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bar news and views

529: Trend spotting
Trina O'Hara takes us on a tour of international furniture fairs to find the top Japanese designers at work today.
521: Child's play
Trina O'Hara checks out the design celebrities hatching playful furniture and accessories for kids.
517: Personal Effects
In celebration of the centennial of his birth, Trina O'Hara looks at the life and enduring legacy of Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi.
513: Seeing the light
Trina O'Hara ponders the latest interior design trend and finds the answer is clear.
505: Lights of fancy
Trina O'Hara checks out the contemporary chandeliers and whimsical lighting sculptures fast becoming fine art across the city.
501: Natural causes
493: Living rooms
Inspired by the diverse lifestyles of this teeming metropolis, design experts Kyoko Asakura and Jaume J. Nasple-Baulenas have compiled an intriguing look inside the city's private homes. Tama Miyake Lung talks to the authors of Tokyo Houses.
489: Living in the past
Art editor John McGee reveals three Tokyo stores that specialize in finding the best of what's old in Japanese antiques.
485: Monochrome marvels
Black and white are back in fashion and making their mark in the interior design scene. Martin Webb reports on how to get the look for less.
481: Cut and paste
Scrapbooking has swept America, where it's big business, and now it's catching on in Japan. Chris Betros attends a "cropalong."
477: Moss cause
A sprinkling of moss can transform any windowsill into a miniature Zen temple. Hanna Kite offers some tips for bringing a little tranquility home.
469: Ikebana for idiots
With a plethora of rules and schools, Ikebana can be intimidating, not to mention time-consuming. But who says busy people have to miss out on this ancient art form? Georgia Jacobs gives you the basics on no-fuss flower-arrangement.
466: A dyeing breed
Winning fans from New York to Tokyo, designer Akiyoshi Yaezawa is putting a traditional stamp on modern accessories using a 17th-century hand-dyeing and painting process. Krista Wilson reports.
457: Party of five
Matt Wilce lays out five luscious looks for New Year.
449: Thought out
Designers create spaces but they also like to inhabit them. SuperDeluxe offers a place to drink and think for the design community—and of course their friends
445: Design on Tokyo
A trio of interior design events is on its way to bring style into our Tokyo living rooms
439: Setting pretty
Matt Wilce lays the table with styles for summer.
435: Tropical haven
Asian furnishings are finding their way to flats across the city
431: Wed white and blue
Treasures of traditional Japanese design, blue and white are the perfect foil for Tokyo's sweltering summers
427: Have a ball
Who says you need tickets to catch a piece of World Cup action?
423: Collection point
Nishi-Ogikubo's 65 pre-loved furniture stores make up Tokyo's great antique oasis
419: Flower power
Bring your gloomy flat back to life with seasonal flowers.
415: On the mend
Tokyo's fix-it men can have your furniture back in form
411: Phone home
Panasonic unveils the e-lifestyle of the near future
407: Launch Pad
Sputnik Pad lands in Jingumae
399: Interiors

395: Interiors
Kitchenware flare
391: Interiors
Ide is one of Tokyo’s most established interiors stores
387: Inner sanctum
The days of sitting on the tatami floor are over
383: Life in style
Tokyo's embraces ultra-modern design
367: Wealthy workplaces
Put feng shui to work at work
364: Healthy homes
The ancient Chinese art of feng shui

Designs on Tokyo

A trio of interior design events is on its way to bring style into our Tokyo living rooms. Stephen Cotterill pulls up a chair and gets the lowdown.

The Cloud, by Snowcrash

Tokyo may be one of the most convenient cities in the world to live in, but it's also one of the most crowded. Making what little space we do have into a home is a challenge for even the most inspired homemakers and designers. To give a few pointers, a trio of events is coming to town over the next few weeks to showcase the best of international and domestic interior design. Tokyo Designer's Week, Swedish Style and Tokyo Designers Block are back with their annual design fest combining architecture, music, art, film and more as well as offering groundbreaking furniture designs to brighten up our tatami rabbit hutches.


Tokyo Designer's Week 2002

Running from Oct 10-14 in Tokyo and Oct 31 to Nov 4 in Osaka, Designer's Week this year is focusing on nurturing and supporting Japan's young and upcoming design talent. In line with this concept, the theme for DW's 14th year is experimentation. "We want to develop culture-rich lifestyles in Japan through introducing new designs within Japan, and to the rest of the world," says Project Manager Kaori Honda.

The official events in Tokyo involve around 70 shops, design companies, embassies and colleges. The Experimental Furniture Design Exhibition at the Karajan Plaza in Akasaka's Ark Hills complex will showcase 125 chairs, tables and shelves by new designers who have yet to make a name for themselves as well as displaying 13 selected pieces by established designers. The exhibition is open from 10am to 6pm except on the final day, when it closes at 4pm.

