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At The Interior Lifestyle Living Fair In Tokyo, Waste Is A Design Flaw

With a focus on offices and home offices, this design fair delivered lots of ideas on sustainability, efficient and space-saving furniture and the value of upcycling

The world’s largest trade fair, Messe Frankfurt, recently concluded the IFFT Interiors Lifestyle Living at the Tokyo Big Sight in Japan. Buyers, architects, designers and those in the contract business gathered to see 347 exhibitors from 16 countries and regions showcase their innovations in the field of design.

 

This year’s IFFT saw an emphasis on office design and how design helps in the overall office productivity. Architectural designers Mr. Makoto Tanijiri and Ms. Ai Yoshida of SUPPOSE DESIGN OFFICE (if you like the hip, industrial style of hotel koé in Shibuya then you’re fans of their work) were the directors of the special zone in the trade fair called “Office Up”.


The office or workplace is gradually changing as co-working spaces gain popularity. At Office Up, a long communal table with dozens of Ishinomaki Laboratory AA Stools as trestles served as the centerpiece. Black slotted steel framing and desks were flanked with metal bar stools which created an instant workspace. Simple and readily available materials to create these spaces were highlighted.



At Office Up, a long communal table with dozens of Ishinomaki Laboratory AA Stools as trestles served as the centerpiece At Office Up, a long communal table with dozens of Ishinomaki Laboratory AA Stools as trestles served as the centerpiece | Jar Concengco

Exhibitors like Bubble Lab have created modular shelving units with peg boards to fit any office space. They also have award winning designs that recognize the presence of technology in the workplace. They have a lamp that projects an interactive screen onto any surface. As cafes have proven to be places of work for many, and coffee has become part and parcel of any office, Bubble Lab designed a sleek and smart dispenser of milk. Using RFID tags on your mugs, it can precisely detect how much milk is needed for a skinny latte or a flat white.

Bubble Drip Lamp by Bubble Lamp Bubble Drip Lamp by Bubble Lamp | Jar Concengco

Home offices with space constraints were also presented with solutions at IFFT. Hokkaido-based furniture company called Taisetsu no Taisetsu Project re-imagined what it means to have a space at home to work in. A wooden hexagon served as a cubicle and an all wood enclosure with a surface and bench can create an environment without distractions while working. The company uses a sustainable tree native to Hokkaido called “han tree”, a relative to birch but not popularly used for furniture making.

Home office prototype by Hokkaido-based designer Taisetsu no Taiesetsu Home office prototype by Hokkaido-based designer Taisetsu no Taiesetsu | Jar Concengco

The IFFT showcased many examples why Japanese craftsmanship is excellent. Fukuoka-based Nagano Interiors had four-legged stools with seats that came in an array of colors and a promise of lifetime durability. 100-year-old La Vida, which hails from Fukushima, had wooden furniture mainly for the home. Shirakawa built a wheelchair with wooden accents. Kamei Norihiko tediously puts tiny preserved flowers one by one into a pumice stone to create a landscape and then chooses a plant based fragrance to perfume it with.

Kamei Norihiko renders miniature landscapes on pumice stones. Kamei Norihiko renders miniature landscapes on pumice stones. | Jar Concengco

From Japan’s No. 1 wooden furniture maker, Karimoku, comes Karimoku New Standard. KNS increases its sustainability by using off cuts and a type of Japanese wood that is hardly used for furniture. According to David Glaettly, creative director of KNS, the brand is veering towards a “future standard” and away from Karimoku’s 60’s classic designs.


 Karimoku New Standard, the off-spring of Karimoku, Japan's number 1 furniture manufacturer, focuses on sustainability. Karimoku New Standard, the off-spring of Karimoku, Japan's number 1 furniture manufacturer, focuses on sustainability. | Jar Concengco

Ishinomaki Laboratory unveiled their latest designs after some teasing on IG: the Tripodal Shelf designed by Studio Adjective of Hong Kong (the same duo that designed the award-winning Tripodal Stool), a planter designed by Jonah Takagi of the U.S.A., and a handsome upholstered chair by NORM Architects of Denmark. At the front of their exhibit are pieces from each of their “Made in Local” partners including those from Lamana (www.lamanaph.com), the exclusive Philippines partner and manufacturer of Ishinomaki Laboratory.

NORM Architects of Denmark designed this chair in partnership with Ishinomaki Lab. NORM Architects of Denmark designed this chair in partnership with Ishinomaki Lab.

Non-Japanese exhibitors were also at the IFFT such as RS Barcelona from Spain. RS Barcelona showcased their ping pong table that can easily be transformed into a dining table or conference table for the board room.

A huge part of IFFT dealt with upcycling, or creative reuse of waste materials. Architect Keiji Ashizawa headed the upcycling zone of the fair and tapped the likes of TORAFU ARCHITECTS and minna. TORAFU ARCHITECTS showed how waste products such as polythylene foam can be bound into a communal seating. Design duo minna used toy train tracks by Plarail that children don’t play with anymore and turned them into a mirror, trays and hangers.

A mirror, tray and hangers by minna. A mirror, tray and hangers by minna. | Jar Concengco

There was a number of ideas you can gain inspiration from after seeing all of the exhibitors from IFFT. But there are two takeaways that that are particularly loud. One is that you should take care of the space where you work as you spend so much time in it. And the second, designers are recognizing more and more that waste is a design flaw and, as consumers, we should be more conscious of it too.

Photographs by Jar Concengco