This year’s series of design events that cluster together to form Tokyo’s so-called “design week(s)” is a bit sadder because it’s the first since one of the major events, Designtide, closed down after the 2012 edition. However, it’s a mistake to simply think that the other events have scaled back. Far from it, everything is livelier than ever! PingMag went along to check out Design Touch, now in its seventh year and one of the main events in the calendar.
This year’s Design Touch was themed around “going in search of design”. Well, if you head to Roppongi’s Tokyo Midtown to do that, the first example you may encounter is this massive “dungeon”.
It’s called the Midtown Dungeon, designed by architect Ryuji Fujimura. At first glance, it looks like a giant maze but actually it’s a city based on the grid design of Manhattan, complete with a “skyscraper” towering up in the middle space which is meant to be Central Park. The idea is visitors experience design with the five senses, wandering through the spaces, playing hide-and-seek or climbing the tower to watch the scenery.
The white containers that appear out of nowhere are part of a selection of 2013′s best designers, curated by Elle Decor Japan. You can stroll around the containers, taking everything from top global products to independent design.
This is Salone in Roppongi, designed by nendo and which was already exhibited earlier this year at Milano Salone. Walk into the middle and it’s a mysterious, warm and tranquil space.
The start of Design Touch also coincided with the announcement of the Tokyo Midtown Award. The competition gathers the best in both art and design, and the works selected for the second round were also on display inside Midtown.
You can also find lots of artworks around the Midtown area. Here the artists and designers have created work using Inada stone, one of the best quality stones in the world. The granite stone is often used for grave markers and if you keep that in mind, the exhibits take on a different character.
It’s not part of Design Touch but we also used the occasion to visit the Toraya store in Midtown. The long-established confectionary brand is currently hosting the ‘Sugar Cats’ exhibition and we thought it was too good not to include here as well. It introduces traditional cat dolls from around Japan.
Well, that was just a quick overview but we hope your interest was piqued. As well as the exhibits, there are also workshops and other events scheduled through Design Touch, so be sure to head to Roppongi to have fun with the design (and the cats).
October 18th to November 4th