In November 2016, ICEX organised two exhibitions of Spanish product design — with the aim of promoting Spanish homeware — that catered to Japanese and Korean specifiers (from architecture and interior design studios) and the contract market (in the hotel and business worlds). Nine Spanish homeware and interior decoration companies took part.
For the second year running, a seminar and exhibition of Spanish product design, entitled ACTIVATION, was held in Tokyo, its eyes firmly set on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. This year the event centred on the furnishing of design-conscious communal spaces in public and/ or private spaces, such as waiting rooms, VIP lounges, restaurants, cafés, halls, auditoria, sports stadia, museums, gardens, and so on.
Held at the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo from 9 to 11 November, the event showcased pieces by six Spanish companies — Cosentino, Interfabrics-Aquaclean, Moblibérica, Ondarreta, Resol and Sancal. The exhibition was commissioned by the prestigious Japanese architecture studio, Nikken Sekkei — which ranks as number one in the sales of architectural services in Japan. Its standout projects are the buildings Tokyo Sky Tree and Toyota Motors Main Bldg, Terminal 1 at Narita International Airport and the University of Kyoto. What’s more, in 2016 it won the competition for the redesign of FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium, along with Barcelona studio Joan Pascual – Ramon Ausió Arquitectos.
Two Japanese speakers attended the opening of the exhibition —architect Takeyuki Katsuya from Nikken Sekkei, who spoke about the concept behind Activation and the Camp Nou stadium project, and artist Asao Tokolo, who designed a part of the show, Cutting Edge, held last year at the Spanish Embassy. Tokolo is also known for his geometric design Tokolo Pattern, chosen as the official logo of JJOO2020 TOKYO. Also at the opening were 140 Japanese consultants and professionals from the interior design world.
ACTIVATION aimed to ‘activate’ our body to expose it to different experiences in such public spaces as stadia or hospitals where wood has been included as a minimal element which incorporates pieces, space and people.
Furthermore, for the first time ICEX organised an exhibition of Spanish product design in Seoul with the aim of showing and promoting the image of Spanish design among Korean consultants in the contract sector, its eyes firmly set on the next Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in PyeongChang in 2018.
The exhibition was held on 16 and 17 November in the building DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza) and featured designs by five Spanish companies — Interfabrics-Aquaclean, Kriskadecor, Leds C-4, Sancal and Viccarbe. Entitled Spain in Seoul, the show was commissioned by Daniel Valle Architects, an architecture studio which has been based in Seoul since 2008. Speakers such as Daniel Valle — who spoke about the exhibition — and the Korean designer Karen Kim — who talked about the added value Spanish brands bring to Korea and the perception in Korea of Spanish design — took part in a seminar held at the show’s opening.
The show aimed to spread the image of Spanish design as modern and creative, highlighting the characteristics which differentiate it from design in other countries. These include a sensitivity towards the environment, a constant search for good quality through the adoption of the handcrafted, competitive prices in relation to rival markets and an ability to convey in each piece that particular sense of humour and optimism found in every region of Spain.
The exhibition was divided into different spaces — which represented moments in our daily lives — and all made of cardboard, where the only real objects on display were examples of Spanish design. The event’s success is reflected in the fact that during the two days of the show, around 200 Korean professionals visited it, notably architects and interior designers.