Tokyo DesignTide 2011

Posted By Nathan Hoernig

What could you possibly get out of this?

October and November are design season in Japan and anyone who’s not around to partake in the smattering of events is really one to be felt sorry for. Just like last week’s article, this is another update from Tokyo showing you all of the best of what’s going on in the Japanese design world. This time, I’m acting as your guide into Design Tide.

A commercially-oriented and interior design-focused event, Design Tide happens every fall in Tokyo Midtown. I’ve talked about Tokyo Midtown in a previous post about art havens in Japan and this event really just drives that sentiment home.

Last week, we talked about Tokyo Designer’s Week: a booth/vendor style event that offers professional displays as well as student work. This week’s Design Site is a little different in that it offers a chance for designer’s to market, display and (hopefully) find buyers for their work. The event is called “Design Exhibition” (we know, that’s vague but…). Here are a few photos I took from that event to tickle your imagination and hopefully inspire you.

Dew: Water L.E.D. Accent Light


This was awesome and definitely one of the most interesting things at the show. Normally, I’d explain what’s going on but that would delay you seeing it so just check out the video below.

The guy who’s talking is saying that you can use a liquid other than water if you’d like and that you can change the flow of water to create a faster or slower effect.

A Spikey Wedding Dress


French architect, Emanuelle, has taken a bunch of wiry, spiky balls and created an interactive experience. Each ball sticks to the other through the locking of spikes and one can form elaborate three-dimensional displays with them.

Here’s a closeup so you can see the spiky goodness!

Hands & Hand Vases

This company, a jewelry and flower shop called Proof of Guild, decided to take their business a step further and create handmade vases for its customers. The company sells these vases (lamp kit NOT included) in black, gray and white for 8,000 yen (a little over $100 a pop at today’s poor exchange rate).

The focus is on the idea of person-to-person relationships and the exchange of kindness when giving gifts to one another. In other words, a more meaningful Christmas gift for a loved one?

D-Bros Stamp It

This one wasn’t part of the Design Tide exhibit but rather, Design Site’s Good Design Awards showcase.

A few weeks back, I posted about some stationery and tools that every designer should have. The main attention-getter in that post was a group called .+d (“Plus D”).

While +d is strictly the design group who created the stuff, D-Bros is the stationery and original goods side project. They recently won one of these awards for a custom stationery set they developed and are currently selling at their brick-and-mortar store here in Tokyo. That’s what you see above though the store offers a much more expansive selection of stamps and creative possibilities.

Handkerchiefs for Tohoku Children


These one meter by one meter handkerchiefs were also separate from the Design Tide event but displayed in Tokyo Midtown at the time so I’ve decided to feature them here.

These were developed as part of the rebuilding effort after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Over 500 designers each developed their own message of hope and applied it to a handkerchief. Every time one is purchased (in Design Hub: 5th Floor of Tokyo Midtown’s main building), one of the same is donated to a child in “Tohoku” (the Japanese word referring to that region of Japan).

These things are interestingly displayed, stretched-tight under a current of water: its hard not to see the metaphor in that one.

That’s All For This Year

Well, the last few weeks have definitely kept me busy: running around and checking out all the creativity abound.

This last weekend also saw the bi-annual Design Festa which I didn’t make it around to this time. That event is more for the common creative individual and offers a HUGE variety of interesting stuff. Maybe I can show a bit of that next May! Something to look forward to!

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