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Highlights from DESIGNART TOKYO 2023: Sparks!

ByTina Rim
Highlights from DESIGNART TOKYO 2023: Sparks!


DESIGNART TOKYO, one of Japan's largest design and art festivals, took place in Tokyo, a world-leading culturally diverse city, to present various genres of art, design, interior design, and fashion. The festival that ran between the 20th to the 29th of October had grown to attract a total of approximately 214,500 visitors this year.



With the theme of "Sparks - Freeing Your Thoughts," the event, in its seventh year, aimed to provide visitors with opportunities to encounter innovative creations that would free their thoughts and discoveries emerging amid the drastic change in society.

DESIGNART TOKYO has evolved as a platform to introduce a broad spectrum of design and art from Tokyo to the global stage. Keep reading for The Artling's list of highlights from the festival!


ink couture project 21B STUDIO

21B STUDIO, ink couture project. ©Nacasa & Partners.

21B STUDIO, ink couture project. ©21B STUDIO.

21B STUDIO, ink couture project. ©Nacasa & Partners.

This innovative design project seeks to repurpose non - woven fabrics, used for disposing of ink waste from offset printers, into a new material.

During their visit to a printing company's factory, what drew their attention was the spectacle of vibrant fabrics stacked in waste baskets. The nonwoven fabric, typically disposed of as industrial waste once it outlives its utility, appeared to them as a captivating and aesthetically pleasing textile.

In Ink Couture project, 21B STUDIO adopts an approach that seeks a new purpose for these discarded materials.

Nature or Nurture by Daiki Tado

Daiki Tado, Nature or Nurture. ©Nacasa & Partners.

Daiki Tado, Nature or Nurture. ©Daiki Tado.

Daiki Tado, Nature or Nurture. ©Daiki Tado.

"The focus here is on the peculiarity of driftwood as a material, which grew in the mountains but comes from the sea. It feels odd to call driftwood a tree, yet it is a bit of a push to call it wood, but if you consider it to be a material that has been exposed to time in both the mountains and the sea, then I think you will come to see it as its own material. After it has been given a grain through its time in the forest, it is then given a new texture through its time in the ocean. Through this material, which has undergone two processes, I hope to explore the question of whether materials are dependent on their qualities or the environment." — Daiki Tado





The "TATAMI ReFAB PROJECT" is a project that re-embeds Tatami into modern life using 3D printing. The designers came up with furniture from a material made of recycled tatami with biodegradable plastic.

The project won the 1st Prize for Salone Satellite Award 2023.



In her exhibition, Mai Suzki, the creator, has crafted a space that encapsulates the authentic Japanese essence of 'iki,' known as 'YoshiZukushi.' Delving into 'iki' from various angles, Suzki melds the concept with "YoshiZukushi," a term inspired by Edo period paintings. In this context, 'Yoshi' signifies 'good,' and 'Zukushi' conveys 'a lot.' This amalgamation portrays the Edo people's 'iki' spirit, embracing everything as 'good'—be it a good mood, good luck, or an overall positive outlook. In today's world, there's a tendency in the realm of tradition to resist new challenges. While some areas warrant preservation, Suzki advocates for the acceptance of everything as "Yoshi," uncovering untapped possibilities. Her endeavor involves the creation of 'Yoshi Zukushi' through the fusion of traditional Japanese Kumiko craftsmanship.

A NEW HORIZON - A showcase of Contemporary Design from East Asia

we+, Refoam. ©Nacasa & Partners.

Tokyo based studio we+‘s explorations into melting and compressing Styrofoam resulted in an elegant medley of sculptural furniture; and the contemporary kintsugi and bold oil-layered textures of Japanese designer Kairo Kusamoto.



A collaborative exhibition with artist Kota Kawai was held at PERVERZE THE EMBODIMENT STORE. The exhibition incorporated PERVERZE's archives of textile and materials created up until now, forming a collage of works.

The Pollination Dance by Perrier-Jouët × Fernando Laposse

Perrier-Jouët × Fernando Laposse, The Pollination Dance. ©Nacasa & Partners.

Perrier-Jouët × Fernando Laposse, The Pollination Dance. ©Nacasa & Partners.

The Pollination Dance tries to recreate the moment where after harsh winter months the weather starts to change and insects, flowers and the wind engage in a celebratory dance of abundance that marks the beginning of a new season and a new life cycle.

The idea of time is also very present in the concept of this installation because it is time and care which turns a humble grape juice inton a exquisite beverage. So in a way when we drink champagne we are drinking time, whole seasons and years bottled up and enjoyed in a special moment.

To represent this, Fernando Laposse created pollen clocks, where yellow sand that represents pollen slowly trickles down from a bouquet of flowers. It was a nice analog way to add movement and interaction to the piece.

Ambientec GALLERY with A New Collection


Ambientec GALLERY, the first directly managed gallery where visitors can experience their products, had its grand opening this year. The Ambientec GALLERY space was reproduced in the venue with "REFRECTOR", an original shelving system developed in collaboration with ODS/Oniki Design Studio. In addition to the existing collection, new products presented at the Salone del Mobile Milano in April this year was unveiled for the first time in Japan.

