Designart 2021 is all about being lucky
Designart, Tokyo’s annual international art and design festival, is back this year with exhibitions and installations presented at over 40 venues in central Tokyo. Even though the most recent state of emergency has been lifted, visitors will be required to follow COVID-19 precautionary measures and, like last year, the festival’s discussions and lectures are being streamed online.
This year’s theme is the word “chance”. Ahead of its opening on October 22, “On: Design” has selected a few standout events from this huge showcase of new designs to help you get the most out of the festival.
“Under 30” is Designart’s internal selection of top emerging international designers, each chosen by a founding festival member to show their work at various locations in Roppongi, Shibuya and Harajuku. This year, three Japanese design units and artists, plus a Chinese and a Scottish, were chosen to present innovative ideas related to serendipity and everyday interactions.
Interior designer Atushi Shindo explores common materials found in Toyama Prefecture, including stone, glass, and even loofah, to create conceptual works designed to reconnect people with nature. Taking into account the natural beauty of materials, physical properties and local craftsmanship, Shindo’s pieces for “Blink,” which are on display at Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, are elegant and minimalist, while evoking the warmth of their provenance. with smooth and soft contours. shapes.
Shanshan Liu and Xiulai Zhou of Salt In take an equally holistic approach to design. The two Musashino Art University graduates explain that “salt” refers to their search for the right amount of “seasoning” – the internal details of the materials that influence the design – to create innovative works. Extensive investigations into materials and objects, from composition and production to history and contemporary use, inform the unique and witty works of Salt In on display at Think of Things in Harajuku.
Kathleen Reilly, a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London and winner of the 2019 Daiwa Fellowship, brings subtle humor to everyday life. Currently based in Tsubame, Niigata Prefecture – Japan’s metallurgy center – Reilly is rethinking our relationship with everyday objects, especially tableware, with playful and subversive creations that link art and functional design. For Designart, she presents “Oku”, an unusual knife with a twisted handle, made in collaboration with the Tsubame cutlers and on display at the Blue Bottle Coffee in Roppongi.
In keeping with Designart’s theme of chance, Kentaro Takagi of the Aroundant design unit presents “WM project”, a loom that weaves a pattern produced by the movements of attached musical instruments. The goal, says Aroundant, is to create a new and unpredictable textile from the capricious nature of music. Also from d’Aroundant, this time Soichiro Tanaka, is “Less Than an Instrument,” a sheet of expanded metal trellis lit by tiny LED lights invisibly encrusted under the metal to create a mysterious glow. Both works, collectively titled “Purism,” can be seen at Sloth in Shibuya.
The last of the five “under 30” is Hiromasa Fukaji, who combines precise numerical data with the inconsistencies of old-school art mediums. Fukaji’s plotter drawing converts digital data from vector images to program a device that can be equipped with a pencil, pen or brush. His resulting monochrome drawings, shown alongside Salt In’s work in Think of Things, are intricate and intricately detailed. Look closely, however, and the designs preserve tiny deviations and flaws in the calligraphy or brushwork, still influenced by friction, gravity, and surrounding moisture.
Hibiya Okuroji – a 300-meter passage of shops and restaurants under an overpass connecting Yurakucho and Shinbashi stations – will house exhibits of ceramics, artwork, furniture, home goods and more.
The range of exhibitions of young talent and new projects includes minimalist pieces from the Tsuyama furniture collection, all created from locally grown wood; a digital installation by Karakuri that transforms Arita porcelain from Fukujugama into an interactive artistic experience; and the Johanna Gullichsen Rakusai collection, a collaboration between Finnish geometric textiles from Gullichsen and Japanese furniture.
Favorites of “On: Design” have to be Pivoto’s exhibition of unusual cedar and Japanese cypress wood chairs designed by eight architects, and Yushima Art & Okunote’s collaboration with craftsman Kiyoshi Isshiki for their “collection” New TRASHditional Crafts’ of everyday waste reinvented into works of art using traditional decorative paper techniques.
Kuradashi – The Archetypes
For visitors looking to purchase an original design piece, Kuradashi – The Archetypes, a creative market hosted by Jin Kuramoto at Designart’s hub, the World Kita Aoyama Building in Minato Ward, is a must-see. The list of big names participating is more than impressive, including interior designers, artists, architects and more.
Designart promises that this will be a rare opportunity to purchase original one-off pieces, such as prototypes, experimental works, and studio pieces that have never been released to the market. With big international names, such as product designer Fumie Shibata, architect Jo Nagasaka, interior and product designer Teruhiro Yanagihara, textile and fashion brand Mina Perhonen and lighting and product designer YOY, there is bound to be something for any discerning design or art lover. .
Kuradashi – The Archetypes will also be available online through the ubgoe crowdfunding service for those who cannot make it to the Tokyo site.
Designart takes place from October 22 to 31 at various locations in Tokyo. For more information visit designart.jp/designarttokyo2021.
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