Established in 2005, Tokyo Design Week has done an admirable job of showcasing Japanese creators both major and minor. Unfortunately, this year has been a bit of a let-down from past years’ presentations. Much smaller in scale and yet still heavily populated by corporate stalls, there were a lot of exhibitors displaying the same ideas as last year. But there were a few things that caught my eye.
Tokyo Teshigoto, a project by the Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center, proves that bureaucrats have style despite the ill-conceived “Cool Japan.” The initiative promotes 40 traditionally crafted products — including kiriko glassware, shippo cloissone, woodblock prints and hand-bound brushes. Using contemporary design that enhances, rather than interferes with, traditional aesthetics, these are products that should also appeal to a foreign audience.