DESIGNART's Logo & Brand Design were art directed by Shun Kawakami artless Inc.
"We'll do something big starting next year," said Mark Dytham, one half of Klein Dytham architecture that single-handedly revamped Daikanyama T-Site. We're a bit sceptical at first, seeing that we're at an "underground" club with booze (and bread!) in our hands. However, as DESIGNART rolled out last week covering the whole area of Tokyo, from Omotesando to Hiroo, we can't help but to take this new Design & Art Festival seriously and welcome it with open arms.
It is as they said, timing is everything. As Tokyo Design Week went on a 2-year hiatus due to last year's tragic accident, DESIGNART now has the opportunity to showcase a different side of Tokyo's design talents. With the goal to "transform Tokyo into a design museum", the festival has opted not to create a main fairground, but instead to have over 50 exhibitors from the design, art, and fashion industries to stage their show in stores and galleries for a whole week.
Pierre Charpin's first solo exhibition: 'FROM THE STUDIO'.
The biggest show of them all would probably be the French designer Pierre Charpin's first solo exhibition at the World Kita-Aoyama Building in the centre of the trendsetting Aoyama district. Not only was his past works truly embodied the "designart" concept, but he has also been working with the new Japanese brand Taiyou & C, founded by Mikiya Koyabashi, and the result was a new bookshelf called Openwood. Vistors including our special correspondent: Tommaso Nani, one half of the Italian / Japanese designers duo Mist-O, were quite impressed with the simple set up and the volume of designs presented at the show.
While big name brands like Louis Vuitton, Fred Perry, Hay, and Cassina, played a significant role in attracting a wider consumer-based audience, it was local young designers that stood out with ingenious new ideas. For example, B&B Italia Tokyo presented an interior light product, "lightflakes", by up and coming architect and SaloneSatellite alumnus, Yuji Okitsu. Also a SaloneSatellite alumnus, Ryota Yokozeki's works caught Nani's eyes at Andreu World showroom in Minamiaoyama.
Ryota Yokozeki's design: Aizome Chair and Stool (T), Solid Glass Dish (B).
His Aizome Chair and Stool is a modern, beautiful stool and chair, with very well designed in proportions. "It looked super simple, but there is a deep study of the way of cutting wood and how to create a good comfort; especially in the soft seat with an inner mesh under the cork seat," commented Nani. "Also it is made of wood and cork with a very interesting idea of using the traditional Japanese indigo colour to dye furniture."
Yokozeki's Solid Glass Dish, on the other hand, is a collaboration with chef Masahito Ueki of Azur et Masa Ueki. "The beautiful dish looked like a spoonful of water, and it really enhanced the beauty of the food placed upon it, turning the whole product (dish + food) into a piece of art," explained Nani.
Small World Project by Yoshiki Matsuyama. A fisherman's container before (L) and after (R).
Small World Project by Yoshiki Matsuyama was another innovative design. Presented at KASSETTE Omotesando, this container might look standard, but it's actually a small refrigerator powered by motor scooter batteries! Although it was originally designed and manufactured to help the fisherman of Oeba, a small port in eastern Indonesia who does not have electricity, to keep fresh and sell the fish, it might also work for city dwellers where homes are getting smaller and eating out became the norm.
And finally, a designer group that made the biggest impression during last year's design week, Torafu Architects has again come up with new designs that brought out the wow factors. Their new Polyethene Foam Stool utilised industrial materials usually used for making mats or swimming boards and turned them into a beautiful product that's light, waterproof, strong, and colourful. "This project opens many possibilities to the use of this material in another context, or for making objects or furniture," said Nani.
Torafu Architects' Polyethene Foam Stool (T) is made out of industrial materials (B) usually used for making mats or swimming boards.
On a personal note: we sure do hope to see Mist-O exhibiting here next year, but until then, our props again goes to Tommaso Nani for his professionalism, especially during typhoon Lan, and to all the founders and exhibitors of DESIGNART for putting on a great debut design festival.
For more on DESIGNART 2017, please visit here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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