Tokyo Design and Craft Market 2013

Last week we checked out the Tokyo Design and Craft Market where exhibitors showcased products created using a combination of Japanese traditional craftwork and the latest in wood, metal and textile production technology.

Some exhibitors in particular displayed some very interesting products and designs that had applied this blend of tradition and modern often typically associated with Japan.

Kaminokousakujo (the paper workshop) seems to have taken origami to the extreme with their Kamigu brand which enables people to create a wide range of useful products (featured bellow) from just one sheet of folded paper.

Lite Lite: an Paper LED flashlight

Paper dust-pan and brush

Paper vase and airvase

stick-on planter

Paper glasses

Another exhibitor at the market Nagare had rebranded the Japanese art of furoshiki: often described as the “origami of waterproof cloth”. Originating in the Edo period, furoshiki was used by people to wrap up their belongings and protect them from getting wet while they enjoyed public baths or furo.

Nagare Fukoshiki

Nagare meaning flow refers to the way in which water slides right off the surface of the cloth as the products are designed to protect against rain and other liquids. As such Nagare can be used as a shopping bag, makeshift umbrella, stain-proof tablecloth and napkin. Since the material used repels liquid from both sides it can also be used to transport liquids and to water your plants.

There are many ways to wrap and tie a furoshiki to make the most of its many uses as the video bellow demonstrates.

Nagare furoshiki demonstrates the ideal mix of simplicity, Japaneseness and modern textile technology.

Luthier (pictured bellow) was another exhibitor that caught our eyes.

With wood sourced from the forests of Hakone and crafted using traditional techniques, Luthier created products with a useful purpose such as business card cases, tissue boxes, bowls and musical instruments.

These three exhibitors captivated our attention for the main reason that they have enhanced traditional Japanese crafting techniques to make useful products for everyday use. As they can be directly associated with the duality of Japan we’ve also seen a great interest overseas in modern products using traditional design and methods.

Related Posts:

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Tokyo Design Ah! Exhibition

Japan Media Arts Festival

About the Author

Thomas is a pentalingual graduate of Modern East Asian Studies from the University of Hong Kong, now based in Japan as editor of Shifteast.com for Mandalah Tokyo.