FU sofa by Kengo Kuma for Time&Style
The first IFFT/Interior Lifestyle Living took place in 2008, combining IFFT (International Furniture Fair Tokyo) with the concept of Interior Lifestyle Tokyo, where it became the leading trade fair for the Japanese high-end interior market. This fair is a sister fair of Interior Lifestyle Tokyo held in June, which is based on Messe Frankfurt’s largest international consumer goods fair Ambiente and the international textile fair Heimtextil.
At Tokyo Big Sight's West halls, the show is divided into two levels and 12 "blocks" that includes industry sectors like kitchenware, bath and toiletry products, food and teas, jewellery, and of course, design furniture. All in all, a total of 450 exhibitors (Domestic: 370, Overseas: 80) from 14 countries and regions offered business-oriented content that hopefully will be inspiring for the year to come.
MA (L) and KA (R) sofas by Kengo Kuma.
HIDA SANGYO by Sebastian Conran, from the GIFU collection.
In this 10th edition of IFFT, newcomers seem to have dominated the design scene, together with a splash of big name amongst them. For example, the Japanese brand Time&Style has collaborated with prominent architect Kengo Kuma, launching the three distinctive looking sofas that put a great deal of care to materials, structure and details. With the simplest naming that we've ever seen, KA (a combination of triangles), FU (a gathering of fluffy cushion) and MA (a simple drape by the wind ), all in all, a collection that caters to the different subtlety of Japanese taste and aesthetics.
Then there's the GIFU collection that the design media has been raving about since its debut at Maison & Objet in September. Not only was the collection designed by Sebastian Conran (yes, you've guessed it, the heir to the Conran empire), but the collection has also seen him collaborated with ten specialist artisans based in Gifu to create more than 50 new household items. The result is a collection that includes lighting, ceramics, stationery and kitchen tools made from classic Japanese materials like cypress wood, porcelain and handmade paper. Our must-have is probably the HIDA SANGYO home office furniture that draws inspiration from the traditional architecture and woodworking native to the Hida-Takayama region.
AIZOME CABINET by Zoe Mowat (L) & SKY LADDER SHELVES by Gabriel Tan (R) for Ariake.
TANA series by Michio Anazawa for Nokta.
While we're on the topic of collaboration, the new brand Ariake has also seen some creative endeavours this year. Founded in Saga prefecture, and directed by Singapore designer Gabriel Tan, the brand launched a 30-piece collection this time around that featured unique finishes such as Sumi and indigo dye, as seen on the AIZOME CABINET by Zoe Mowat. Another standout piece is the SKY LADDER SHELVES designed by Gabriel himself. "The design of these shelves are inspired by the fireworks installation created by Cai Guo-Qiang," he said, "And the gently curved ends of the shelf legs are reminiscent of a rope ladder, suspended from a hot air balloon." Incidentally, Saga is also famous for its hot air balloon festival! And so Ariake is also a great example of a brand that brings together designers from different countries with a common respect for Japanese culture and woodworking.
Another surprising find at IFFT was the TANA Series by Malaysian furniture company Nokta. Collaborating with Michio Anazawa, a talented Tokyo based Japanese designer, the pieces that caught our eye is the cabinets with a subtle, almost parquet-like facade. It was a result of the brand's strongest technique of CNC router work and their flexible production.
Not to be outshined, another busy collaborator this year is certainly Mikiya Koyabashi. Although his newfound brand Taiyou&C didn't make an appearance this year, his design sure did play a significant role for two separate brands here in IFFT. There's the YU collection for Masterwal, which featured a table tennis table with a leather-made net. A basic yet very luxurious design. Then there's the dining table and chairs for Tendo that's made with a new material called Roll Press Wood (RPW). Also, a teaser from him is the collaboration with Spanish company Aquaclean. So watch this space!
Designs by Mikiya Koyabashi for Tendo (L) and Masterwal (R).
Winners of the IFFT awards: Yuri Himuro (L) and As It Is (R).
Last but not least, the IFFT show also gave out two awards that are worth mentioning too. The first one, Young Designer Award was awarded to Yuri Himuro is a textile designer who has learned textile design in Japan and Finland. Her textile enables you to arrange patterns by cutting with scissors, and by changing the angles, it will also give you different patterns.
The second one, Best Buyer's Choice was awarded to, surprisingly a metal surface processing brand, "As It Is". Founded in 1956, this new brand founded by Nakano Science Co., Ltd has launched a new collection of cutleries that looked like they were painted with shiny, colourful tones but in fact, they're not! By utilising the technique of metal surface treatment, the cutleries were then able to express various colours according to the thickness of the film. Its rainbow shades will be the talk of the town for the year, if not years, to come.
IFFT will be back next year (14-16 November). For more information, 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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