Although the pandemic keeps disrupting international design fairs with cancellations, postponed events and limited visitor entry, there is still a wealth of small exhibitions and online alternatives introducing new Japanese ideas and products. This month, On: Design focuses on a selection of new brands, all participating in an initiative to support manufacturers in Osaka.
The “New Life Beginnings Fair,” taking place at b8ta, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Marui through March 31, has impressive official backing. Part of the Osaka Business Development Agency’s Osaka Product Ecosystem Creation Project, and a collaboration with the Osaka Prefectural Government, it introduces 20 brands designed by local makers that range from food factories to manufacturers and traditional craftspeople. Many of the new products can also be viewed on the Granstra online exhibition platform.
Among the eclectic list of goods are healthy, high-protein Shape Men ramen noodles; Rijinda’s decorative masu wooden sake cups, carved by Osaka danjiri festival float carpenters; Tsumikin metal-worked designer building blocks; Shizuku cotton towels that are dyed using Osaka-grown vegetables; and even an innovative bristle roller toothbrush called Kurun.