Objet II table partition, by Akira Nakagomi, on show at the "New Normal New Standard" as part of Milan Design Week 2023. Image courtesy of New Norma New Standard (via PR Times)
Japanese Design Excels at Milan Design Week 2023
The annual Salone del Mobile Milan, the world’s largest design and furniture fair, also dubbed Milan Design Week, has always been great opportunity for Japanese designers to showcase its newest creative works. This year, the fair returns to its annual spring dates (April 18-23) for the first time, and with it comes a particularly impressive turnout of Japanese contributions.
Every year, design writer and NiMi Projects co-founder Mio Yamada, previews her pick of Japanese design exhibitions for The Japan Times.
Here’s just a few of her favorites, but to see a more comprehensive list and learn more about shows in Milan, we’d love you to visit Mio's On: Design column for the national newspaper.
Image courtesy of Type-V Nature Architects Project by A-POC Able Issey Miyake (via PR Times)
“Thinking Design, Making Design: Type-V Nature Architects Project by A-POC Able Issey Miyake” at Via Bagutta, Milan
We are huge fans of Issey Miyake Design Studio, whose team of designers faithfully continue Miyake’s legacy of innovative textiles and clever garments.
This exhibition at the Issey Miyake Via Bagutta store promises a showcase of new 3-dimensional textiles designed A-POC Able Issey Miyake in collaboration with Nature Architects computational design engineering. It’s origami-like, futuristic, a little bizarre and fascinating.
The Honey Drop lamp, designed by Akira Nakagomi and on show at "New Normal New Standard" as part of Milan Design Week 2023. Image courtesy of New Normal New Standard (via PR Times)
"New Normal New Standard" at Via Pastrengo 7
We have actually had our eye on the New Normal New Standard project for a while. Inspired by changes in lifestyle brought on by the pandemic, this group of designers have been rethinking everyday objects since 2020. Of an array of past and new products, our favorite is Akira Nakagomi's Honey Drop lamp, a glowing vessel of honey that has antibacterial properties. Check The Japan Times to read about other innovative New Normal New Standard works.
“The Thinking Piece | Obscure Solutions” at Dropcity, Milan Central Station.
Here, five up-and-coming Japanese designers introduce experimental conceptual works designed to challenge our perception of design in contemporary society. The Thinking Piece lineup comprises organic-looking recycled and upcycled manmade materials and textiles by We+ and Sae Honda, unusual inflatable leather furniture by Satomi Minoshima and two striking installations from Takuto Ohta and Takt Project. We don't have images we can publish here, but check their website for their official shots.
Sekisai’s “Phantasmagorical Skin" 3-D printed vases, on show as part of "Co-Breathing Objects" at Salone Satellite, Milan Design Week 2023. Image courtesy of Sekisai (Via PR Times)
"Co-Breathing Objects" at Salone Satellite
A vibrant celebration of design technology, this Salone Satelllite exhibition showcases Sekisai’s “Phantasmagorical Skin,” a 3-D-printed material with a fantastical color-shifting surface. The collection includes vases, lampshades and a sleek chair, all with a corrugated texture that is part of the secret of its color transforming design.
Fumie Shibata's wall art made of iron by Sugiyama Seisakusho for "The Beauty of Structure” at Galleria Antonio Battaglia, Milan Design Week 2023. Image courtesy of Sugiyama Seisakusho (Via PR Times)
"The Beauty of Structure” at Galleria Antonio Battaglia
Here, metalworker artisans Sugiyama Seisakusho prove that ironwork, so often associated with gates and garden furniture, can be produce elegant and sophisticated home interiors. So many techniques are showcased through the work of four renowned Japanese designers. Kazuteru Murasawa and Tomokazu Murakami use pipework for a smooth curved chairs, while Kohei Ito's angular chair is made from wrought iron. Our favorite, though, is Fumie Shibata's geometric wall art — simple but unusual and striking.
Be sure to read The Japan Times article to discover other satellite exhibitions of Milan Design Week, including Kyoto nishijin brocade manufacture Kawashima Selkon’s textile installation and furniture maker Karimoku’s latest wooden interior pieces. And don't forget to check the official Salone del Mobile website for other information.