Again this year, the week that was...
Again this year, the week that was TDW'07 could hardly be topped as far as design happenings in Tokyo, and despite the countless shows, events, and yes, parties, I live to tell the tale. If anything, everything seemed to be even better organized this year, although let us keep mum on what transpires the minute before the doors open (and let us be thankful that everything usually ends up coming together brilliantly in the end).
There are some who may wonder why there isn't one global directory to all of the design-related events, and that is certainly something that should be looked into for future editions. Most of the official sites are also sadly lacking in details (especially on the English side), and so you really have to be on top of all the guides and flyers if you want to claim to have seen a good portion of what is on show.
DesignTide proved again to be the crowd-pleaser, with more emphasis on presentation and artistic sensibility (compared to the more commercial 100% Design Tokyo). The opening party was a blast, and it certainly was great to see a good portion of the city's design/creative community converge on one spot.
Yes, it does indeed have a strong focus on the business side of the industry, but 100% Design Tokyo remains the exhibition to see in terms of products, and for that I wasn't disappointed. Some better management, including a dedicated darkened hall for lighting companies, did make for a better overall feel, and it was satisfying to check in again with a few designers/companies, getting an update on what they've been up to, and what's coming in the near future.
The rest of the Tokyo Designer's Week grounds (of which 100% Design Tokyo was a part of) offered quite a few varied areas to take in, including the "Japan Brand" hall (branding traditional Japanese makers in a slick way to help sell the country's craftsmanship to a modern audience), the "Blickfang" tent, which involved mostly fashion, but with a fair amount of European design on display, and then of course the container and student exhibitions, that seemed to blend into each other this year (many of the containers were collaborations between design schools and companies).
Swedish Style took a bit of a back seat this year, with fewer events but more collaborations (they had booths at both 100% Design Tokyo and DesignTide). A highlight was the "UNG 06/07" young designers exhibition, held at the Marunouchi Building near Tokyo Station, where quite a few interesting concepts and prototypes made it worth the trip (the rest of the design events mostly took place in Harajuku/Aoyama).
What could be improved for next year? A better web presence, more downloadable guides and maps, and more of a united front could certainly elevate things. But then again, as with the past few years, it's hard to criticize too much when there was so much interesting things to see, experience, and be a part of. I'm already excited for next year! JS
Read more at: http://feeds.mocoloco.com/~r/mocoloco/KGTY/~3/181167689/004738.php.