6th IFFT Concludes Successfully by Responding to Market Needs
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Interior Lifestyle Living (IFFT) which was held from 6 to 8 November at the Tokyo Big Sight East Halls 4 and 5, closed successfully. As a leading trade fair, it stands out among the autumn interior design events by offering a firm business platform. The fair welcomed 329 exhibitors (Domestic: 288 Overseas: 41) from 12 countries/regions that showcased a wide variety of high-end products including the latest innovative designs. As exhibitors expanded their booth sizes, the fairground was fully booked. In total, 19,268 visitors attended the show throughout the three days compared to 2012’s 19,166 attendees.

‘Creative Direction’, a group of four leading figures in the interior design industry contributed to the overall attractiveness of the fair, by not only directing the ten zones that showcase a diverse range of products, but also designing the special highlighted zones, Creative Resource and Japan Style, and the new zones Next and Talents. IFFT received positive feedback for inspiring visitors with multifaceted lifestyle ideas and for communicating lifestyle trends through a series of events that have become ever more responsive to market demands.

Creative Resource, a highlight featuring the vast potential of resources and materials for the expanding market of housing renovation attracted a lot of attention. Launched in 2012, this area has doubled in size due to high demand for its second edition. A number of exhibitors returned to participate again after increasing their sales last year.

Designer, Keiji Yoshihara, Yoshihara Wooden works Ltd. commented, “We participated in the Creative Resource area again, as we really noticed the advantages. Also, this fair attracts quality visitors and for people searching for new businesses, I strongly recommend this fair. We were very satisfied with the results this year as well.”

New exhibitor, Kenji Kitano from Hakuichi Co.Ltd., stated, “We exhibited to present the possibility of gold leaf as a material. We met many visitors from regions that we do not usually reach and we’re glad to exhibit at this fair. We had good business leads with home builders and interior designers.”

Creative Resource communicated the versatile aspects of materials and resources through talk sessions, demonstrations, special showcases and displays. Keiji Ashizawa, an up and coming architect, was also the concept director of this area. He commented: “Held for its second time, I think both exhibitors and visitors showed more understanding towards the concept of Creative Resource, which increased the chance for producing new exciting businesses.”

Japan Style showcases a selection of sophisticated products that presents the beauty of both traditional and modern Japanese design. This area aims to reinforce the promotion of Japanese design, skills and culture, especially since Japan was selected as the Partner Country at Ambiente 2014.

Interior designer, Yukio Hashimoto was in charge of the hall designing, and made a preview to the upcoming edition of Ambiente at Interior Lifestyle Living. Also appointed as ambassador for the Partner Country Program, Yukio Hashimoto commented, “The overall response to ‘Japan Style was good this year. Under the theme of ‘Super Ennichi’ (a Japanese cultural festival), I designed this area to be vivid and playful. As ‘Japan Style’ at Interior Lifestyle Tokyo, I think this area is gaining further popularity here as well. I am now focusing on preparations for Ambiente 2014.”

Numerous visitors attended Japan Style, and participated in the demonstrations and workshops, and were impressed by the high standard overall. Next and Talents are zones for young, talented designers and entrepreneurs looking for business opportunities. Every year, designer groups are chosen from Talents in Tokyo to be awarded the Young Designer Award and to be invited to Talents in Frankfurt.

At the coming Ambiente, four Japanese groups will be taking part. Minoru Takeuchi commenting as the winner, Proof of Guild, at Interior Lifestyle Living this year said, “I’m just purely happy. I will do my best to perform at Ambiente 2014.”

“The works by Proof of Guild are very poetic, yet avant-garde. They create products that are completely new and easy to understand. These are uniquely wonderful products that show great love for detail and traditional materials,” said Vice President of Ambiente/Tendence, Nicolette Naumann.

The other winners that were invited to the coming Ambiente include Studio Surume and Kobe Ishou Sourenjo, who both won the Young Designer Award at Interior Lifestyle Tokyo this June, and Mikiya Kobayashi, who won the Young Japanese Design Talent Award at Elle Décor International Design Award Ceremony that was held in October 2013. To be exposed at Ambiente that attracted 140,000 international visitors this February, the four groups are likely to gain greater opportunities and take a leap forward internationally.

Interior Lifestyle Living offered a preview of the upcoming Heimtextil trends. The main trend themes for the 2014/15 season were created by a team of six international design studios. The London studio, FranklinTill was responsible for the main concept. For the past 25 years, these trend forecasts have had a large impact on buying decisions and product manufacturing on an international level.

The Trend area drew great interest with many people gathering around the displays and taking notes. The fair showcased an extensive product line-up, including worldwide masterpiece furniture, further contributing to the fair’s outstanding appeal. There were international brands, including Artek and ligne roset, a comprehensive series of chair collections from the Oda Collection that is considered one of the greatest collections in the world. Further pieces from provincial areas such as Hida in Gifu prefecture and Asahikawa from Hokkaido represented high-quality manufacturing skills.

Koji Tagashira from Hida Sangyo commented, “We hadn’t exhibited for years but we came back with an attractive product line-up that we are quite confident with. Being next to the exhibitors from Asahikawa, I think we were able to provide visitors with the opportunity to see various representatives of domestic furniture all at once. By taking part, we felt the benefit of being able to see the market trends directly. We would like to come back again.”

Lifestyle Salon 2013 welcomed experts to provide a series of talk sessions on various themes such as materials, lighting, fabric and the latest information on export. The auditorium was full of people throughout the three days and many were actively communicating with the speakers after the programs were finished. This year’s Interior Lifestyle Living took further steps towards strengthening the global brand through correlated zones and international exhibitors.

Together with its sister fair, Interior Lifestyle Tokyo, held every June also at Tokyo Big Sight, they represent the two successful international fairs, Heimtextil and Ambiente held in Frankfurt, Germany. The next Heimtextil will take place from Jan 8 to 11, 2014.

*Editor's note: Interested in reading about what Interior Lifestyle Tokyo has in store for its 2014 edition? Take a look at BKT’s  Volume 1/ 2014 issue.