OBJECTRUM by Tomoya Okoshi

Tomoya okoshi. ©Nacasa & Partners.

OBJECTRUM is a series of works that transform the existence and culture that is being lost in modern life into a style that fits in with the living space of people today and is created with prayer.

What I want to share through my work is presenting a lifestyle that does not dichotomize the material and the spiritual. My purpose is to create an extraordinary space with our works and allow the viewer to relive their primordial state of consciousness. In addition, OBJECTRUM is made by my hands from waste wood. — Tomoya Okoshi

Ecology: Dialogue on Circulations - La Vita Nuova by Jaeeun Choi presented by The Fondation d‘entreprise Hermès

Jaeeun Choi, Installation view of White Death, 2023. ©The Fondation d‘entreprise Hermès.

"Ecology: Dialogue on Circulations" are two exhibitions that examine ecological practices in art presented by The Fondation d‘entreprise Hermès.

Efforts to address global climate change and other pressing ecological crises confronting humanity raise questions about how to balance ecological, economic, social and political demands. How can these issues be explored through art, today and in the future? Le Forum framed the concept of ecology as a state of circulating energy in a broad sense, introducing artists who consider fleeting human lives and things adrift within the global environment from the perspective of our relationship with nature.

The installation will be on view until 28th January, 2024.

Phantom Emotion by Keisuke Tada presented by MAKI Gallery

Phantom Emotion by Keisuke Tada presented by MAKI Gallery. ©Naohiro Utagawa.

Inspired by his experience traversing fictional virtual worlds, Tada explores the way we perceive time and matter within virtual versus physical space, forcing us to confront the ambiguity of reality in our digital age. Rhizomed Material will present new works from his “trace/dimension” series, while Phantom Emotion will present new works from his “Paintings of incomplete remains” and “Heaven’s Door” series. In the former, what appear to be cracked and deteriorating 17th century landscape paintings are actually paintings that have been artificially aged by the artist, all depicting places and times that do not exist. In the latter, Tada realistically reproduces a historical European gateway using acrylic paint and then attacks the sculpture with an axe, exposing its true composition when the material splinters and the colors within are revealed. The work, which has no function as a door, is a mere illusion, symbolizing the violent desire to go someplace else, and the futility of trying to overcome our physical limitations.

Rhizomed Material by Keisuke Tada presented by MAKI Gallery and Gallery Common

MAKI Gallery and Gallery COMMON hosted two solo exhibitions by Aichi-based artist Keisuke Tada. Tada’s debut show with MAKI Gallery, titled Phantom Emotion, was held at the Omotesando gallery space and presented a body of work that evinces the artist’s strong fascination for the relationship between real and fabricated constructs.

Traversing the obscure boundary that separates reality and fiction, he created paintings that capture the essence of his central theme: the conflict between ‘being there’ and ‘not’.

Rhizomed Material by Keisuke Tada presented by Gallery Common. ©Nacasa & Partners.



As I grapple, play with, and unravel various factors that obstruct the path I wish to take, scratches and twisted knots emerge, overlapping and changing the original structure of an object. With each change, the scratches and knots weave patterns and we can recognize what is in front of us by consciously or unconsciously sensing them. Painting with patterns reduces what one cannot control, increases unexpected encounters, and embraces constraints while mediating playful interactions. It helps one find clues to depict what the place was like and what the objects were like, other than their outlines. — NOBUTO FUKUTSU



This exhibition featured works drawn using patterns to depict various sceneries the artist has encountered in his travels, focusing on pasting together parts composed of patterns.

Nobuto Fukutsu is a Tokyo-based artist born in Miyagi Prefecture in 1969. He began his career as a film creator before taking up painting, where he developed his own technique based on the premise that ‘Everything is a collection of patterns’. His unique approach embraces collaborations across genres and has gained wide acclaim at exhibitions overseas.


DESIGNART TOKYO began in 2017 as a design and art festival based on the theme “INTO THE EMOTIONS.” Eminent creatives from around the world converge in Tokyo, one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities, to hold various exhibitions across the city and in various genres, including interior design, art, fashion, technology, and food.

One of the major features of the event is one’s ability to enjoy numerous exhibitions while moving through the city and, should sparks fly, even buy pieces on the spot. The event has been known to be the catalyst of unforeseen chemical reactions between creative professionals in Japan and those hailing from abroad, who join up for new projects or otherwise launch their ambitions into the wider world.

With sustainability being the norm and questions arising about the responsibilities of the creator and those of the user, creative crafts and manufacturing will be a driving force that supports society into the future. To experience daily life enriched with long-lived designs and art—connections for such irreplaceable encounters and wonderment abound without borders when DESIGNART TOKYO turns the city into a veritable museum.

For updates on DESIGNART TOKYO 2024, stay tuned at

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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