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Dispatch: Tokyo Design Week

Design has taken over the city, with Tokyo Designer’s Week, 100% Design Tokyo, DesignTide, and Swedish Style all staking claim to everyone’s event calendar until November 4 (the Swedes will continue their celebrations up to November 8). After attending Tuesday’s preview of DesignTide, it looks like things are off to a decent start. The Olympic stadium gymnasium is a perfect location, giving all of this year’s installations — and us attendees — a bit more breathing room. Multidisciplinary firm Assistant continues to transform the city’s cultural landscape, this time with outdoor signage and a massive installation that greets you as you enter the main site. Once inside, you either take a tour of the main Tide Exhibition, or head to the Tide Mart, where designers are eagerly waiting to sell their works. The DesignTide merch area is also worth a stop to pick up one of the ALPHABET Project black-on-white t-shirts — each letter designed by a different creator. I’ve got my eye on “S” by Satō Kashiwa.

It’s still too early to tell how this year’s Tokyo Design Week will compare to what we’ve seen in previous years, but it’s certainly off to a promising start. There are already some grumblings about 100% Design Tokyo — from participants about the treatment by organizers and from attendees about venue size — but for now I’ll reserve judgment and wait to see how the next few days pan out.

November 1, 2007

Jean Snow lives and breathes design and pop culture in Tokyo — sustained by an unhealthy addiction to magazines and frequent visits to his favorites cafes. His personal website is located at

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