student exhibition at the container courtyard, Tokyo Designers Week


Design Tide or 100% Design or the Container Exhibition or hunting after all the little side exhibitions happening at various shops!? Where to start and where to end? PingMag was busy rushing around the last days to present you a little “not-to-miss-list” in a handy format. All this design-fuzz stops on Sunday – so enjoy your public holiday on Friday and take a long design-week-end.

Written by Uleshka

Let’s start at the Design Tide main venue on Meiji Dori this year. Apart from the sticky floor (they might have thought about it before they took out that carpet…) they seem to be doing everything right: best opeing party, nice atmosphere, smiling people…

1. Shaddow Monsters
Probably the best processing installation we have seen in a long time, Philip Worthington’s Shaddow Monsters are strange creatures growing out of the dark created by you in front of a projector. Those scary beings make strange sounds, too and before you know it you spent all afternoon playing theatre with yourself…

2. Climbing Project
“On Wall” is a collaboration of product designers Tomoko Azumi, Rie Isono, Norico Katayama and lighting designer Hiroe Tanita. They created simple but beaufiful shapes mounted onto walls, that allow designers (or everyone else of course) to climb up and look at things from another perspective. This mix of installation – space design and lighting design is certainly one thing: fun to try yourself!

beautiful climbing wall at Design Tide

3. Scribble Furniture
This year’s most innovative furniture designs come from 4 Swedish women called Frontdesign, who introduce a technology of scribbling furniture in the air by motion capturing: Cameras are tracking your brushstroke-like movements, a special software then combines the data to a whole 3D object in the computer. Thanks to a procedure called rapid prototyping they magically produce a real object, like a table or a chair. They can manufacture pretty much anything that looks as curvy and dynamic as your scribbled version.

scribbled furniture transformed into real objects

4. Toypography (DaiNipponPrinting)
Beautiful, simple and fun are these wooden toy bits which are also parts of letters: both Roman and Japanese. Arranging the colorful bricks to anything from words to pictures to Kanji transports you back to your kid’s room and your typography lesson at the same time.

the Japanese character for TIGER

an abstract image of a TIGER
and TIGER written in the roman alphabet

Switching over to the Container Exhibition in Jingumae…

5. Tattoo your iPod
London based Turkish product designer Sonor Ozenc introduces a customization service called iTattoo, which basically “tattoos” your precious products such as iPod, iPod nano, mac power book… partly by engraving, partly by spraying a permanent foundation on top – your favorite design will stay on the metal surface forever (well – for as long as you use those gadgets I would say…). Looks really pretty and this service is FREE at the razorlab container on the right hand side.

Tattoo on power book

…and another customized iPod

Sonor Ozenc preparing the next iPod at the container exhibition

6. PinPin + Naoko + Takahiro = Dolls for Tokyo
This students’ stand was probably the most popular stand on Wednesday and showed how much people love to make things if you provide them with a frame. A plain doll base, stickers, colorful pens, ribbons and other snippets allowed everyone to create a cute little “customized” doll to be presented along with the others inside the container for a later display all over Tokyo (not entirely sure, but from what I got, I think those will be hung into trees – nice idea). Architecture student Naoko told me, that she was interested in the different solutions people come up with when starting with a similar base, how they combine color and material and how these things work in a larger context.

blank base doll

different pattern papers functioning as ‘coats’

snippets, stickers and wool functining as accessories or make up

someone making red cheeks by sticking pink dots in the doll’s face

another character has a cute piggy face

a… skater?

7. Lohas stamp bag
There are actually a couple of environmentally friendly solutions presented at several venues across Tokyo during Design Week (great!), but one that let’s you do something (and this is fun for kids, too) is to get a white cotton/nylon bag and dig into the big box of stamps they offer at the Lohas stand to create your own bag design (when you enter the container exhibition through the main entrance it is at the very beginning on your far left). Young and old both seemed to enjoy some stamping fun and if you already have a shopping bag you keep with you at all times then simply enjoy stamping the free pages in your schedule…

lots of different stamps to chose from

select your favorite ones

and keep stamping until…

…voila! You created your own environmentally friendly shopping bag!

8. Design Donburi
If you think you have seen everything already, you might not have eaten everything! This year at Casa Brutus cafe @ Selan a special “Designer Donburi” (shortened as “Desa-Don”) is waiting for you! Names of designers and their “Desa-Dons” read as: Terence Conran (“conrandon”), Yoshioka Tokujin (tokujindon), Toyo Ito (toyoodon) and Kumagaya Kihachi (kihachidon). Bon Appetit!

Desa-Dons top to bottom, left to right: Conran-Don, Toyoo-Don, Tokujin-Don, Kihachi-Don

9. Tumbler life painting
Happy to hear that more and more designers focus on products which can prevent our daily garbage. In this case Atsushi Toyama in collaboration with Asyl Crack have a live painting show as part of the Treasured Trash event line inside the Design Tide main venue on Meiji Dori. What they do? They present beautiful designs for a personal tumbler you can carry to your favorite coffee place every morning and prevent – at least – one paper cup per day!

various tumbler designs at the Treasured Trash area as part of Design Tide

10. Swapping Party: ‘Your rubbish is my treasure’
Finally it’s the time for sharing your art experience – by contributing stuff of any kind to the ‘exchange auction’ at the Art-U room on Saturday where Dutch designer Anthony Kleinepier just introduced his ‘sign of the times’ exhibition. Bring something you want to share (or get rid of) and get something else in exchange on the swapping party! In case you live in Japan you probably have a whole cupboard stuffed with un-wanted “omiyage” – so here is your chance to exchange them for something useful….one hopes! Auctioneer Arsene is happy to lead you through and host the party afterwards.

Sign of the Times exhibition
  • Joey Roth

    Oh what I would do to be there…next year, next year. Thank you for this coverage!

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    Hey you forgot to mention the new mobile phone designs at the KDDI designing studio in Harajuku….Found that most interesting…..

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    That looks beyond fantastic!! I wish I was in Japan!

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