada Touki

Mossy stuff was seeping into other design booths too, and Shimada Touki’s lovely crockery sets, really stood out with lovely trailing ivy, flower and bird motifs painted on.

Kaito Ehara's folding table/Shinya Ito and Kaori Yamamoto's DND Mirror

Kaito Ehara’s folding table/Shinya Ito and Kaori Yamamoto’s DND Mirror

Ingenious ideas abounded but one of our favorites was Shinya Ito and Kaori Yamamoto’s DND (Do Not Disturb) Mirror. We also thought that Kaito Ehara’s folding table was a really elegant way to save space in the home.

Have fun on the spinny chairs or collect the specially designed WWF stamp.

Have fun on the spinny chairs or collect the specially designed WWF stamp.

The show continues until Nov. 3 and is well worth a visit, especially now that the typhoon has passed (the show had to be cancelled on Saturday due to extreme weather conditions). Obviously, this post doesn’t cover everything on display, but we will say that it would be a crime to miss playing around on the spinning top chairs in the entrance hall or the chance to collect the specially designed WWF stamps also laid out at the front of the tent exhibition area.  If you don’t make it to Meiji-Jingu there are countless stores around Tokyo celebrating good design, as well as affiliated events.

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