This week “interiorlifestyle 2010” was held at Tokyo Big Sight. This is one of the main interior design shows held in Japan and for many years the organizers have approached us to exhibit at it. I walked the show on Wednesday to do some research for our upcoming Tokyo Design Week program and also to see how the show was doing.
One of the reasons I have never really been interested in taking BC Wood members to this show is that it is heavy to household goods like kitchen accessories, clocks, lighting, and knick knacks. While the furniture area did look better than in previous years, it was still small compared to the other sections. The one positive in the furniture displays this year was the amount of wood on display. There was a good selection of attractive wooden tables and chairs. However, many of these seemed to be made from domestic Japanese wood species, which is a reflection of the Japanese government’s attempts to offset CO2 emissions by encouraging the use of domestic wood.
Walking around I came across quite a few interesting products. My favourite was a new product called Aqua Wood which is laminated decorative panel combining wood and acrylic strips. With the wood you can choose from Japanese oak, Japanese ash, and walnut. The acrylic strips come in several colours and allow light to shine through the panels creating a unique look as a wall covering, partitioning walls, countertops, etc. The panels come in two sizes (920mm x 1820mm and 920mm x 2320mm) and cost about Y180,000 ($2000) per panel.
Another display that I liked showcased doors with built in storage. The target market for these doors seems to be condos where space is at a premium so having extra storage anywhere is a plus. Some units were for the entrance and allowed for such things as slippers, keys, and bags to be neatly stowed away. Another example was of a bedroom door that had jewellery boxes built in.
This show has always had a strong international presence and this year was no different. The surprising thing was that it was the European companies that were dominant this time. There was a big area for ASEAN and the Philippines had a large booth, but China was no where to be seen. The Europeans had a very large area made up of country pavilions from Italy, Germany, Portugal, France, etc.. Maybe with the weak US and European markets they are turning to Japan to make up some sales. As usual, Canada was represented by Umbra at this show.
It was interesting to see such new products and also meet with importers specializing in interior goods. However, my overall impression of the show has not changed and I still don’t think interiorlifestyle is a good fit for our members. Let’s get ready for Tokyo Design Week!