Every year there are many interior design shows besides Tokyo Designers Week held in Tokyo and I try to visit as many as possible to prepare for our own activities. Recently I was able to walk the annual Interior Lifestyle show.
I was particularly interested in seeing this show as it is one of the major ones and it is also the first big design event held since 3/11. Everyone is worried about how the triple disaster is affecting business sentiment as well as overseas company interest in the Japanese market. The Interior Lifestyle show demonstrated that while business is getting back up to speed, things definitely remain bumpy.
The biggest news from the show was that it was reduced from four halls at Big Sight to three. Apparently several of the main overseas exhibitors were still worried about aftershocks and the nuclear situation and thus cancelled their participation right before the show. This left the organizers in a tough spot and forced them to reduce the scale of the show. However, I was happy to see that countries like Austria, France, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, and Taiwan exhibited with significant pavilions despite these circumstances.
Talking to exhibitors I know, it sounded like attendance was also down about 15-20%. People felt that with a smaller show people did not think it would be worthwhile to make the trek out to Big Sight. However, they also reported that those who did come showed interest and felt that their efforts at the show would lead to sales. This positive result was also a result of extra efforts that many put into their booths to attract and catch attendees within their borders. I noted a few ideas that we might “borrow” for future BC Wood pavilions!
Walking around I also saw many new and interesting products. The one that fascinated me the most was this cast aluminum “Dumbbell” created by former Sony product designer Shinichi Sumikawa (http://www001.upp.so-net.ne.jp/sumikawa/dunbell.html). It is a real 2kg dumbbell that would also look great on a living room shelf. I encourage you to take a look at his “Fruit Bowl” piece as well as his other works (http://www001.upp.so-net.ne.jp/sumikawa/aqua000.html).