Eifion Griffiths

With so much that can go wrong, we've always found exhibiting with BEDG a remarkably painless and hassle free way to cope with overseas trade shows. Their organisation is superb and thanks to Karine, Pamela and the rest of the team for all their hard work on our behalf.

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June 2010

interiorlifestyle 2010

2010-06-02 - 2010-06-04

Interior Lifestyle Tokyo

CreativeBritain at interiorlifestyle Tokyo 2010

Britain’s wealth of internationally known designers is clearly evident from the worldwide media coverage for the icon products they design for leading global brands. But equally valuable as their celebrity fame for the public image of the country, is the impact of their work on the economy. The contribution of the so-called creative industries to the national GDP amounts to more than 120 billion £Sterling per year and is – with an annual growth rate of 4% - one of the most profitable and fastest growing sectors of the British economy.

It is undoubtedly the multinational, multicultural, internationally networked urban environment of the city of London that produces such an explosion of interdis, if not impossible, to identify and define a specific ‘British’ style.  Instead there is an amazing variety of individual approaches, solutions and – most typically – a unique and fascinating co-existence. This is reflected in the myriad creative philosophies and resulting products originating from the island, which have deservedly earned the country the byname ‘creative hothouse of the world’. With the exception of Japan and its honoured tradition of revering outstanding craftsmanship, there is no other country, where the interrelationship between craft and design is more noticeable or more acceptable than in Great Britain. It is not only a nation of ingenious engineers and scientists but also of inspired craftsmen and –women, original, innovative and often wonderfully non-conformist and irreverent.

On the other side of the scale, the nature of the economic and professional climate in Great Britain with its declining of manufacturing bases has resulted in the rapid growth of small and medium sized businesses in the creative industries as professional designers have to set up their own studios or work as free lancers to pursue their vocational professions.

Yet these small studios more than compensate for their diminutive size with a wealth of creative ideas, unusual approach to product development and technological innovation. Wherever the British contingents go, they very soon become the star attraction at even the biggest international fairs – a source of inspiration for architects and interior designers looking for the ideas with ‘a difference’ for their discerning private or corporate clients, a treasure trove for high end retailers and buying agents in need of the eyecatching ‘showstoppers’ for their shops and department stores, a talent pool for heads of corporate design departments in search of new talent for their own brands and a hunting ground for stylists working for film, television, theatre, show business, events, magazines and advertising agencies and looking for exciting product props to enhance the sets.

At interiorlifestyle 2010 the London based British European Design Group introduces seven independent design studios, whose products and services fit the above description like a glove.

Venue

Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Sight)
Tokyo, Japan
www.interior-lifestyle.com

Participants

Tracy Kendall, Morag MacPherson, Yukari Sweeney, W2 Design Products, Blue Marmalade, Amina Technologies, Tomomi Sayuda, AfriqueAuthentique-AuthenticAfrica

With the exception of AfriqueAuthentique-AuthenticAfrica, all British or British based participants are supported by the UKTI Trade Access Programme (TAP).

Visions of a modern heritage

2010-06-02 - 2010-06-04

Interior Lifestyle Tokyo

A showcase of British Inspiration in Textile Design at interiorlifestyle Tokyo 2010

From his early beginnings man has had three basic needs in his daily life – food for survival, shelter for protection and materials for clothing. First to shield his body from the adversities of nature – later to decorate himself with the insignia of social status, taste and fashion. Clothing, however, is only one application of the vast world of fabrics and textiles.

As Chloe Colchester writes in her book The New Textiles: ‘The design and manufacture of textiles is one of man’s oldest industries… But although textile making is an ancient activity, it is not a conservative one. The very centrality of fabric in human culture has ensured that it is at the forefront of both technological and artistic development.’

Processed natural and nowadays man-made fibres and fabrics have infinite, often invisible and more often irreplaceable functions in our life. Weaving was and probably still is the world’s largest cottage industry. It was also the first industry to be fully mechanized. The Spinning Jenny launched the Industrial Revolution and the advent of synthetic fibres revolutionized the way we think and work with fabrics. Technological progress has created new sciences such as synthetics engineering and microelectronics, which in return create new applications.

In Great Britain as well as in Japan, innovation in fabric and textile technologies and design probably has an older and stronger tradition than in any other creative discipline. One only has to remember the William Morris exhibition at the V&A, the famous Liberty prints and Tricia Guild with her Designers Guild collection of home textiles. Punk and Street Style have added an incredibly diverse new range of materials from rubber to recyclable waste and the computer age has opened the door to an entirely new universe of patterns.

And in Japan, the ancient textile heritage in weaving, dyeing, printing, embroidering, pleating and quilting has stretched from the most intricately embroidered robes for the emperors and the imperial courtiers, the fantastically strong multi-layered body armour of the Samurai warriors to the heavily quilted, hooded working clothes of the Japanese firemen, which, once drenched in water, could even shield them from the deathly blazei of fires. 

And in the UK as in Japan, important heritage has survived intact into our contemporary lives irrespective of the evolution of massmanufacturing technologies. In the contrary, textiles, both in  clothing as well as in home textiles  are one of the very few consumer goods sectors, where individual even manual production methods are still accepted and appreciated. 

Nevertheles, style and design in both countries have gone different ways. In Japan, the approach to surface design still seems to be deeply steeped in the aesthetic refinement of classical Japanese imagery and art. In Great Britain, on the other hand, the prevailing tradition among the next generation of British and British trained designers is an almost irreverent disregard for the classical visual heritage of their cultures and it is this testing out of visual and socially acceptable borderlines that is the real foundation of their design innovation. This can stretch from images of urban slums on screen-printed wallpaper to homeless tramps rough-sleeping on beautiful cast iron park benches shaded by rare ceders on 18th century French fabric and wallpaper designs. 

The economic consequence of this innovation for the designers is also remarkable as it has led to a steadily growing number of small and medium sized businesses in this sector of the creative industries. As little of this work can be mass-produced, which safeguards it from copying for commercial exploitation, the resultant explosion of creative talent in the last four decades has secured the place of small and medium-sized businesses at the heart of the national economy.

‘Visions of a Modern Heritage’ showcases the very diverse work of a few surface and textile designers illustrating the above, ranging from original patterns to handprinted and embroidered fabrics. They are inspired  by nature, technology, travel, recycling and popular cultures and show the incredible diversity of multicultural design talent working in Great Britain.

Venue

Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Sight)
Tokyo, Japan
www.interior-lifestyle.com