Japan House London Announces Design Discoveries: Towards a DESIGN MUSEUM JAPAN

Japan House London Announces Design Discoveries: Towards a DESIGN MUSEUM JAPAN

15 May – 8 September 2024

LONDON, Feb. 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Japan is synonymous with exemplary design and yet has no dedicated national museum of design. Leading Japanese designers from different disciplines were asked, “If there were a permanent Japanese design collection, what would you put in it?”. Their diverse responses are the subject of an exciting new exhibition opening at Japan House London in the spring, following successful shows at the National Art Center in Tokyo and at partner sites in Los Angeles and São Paulo.

Seven major Japanese creators, from filmmakers to architects and fashion designers, present their chosen national treasures, spanning 10,000 years from a variety of locations across the country. Each choice represents something from a specific prefecture, and the exhibition presents the background story of each example of design, its specific connection to the region, and in-depth perspectives from the experts who chose and researched the objects.

Designers and their chosen treasures on display at Design Discoveries: Towards a DESIGN MUSEUM JAPAN

  • Fashion designer Hirokawa Tamae, whose past work is part of the permanent collection at MoMA in New York, presents the 700-year-old Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival in Fukuoka, calling it ‘a pillar that connects the past, present, and future’.
  • Architect and ex-Sega videogame designer Mizuguchi Tetsuya offers up a ‘transacoustic piano‘ from Shizuoka, in which an embedded speaker creates a sonic experience that can be felt through the entire body.
  • Fashion designer Morinaga Kunihiko (of brand ANREALAGE) presents haburagin – a talismanic patchwork garment worn by trainee priestesses from the island of Amami in Kagoshima.
  • Sudō Reiko, one of Japan’s most influential textile designers, looks at sportswear inspired by the enormous paper lanterns paraded in Toyama’s Yotaka Andon Festival.
  • Tagawa Kinya, co-founder of international design agency Takram, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art (UK), picks ‘Yanagi Sōri Cutlery‘ from Ishikawa. Yanagi Sōri (1915–2011) was one of Japan’s most revered product designers, and Tagawa delves into Yanagi’s design of a single spoon.
  • Architect Tane Tsuyoshi shows earthenware from the Jōmon Period, shedding light on people’s daily living situations in Iwate over 10,000 years ago and how this still impacts design today.
  • Filmmaker Tsujikawa Kōichirō chooses the beauty of wooden spinning tops from Hyōgo because ‘a toy is the first designed object a human comes into contact with’.

Each design is presented on a dedicated display cube, in and around which the contributors contextualise and explain the significance of their chosen design treasure. The displays include videos documenting each creator’s research process, produced by NHK, Japan’s Emmy Award-winning public media broadcaster.

Visitors will be invited to participate in an interactive section of the exhibition, asking them to answer the question “What does design mean to you?”, contributing examples from their own cultures and daily lives. Guests are also encouraged to mark sites of interesting design they have encountered across the world on an expansive “Design Map”.

Sam Thorne, Director General and CEO of Japan House, said:

“Spanning ten millennia, this exhibition is an experiment in imagining what a design museum of the future might look like. It is about speculation and collaboration. We are thrilled to be presenting it at Japan House London.”

Organized by NHK, Japan’s only public media broadcaster, together with NHK Promotions and NHK Educational, the exhibition is part of Japan House’s global touring exhibition programme. The exhibition was first shown at the National Art Center in Tokyo, followed by Japan House São Paulo in 2023 and Japan House Los Angeles in January 2024. The version appearing at Japan House London in May 2024 will include a new global interactive map, where visitors are invited to share their own design treasures, not seen at any of the prior iterations of the exhibition.

Notes to Editors

About Japan House London

Japan House London is a cultural destination offering guests the opportunity to experience the best and latest from Japan. Located on London’s Kensington High Street, the experience is an authentic encounter with Japan, engaging and surprising even the most knowledgeable guests. Presenting the very best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation, and technology, it deepens the visitor’s appreciation of all that Japan has to offer. This year, Japan House London marks five years of bringing the best of Japan to the UK and beyond. Part of a global initiative, there are two other Japan Houses, one in Los Angeles and the other in São Paulo.

CONTACT: [email protected]

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