Kicking off Tokyo’s Design Week 2011, the DESIGNTIDE exhibition is showcasing a wide variety of projects by young Japanese designers that present new thoughts and forms in creating sustainable design. Under this year’s theme “Trading Design, Trading Ideas”, DESIGNTIDE is comprised of several exhibitions, lectures and a designers market at Midtown Tokyo, as well as satellite exhibitions at stores and galleries all over the city.
Several projects at the main exhibition of DESIGNTIDE addressed sustainability directly or indirectly through the materials and processes they used, extending the life of objects by giving them another use, making something beautiful from discarded materials, among other things.
A wood company turned furniture label, See-saw, invited PANTALOON to design a collection of everyday products with emphasis on the relationship between people and products. The synergy of this collaboration produced interesting results that reflect on the wood production process, like the Knotted table which covers the knots in the wooden surface (often discarded for furniture pieces) with colorful melamine circles. Each table’s pattern varies, and the points also provide a safe spot to put cups or hot objects without damaging the wooden surface.
Another project that gives an unusual twist to everyday products is Tolerance by Daisuke Kitagawa. The Rename collection takes away the name of objects like cups, glasses and jars by adding a wooden extension that changes its original use. Giving a new function to these readymade objects, Kitagawa intends to give them a new and more appreciated life to them. Although DESIGNTIDE isn’t centered on green design, it is great to see how most of the new ideas generated by these young Japanese designers address sustainability in new and creative ways.