The latest incarnation of Tokyo Design Week.
The annual celebration of the best, brightest and future of contemporary Japanese art, architecture, and design—was struck by tragedy this year, when a fire at one of the exhibitions on the penultimate day of the two-week event sadly claimed the life of a five-year-old boy and injured several others. Naturally, the final day of the event, which was planned as two six-day sessions between October 26 and November 7, was cancelled. The report that follows was written after a visit to Tokyo Design Week several days before the accident. We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family of the victim and all those affected.
Tokyo Design Week once again proved to be a creative highlight on Tokyo’s event calendar. With approximately 700 exhibitors and in excess of 100,000 visitors in attendance over the course of two six-day sessions between October 26 and November 7, the event brought together a diverse range of architects and designers, students and colleges, independent creatives and major corporations with an equally varied mix of exhibitions, special events, parties and competitions.
While the format of many of the attractions at this year’s TDW will have been familiar to Design Week veterans, the most notable new development was the visually striking Air Tent exhibition, an outdoor collection of 4m x 4m translucent plastic domes containing collaborations between local colleges, companies and prominent Japanese creatives. To give just a couple of examples, Kengo Kuma—the architect behind the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games stadium—teamed up with cosmetics firm Kose to create Paper Snow, an Air Tent filled with white particles fluttering and dancing in the air, while contemporary artist Noburo Tsubaki worked with students at Kyoto University of Art and Design to produce a piece called Tideland Cat, which expressed the movement of a cat in stop-motion style.