The first few days of November saw the whole of Tokyo come down with design fever. The big names in design jetted in to exhibit or visit from October 30th to November 3rd, which meant five days of non-stop exhibitions, gatherings and, of course, champagne-fuelled after-parties.
Flagship show 100% Design – a sprawling fairground-like event in the capital’s Meiji Jingu Gaien park in Aoyama – combined the biggest names in the business, including Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Teruhiro Yanagihara/Isolation Unit and Gwenael Nicolas - along with Japan’s leading university talent, young designers and the city’s leading design and art retailers.
Thanks to the abundance of great food, drink and DJs and plenty of sunshine, the semi-outdoor event took on a carnival atmosphere, and gave the more than 60,000 international guests and local visitors alike a chance to mingle and swap ideas on form, fashion and function.
Design Tide, the week’s smaller but hipper show, once again proved that bigger is not always better, putting on a well-edited exhibition of interior and commercial design and showcasing the best of Japan’s creatives, including monk-turned-design mastermind Hirano Tsuboi and award-winning product creator Nosigner.
The show also featured some emerging stars from South Korea (keep a close eye on Seoul-based furniture designer Phillip Don) and a blockbuster collection of pieces from Berlin, curated by design platform DMY.
The clever Design Tide Extension project took new works and ideas to all corners of the capital, with presentations that included an exhibition of Paul Smith’s personal art collection at his Shibuya store, pieces by Spanish design superstar Jaime Hayon at Bisazza’s Tokyo flagship Aoyama showroom, and furniture by Dutch conceptualist Piet Hein Eek at boutique Cïbone in the same district - to name just a few of the week's many highlights.