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inside the original: tokyo's 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT presents a series of timeless pieces

The Original at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT 

 

From now until 25 June 2023, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT hosts ‘The Original’ exhibition, an assemblage of timeless pieces that have contributed to our day-to-day life. Curated by design journalist Takahiro Tsuchida, the display gathers designs that have remained indelible over the years and seeks to encourage future generations to create pieces that will stay long afterward. ‘Nowadays society and lifestyles change so fast that we risk forgetting the very essence of design work. We lack even the urge to seek it out, as all is drowned in the superfluity of information.’

 

designboom toured the space and captured the various nooks and corridors filled with classics, ranging from furniture, tableware, and textiles to toys. ‘The Original’ hosts 150 products selected by three forefront figures, Takahiro Tsuchida, Naoto Fukasawa, and Kaoru Tashiro. The display aims to revisit the charm of individual designs, creating a continuous flow that makes it difficult to discern, whether they were created in the late 19th century or from the 2000s onward. ‘This Exhibition does not follow each fashion and trend. Instead, by reconsidering The Original, as a reference point and a clue to today’s designs, we bring you timeless starting-points for design, and reveal links to the designers who created them.’

 

‘We live surrounded by a diversity of designs, but we ask how many of them deserve the title of The Original. This exhibition calls attention to products created with genuine verve, fundamental charm, purity, boldness, and strength, each of which we call The Original,’ explained Takahiro Tsuchida.

inside the original: tokyo's 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT presents a series of timeless pieces
image and full header video ©designboom

 

 

interpreting the notion of originality 

 

Takahiro Tsuchida compares The Original design to a single dot. ‘If the dot is influential, it develops into a line or expands into a surface. Later designs continue these vectors, varying or deviating in a process that can continue over long periods. Ultimately, The Original may lose its position, as we forget it as the starting point. Nevertheless, The Original and the power of its originality has fundamentally enriched us,’ he said. 

 

The exhibition at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT (see more here) also presents ‘unknown masterpieces’ such as ‘Moser,’ a chair by Werner Max Moser, ‘Lama,’ a door handle by Gio Ponti and ‘Urbino,’ a tableware by Trude Petri, which are highly acclaimed worldwide but have never been distributed in Japan. ‘The Original’ doesn’t contain only products from the history of design, but also recent items created in the last two decades, equally well-known and treated as if they were always recognizable.

 

The pieces are accompanied by a graphic display with a large layout of 50 photographs of products. Taken by the photographer Gottingham, the large images lie on the walls behind the products, so visitors can witness details that are difficult to catch with the naked eye. Meanwhile, some of the products are showcased in room-like installations designed by interior designer Yumika Yoshida enhancing visitors’ experience by explaining how the products are used in real life.

 

inside the original: tokyo's 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT presents a series of timeless pieces
the items range from furniture, tableware, and textiles to toys | image ©designboom

 

‘It has become difficult to identify what an original is. We can be sure what it is not — imitation, copy,
homage, or influence. What people unconsciously feel themselves drawn towards is what we here call The Original. The power of The Original is such that it attracts. It is next to impossible to conceptualize a design that is not in some way indebted to The Original,’ shared Naoto Fukasawa.

 

‘I want visitors to feel how wonderful The Original can be. I want people to share my excitement. Design tools have evolved dramatically so that anyone can produce beautiful lines and forms. This proliferation risks copy-and-paste jobs that take design down blind alleys. Let’s learn how amazing The Original is! Let’s admit not just that we are influenced by such pieces, but let’s be jealous of them! The greatest masters and regular people live to the same age, so let all of us use our time to create wonderful Originals for the future,’ he continued. 

inside the original: tokyo's 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT presents a series of timeless pieces
image ©Keizo Kioku

the-original-timeless-pieces-21_21-design-sight-tokyo-designboom-1800

image ©Keizo Kioku

inside the original: tokyo's 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT presents a series of timeless pieces
each piece is presented together with texts and photographs | image ©designboom

inside the original: tokyo's 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT presents a series of timeless pieces
image ©Keizo Kioku

the-original-timeless-pieces-21_21-design-sight-tokyo-designboom-21800

some of the products are presented in room-like installations to enhance user experience and perception | image ©Keizo Kioku

inside the original: tokyo's 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT presents a series of timeless pieces
view of the lobby | image ©Keizo Kioku

 

 

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project info:

 

exhibition name: The Original

exhibition director: Takahiro Tsuchida

venue: 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT | @2121designsight

location: Tokyo Midtown, Japan

dates: 3 March to 25 June 2023 

photography: ©designboom, ©Keizo Kioku

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