Choices, choices, choices. That seemed to be the mantra for furniture designers at this year’s DesignTide Tokyo, a furniture and product expo on at the city’s swanky Midtown Hall this week. Chalk it up to Japan’s lackluster economy (flexible furniture equals less need to buy new stuff or live in a big house) or just plain playfulness, but designs that could be flipped around, knocked down, and stashed away were around every corner.
Japanese designer and architect Daisuke Motogi’s new Flip series chairs, created in collaboration with foam-happy Belgian design company sixinch, drew a crowd. Each of the light coated-foam chairs can be flipped over and used upside down.
This pop armchair transforms into a . . .
. . . new-age rocker.
Kengo Babata’s white ash “trame” side table can also be used as two trays. The concept behind the Design Soil series—a collaboration with students at Kobe Design School, where Babata teaches—was to create “souvenir furniture” that could be carried on an airplane. This item breaks down into a compact rectangular panel.
This knock-down plywood table from Swiss designer Colin Schaelli’scon.temporary line is made in Japan, as the sign to the right indicates (as for what the sign to the left indicates, your guess is as good as mine).
The whole thing breaks down into five easy pieces and fits back together without screws or nails.
The seat and front leg of this Japanese ash chair by Atsushi Suzuki screw off and can be replaced with seats and legs in other colors. The chairs are part of Osaka woodwork and design company laugh’s Laugh’s new see-saw collection.
Maple “Clackety-Clack” shelves by Kyoto-based un-do Design were inspired by the Japanese version of a Jacob’s Ladder toy. Yasutaka Kimura—who collaborated on the concept with partner Rui Matsuo—demonstrates.
A gentle nudge into place . . .
. . . and the handcrafted shelves are up in one of several possible configurations.