Attention art fiends: there's a new art and design event in town. Known as Designart, the brand-new festival is a collaboration between six leading creatives based in the capital, and is taking over the streets, shops and galleries of Tokyo from Monday October 16 until Sunday October 22.
With the happenings spread across Aoyama, Omotesando, Shibuya, Nakameguro, Roppongi and even a small venue in Hiroo, there's almost too much to take in, but that's where we come in. Here are a few of the things you shouldn't miss at the inaugural Designart.
1. Contemplate the design process
Looking at displays of finished products is all well and jolly, but actually seeing the initial inspiration or thought process leading up to it always adds an extra dimension. Pierre Charpin, named Designer of the Year by Maison et Objet in 2017, does exactly that with his first-ever exhibition in Tokyo.
The celebrated product designer, who has collaborated with the big ones such as Alessi, blurs the line between what is consumable and what is art. He is also known for his ferocious research, regardless of whether the final product is meant for a gallery or a shop shelf.
At Designart, he lets us peek into his studio, with drawings, shape studies and more presented beside his more famous products. Our favourites included a small paper statue of a man looking at the finished products as if they were a landscape, and the tiny chair perched between larger items to convey the viewpoint of a child.
If you're looking for something to take home, make it the official festival T-shirt with neatly aligned dots. (No, not Yayoi Kusama dots – this one is another Charpin creation.) The dots are a nod to a special type of paint known as Belay that functions as a removable coating. Yes, that's right: paint it on, let it dry, pull it off afterwards if needed. You'll find the dots and paint across the festival venues.
2. Drink away the weather with some sangria
The weather forecast isn't exactly dandy for the coming week, but luckily Designart came somewhat prepared for that. Although the festival locations are somewhat spread out, you can always make a quick pit stop at Dean & Deluca in Aoyama, Omotesando and Azabu-Juban.
This is where you'll find a festival-special sangria: have the boozy version for a pick-me-up when the gloomy weather is really getting to you, or keep it semi-healthy with the non-alcoholic alternative.
3. Applaud yourself and see the future
Filed under 'functionless fun', co-working and innovative space 100Banch is home to design team Nakayoshi's 'Applause Shower'. Yes, you read that correctly: this is a shower that applauds you for simply washing yourself.
That being said, it doesn't actually dump water on you, so you can just turn the knob and revel in the accolades instead. Besides the very ego-boosting shower, 100Banch has all kinds of innovative projects going on for you to browse, including a futuristic shopping system.
4. Eat some pressed juice bars
In keeping with the global health fads, why not try a next-generation fruit bar? Marketed as a 'solid juice' bar by makers Future Life Factory, these ultra-healthy snacks are made from dried fruit which is then milled, pressed together and dried again.
They come in five different types: 'flora', anti-aging, beautifying, detox and eye-brightening, all packed chock full of ingredients said to help with whatever problem you're trying to tackle. (In case you were wondering: 'flora' is for digestive health). If that doesn't float your boat, their stall on 100Banch's third floor sells coffee too.
5. (Re)discover the city
Regardless of whether you're a fan of certain stores or brands, the juxtaposition between the design/art pieces and their location means that you're bound to set foot into places you've never visited before.
Think tennis-inspired furniture at Fred Perry, kaleidoscope-reflective gear by Anrealage at Harajuku's new Asics store, an installation made entirely from cut-out plastic circles at the B&B Italia interior design shop, or a spoon exhibition (yes) plus roped masks at Cibone. There's enough for you to see a whole new design side of Tokyo.
Got your creative juices flowing? Find out more about Designart 2017 here.