Cocoon Chair | Designer: Ann Pamintuan | Section: Stainless Steel

Take a Sneak Peek into the Finest Japanese Design Exhibit at the MET Museum

by Mich Escultura

Japanese Design Today 100

For those of you who love the simplicity of Japanese design, it’s time to clear a date from July 1 to August 19, 2016, so you can check out Japanese Design Today 100 at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MET).

Headed by design critic and Musashino Art University Professor, Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Japanese Design Today 100 presents 100 of the finest examples of Japanese design from the 1950s to the 1990s with a spotlight on everyday products. The exhibit is divided into 10 categories: Classic Japanese Design, Furniture and Houseware, Tableware and Cookware, Apparel and Accessories, Children, Stationery, Hobbies, Healthcare, Disaster Relief, and Transportation.

Prof. Hiroshi Kashiwagi discussing the 5 characteristics of Japanese design with the help of a translator.
Prof. Hiroshi Kashiwagi discussing the 5 characteristics of Japanese design with the help of a translator | Photo by Mich Escultura

According to Prof. Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Japanese design has 5 main features; they are craftlike, minimalist, thoughtful, compact, and “kawaii”. While not all of these features are present in all designs, you can easily tell that each design focuses on at least one of these features.

Here are some prominent designs from the collection.

15.0% Ice Cream Spoon by TAKATA Lemnos Inc.

Japanese Exhibit Manila 2016 MET
Image by Mich Escultura

These adorable little ice cream spoons have a hidden secret. Each spoon is hollow on the inside to adapt to the userโ€™s hand temperature, making scooping up ice cream so much easier!

132 5. Issey Miyake โ€œNo. 1 Dressโ€ by Miyake Design Studio and Light Fitting [IN-EI Issey Miyake โ€œMoguraโ€]

Miyake Design Japanese Exhibit Manila
Image by Mich Escultura
Japanese Exhibit Manila 2016 MET
Image by Mich Escultura

The striking feature of this dress is how easy it is to fold and store. The No. 1 Dress is made with a single fabric with strategic folds and cuts to create a three-dimensional pattern. The Mogura is made the same way, with only one piece of material. Both are of recyclable fibers.

Final Home โ€œHome 1โ€ by A-Net Inc.

Image by Michelle Escultura
Image by Michelle Escultura

This coat has lots of zippers and hidden compartments for two ingenious purposes. First, it can be used to store objects within oneโ€™s person, eliminating the need to carry a bag. Secondly, the compartments can be filled with stuffing such as newspapers to give the wearer additional warmth. This design was conceptualized primarily for homeless people who need warm clothes to survive harsh winters.

Wasara by Wasara Co., Ltd.

Image provided by Metropolitan Museum of Manila
Image provided by Metropolitan Museum of Manila

Designer Shinichiro Ogata saw how disposable cups, utensils, and flatware often look ugly, and so he created these designs that will make you want to think twice about throwing them away. The Wasara set of paper plates and cups are made from tree-free renewable materials like the mixed pulp of sugarcane waste, bamboo, and reed.

Discourses in Design: Philippine-Japanese Cultural Linkages

Alongside the Japanese Design Today 100 exhibit is Discourses is Design: Philippine-Japanese Cultural Linkages, a collective exhibit of designs made by Filipino designers who engaged in collaborations and cultural exchange programs with Japanese designers.

The exhibit is curated by industrial designer and design professor Myrna Sunico, who has been affiliated with the University of Santo Tomas and has served as the dean of the UST School of Design and Chair of the Industrial Design Department. She was also the executive director of the Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines.

Below are a few of the pieces showcased in the exhibit. Take note of how each piece embodies the common elements of traditional Filipino design with a distinctive touch of Japanese design.

Yoda Easy Chair

Designer: Kenneth Cobonpue | Section: Rattan | Image provided by Metropolitan Museum of Manila
Designer: Kenneth Cobonpue | Section: Rattan | Image provided by Metropolitan Museum of Manila

Fabric Swatches

Designer: Christina Gaston | Section: Upcycled Fabric | Photo by Mich Escultura
Designer: Christina Gaston | Section: Upcycled Fabric | Photo by Mich Escultura

Furniture Made with Newspaper Textiles

Furniture Made with Newspaper Textiles
Designer: Al Caronan | Photo by Mich Escultura

Lois Lamp Chair

Designer: Vito Selma | Photo by Mich Escultura
Designer: Vito Selma | Photo by Mich Escultura

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila, in partnership with the Japan Foundation, Manila, and the Embassy of Japan in the-the Philippines, with the support of JT International (Philippines) Inc., celebrates the expansive influence and excellence of Japanese design through Japanese Design Today 100 and Discourses in Design from July 1st to August 19th, 2016, 10am to 5:30pm.

Address: The Metropolitan Museum of Metro Manila, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Blvd., Manila

Contact Number: +632 708 7828

For more information, please visit www.metmuseum.ph

Main image provided by Metropolitan Museum of Manila

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