Design UK, the UK Trade & Investment-backed showcase of British design, opened in Tokyo on Monday.
Now in its third year, the event incorporates a week of seminars on Anglo-Japanese design initiatives in product, interiors, lighting, graphics and furniture design. Terence Conran, Ron Arad and Michael Sodeau are among the speakers lining up this week to promote British design to an audience of Japanese design buyers.
Representatives from 22 UK design consultancies – the Design Services Mission – secured sponsorship to participate in Design UK, which is organised through the Design Partners consortium and chaired by former Design Council chief executive Andrew Summers.
The groups will be aiming to forge links with Japanese partners. Introductions have been set up by the British Embassy in Tokyo.
‘The Japanese are still getting used to working with outside design consultancies – traditionally they have tended to operate just with in-house design teams. But clients that have made the leap are prepared to work with groups based outside of Japan,’ says Design Partners creative industries advisor Christine Losecaat.