At the Triton Square in Harumi, the Student Works Exhibition, entitled Suwaru-Katachi, will show off designs by Japan's aspiring talent from approximately 27 fine arts universities and vocational schools throughout the nation. The exhibition is open from 10am to 7pm daily during the week, except on the final day when it closes at 4pm.

Individual designers and participating outlets include Kanae Tsukamoto, Yoshihiko Mamiya, FABRICA and Studio 80. By collecting DW stamps at participating shops and event halls, visitors can enter a lottery to win any three items of their choice. Information stations providing details on participants and events during the week will be set up in Shinjuku Living Designer Center Ozone, Akasaka Karajan Plaza and Aoyama Perrier Wonderland, which is also the venue for the official party on Oct 12.


Swedish Style in Tokyo 2002

Set up to increase cultural and commercial exchange between Sweden and Japan, Swedish Style offers a veritable smorgasbord of tasty artistic and cultural treats including Swedish Film & Video Day, a weeklong Swedish food fair, and a Swedish Trance Party at Alise featuring DJ Anti and others.

Claesson-Koivisto-Rune table Brasilia



However, Swedish design, and introducing it to Japan, is still the main focus of the 10-day program. "Compared to major Western nations, Japanese people do not have many preconceived ideas of what Sweden is like," says Project Manager Assistant Fredrik Cederroth. "When people have a stereotype of Swedish design it normally includes functionalism, but today's Swedish designers have left behind the ultra-functional ideas and are now more inventive and playful than ever." None more playful than the designers represented during the festival, such as the trio of acclaimed architects Claesson-Koivisto-Rune who dress in entirely black, work together collectively or individually, and even share the same email address. Then there is Snowcrash, which has made a portable, inflatable room for relaxation and meditation called The Cloud.

Another newcomer, David Carlsson, is opening the first Swedish design shop in Japan, David Design, in Daikanyama together with Japanese partner, Collex Living, and they are kicking things off with an opening party at La Fabrique in Shibuya on Oct 10. The upstarts will be joined by more established designers such as the grand old man of Swedish design, ke Axelsson, who will be showcasing his internationally famous chairs.

With around 37 events to choose from, there's a lot to pack in. The Swedish embassy is running its Stylish Hours daily from 5 to 7pm (except Oct 11), where visitors can get a catalogue and a program of the events to help plan their itinerary. The Trip to Sweden exhibition, created by Monica Fšrster and Nina Jobs, will be on display at the embassy during the festival. There will be a bar serving beer, wine and sandwiches as well as musical entertainment and entry is free.


Tokyo Designers Block 2002

The Tokyo Designers Block is a five-day contemporary design extravaganza featuring inanimate and interactive exhibits from over 200 local and overseas designers. The theme of this year's event, "design has no boundaries," means the TDB is not only about interior design, but a broad palette of graphic design, architecture, installation art, and fashion design presented in venues across Tokyo. "The city will become an installation," says Shizue Hamano of the TDB Organizers Committee, who also notes that this, the third TDB, will be the biggest on record.

Started in London as a forum for up-and-coming interior, graphic and fashion design, weeklong "designers block" festivals have since sprung up in cities around the world, with annual events taking place in London, Paris, New York, and now Tokyo. In addition to design competitions and traveling design exhibitions, TDB 2002's showpiece will be a "Sputnik Airport," complete with futuristic lobby lounge and aircraft interiors, created specifically for the event.

Outside Aoyama's Children's Castle at last years's TDB

Founded and curated by Teruo Kurosaki, head of the Idée interiors empire and the space age Sputnik design store, the TDB was established, he says, after seeing the event in London and believing Tokyo needed a similar forum for design. Having already kick-started the career of design titans like Marc Newson and Phillip Starck in the 1980s, Kurosaki is using the TDB to nurture young designers from around the world by making design competitions such as the TDB Award and Idée Design Competition central to the festival.

While established designers from Newson to Nobuo Araki and Karim Rashid will feature works at this years TDB, lesser known talent from design schools and universities including Design Academy Eindhoven-who will "improvise" works from second-hand objects-will also be conspicuous at the scores of TDB venues. These will include bars (Las Chicas), nightclubs (Think Zone), galleries (Teien Art Museum), embassies (Australia, France, Israel and Sweden) and institutes (Institut franco-japonais de Tokyo), too numerous to mention here.


Tokyo Designer's Week 2002 Oct 10-14. Designer's Week Secretariat, 1-17-11 Minami-Aoyama Minato-Ku. Tel: 03-3470-7699. Fax: 03-3470-7705. Website:

Swedish Style in Tokyo 2002 Oct 5-15. Embassy of Sweden, Commercial Office, 1-10-3-200 Roppongi Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5562-5000. Fax: 03-5562-9080. Website:

Tokyo Designers Block 2002 Oct 10-14.

Photo credits:
Brasilia and The Cloud: Courtesy of the Embassy of Sweden
Designer's Week poster: Courtesy of Designer's Week Secretariat
Funky chair: Courtesy of TBD