May 18, 2014

Design Festa 2014

The 39th Design Festa, held at Big Sight on Tokyo Bay. Over two days, close to two thousand exhibitors show off their works. Unlike a lot of other markets, photo-taking is encouraged and the wares on display are also on sale.

It draws an intense crowd every time.

This was my first time, and I noticed that the crowd skewed younger. A large portion of the visitors were women in their early twenties.

It makes sense. There were an abundance of komono (small things) -- tchoctchkes that a high school or university-age girl would buy for herself, but an adult would already have too much of to bother buying more of. (When adults buy komono, they are usually a gift for other people.)

The festival is also famous for bringing out the freaks -- but the lighthearted, non-threatening type. For example, this fox was walking around, but its default mode was extreme shyness. It would cock its head in an embarrassed way and walk gingerly.

A sampling of some other things on display:

There were about a dozen ongoing murals on display.

A woman-child artist.

The writing in black tape reads, "I want to die". There were not a lot of people stopping by this booth.

This piqued my interest: a world map illustrated with indigenous animals. Each animal was painstakingly drawn using CGI.

One of the illustrations, magnified.

Pop-up versions of classic novels.

Loaf-shaped lamps.

A wall collage in progress.

There was a man right behind, animating the alien puppet and talking in a presumable alien voice.

An old Singer machine in use.

Beeswax candles.

As a friend pointed out, there wasn't much actual design or innovation at Design Festa, most of the products were simply cute interpretations of existing things.

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