One of the highlights of this autumn’s Tokyo trip was the visit to Tokyo Design Week 2016. TDW is one of the biggest and most important design shows in Asia; it takes place each year in Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu-mae park in late October (this year, TDW took place from 26th October to 7th November) and it is – quite simply – fabulous.
Product design, robotics, arts and crafts, architecture, interior design, intelligent fabrics – off-beat, ingenious, weird, innovative logical and sometimes completely bizarre design ideas; from young creators and world-famous designers and architects, design school graduates from across Asia; big international exhibitors and niche companies. It makes the brain sparkle.
This was my third visit to TDW (here are my show reviews of TDW 2014 and TDW 2015) and in 2016, my personal favourites included a pair of robot carp, a stylish boutique skin care brand from Taiwan, an Ukiyo-e juke box and two dozen juice mixers that played “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with different sounds. Click on the link for more pics of my favourite TDW 2016 exhibits!
From 27th to 28th September 2016 the annual Naturkosmetikbranchenkongress (Natural Cosmetics Conference) took place here in Berlin.
This year, the conference focused on digitalization and its effect on the consumer: how the constantly growing connectivity is changing our society and altering consumer behavior and consumer expectations. The digital world is transforming existing retail structures, market dynamics and brand management, but it also creates exciting new opportunities for companies, brands and consumers. Excellent presentations, a great keynote speaker and interesting panelists and attendees made this one of my favourite Branchenkongress events so far.
Click on the link below for a review of the conference. Be warned though, this is one of my longer reports (I had my laptop with me so my notes are very detailed indeed)!
A few days ago I finally visited Osmodrama, a crowd-funded interdisciplinary art project which is currently taking place in cooperation with Berlin-based arts space Radialsystem V and the International Literary Festival. Osmodrama – illustrating/telling soundscapes with scent – is an new art form developed by Austrian multimedia artist Wolfgang Georgsdorf who is also the inventor of the world’s first electronic olfactory organ, the Smeller 2.0.
DMY is back in town! Last weekend, the 14th DMY International Design Festival took place here in Berlin. And DMY’s core event – the big design exhibition – returned to Kraftwerk Mitte in Köpenicker Straße. Kraftwerk Mitte is an old power station which hosts various events and exhibitions and is also the location of famous techno club Tresor. If you are interested, here are my articles about DMY 2015 and DMY 2014.
For 2016, DMY’s organizers had decided on the festival motto of “Odyssey 2016”: the boundaries between the different design and art disciplines are becoming increasingly blurry; they are starting to fluctuate– between digital and analogue, online and offline; between architecture and social movements. And yes, there might be a loss of orientation (this is where the Odysseus reference comes in) but it is precisely this lack of definition which makes the journey so exciting.
And this is exactly what I felt when I walked around the exhibition halls: so many cross-boundary design concepts and materials; innovative ideas which could have come straight from a Sci Fi or Cyberpunk novel – it was quite exhilarating. Particularly the “Education” and “New Talents” sections!
Twice a year – in January and in June – Berlin is hosting the Fashion Week. And I actually got to attend three of the fashion shows thanks to the lovely people at Cosnova! Cosnova is the company behind two of Germany’s best-selling colour cosmetics brands, Essence and Catrice. For several years Catrice has been a sponsor of the Berliner Modesalon, a special Fashion Week showcase for young German design labels.
The brand’s makeup artists create the makeup look for each of the Modesalon fashion shows and the models are then made up with Catrice products. I attended three shows – Nobi Talai and René Storck on Tuesday and Marina Hoermanseder on Thursday. After the Hoermanseder show I had the chance to chat with Catrice’s chief makeup artist, Loni Baur.
The last stop on my Asian tour was Hong Kong – and the big event here was, of course, Cosmoprof Asia! Not only is it the most important C&T trade show for the entire Asian region but the fair also celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015. Congratulations!
The official trade show stats for 2015 speak for themselves: there were 2,504 exhibitors from 46 countries which marks an increase of 6% compared to 2014. A total of 63,241 visitors from 119 countries attended the trade show (+ 5.5%) and there was a 7% increase in visitors from outside the Hong Kong area (including me!).
And here are some more facts and figures: there were 22 country and group pavilions (Korea was the biggest exhibitor and Chile attended for the first time), total exhibition space grew 3% to over 84,000 sq m and Italy and the US were the countries of honour because of their continued support of Cosmoprof Asia.
At the official Cosmoprof Asia press conference, organizers UBM and BolognaFiere also announced the following news: because the trade fair has grown so much over the last few years, the 2016 edition will take place in two different venues.
Cosmetics, Salon, Hair, Nails & Accessories will remain in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre; Packaging, Ingredients, Equipment, Private Label etc. will move to Asiaworld Expo. The 2016 fair dates are 15th to 17th November for Asiaworld Expo and 16th to 18th November for the Convention Centre which means that there is an extra day for visitors who want to take in both parts of the show.
But all of that is still in the future; join me now for a tour around Cosmoprof Asia 2015 featuring, in no particular order, some of my favourite brands and companies from across the world. By the way: this article is even longer than my usual trade show reports – you have been warned!
From 24th October to 3rd November 2015, Tokyo Design Week celebrated its 30th anniversary with the biggest and most spectacular show ever. Granted, it was only my second time at Japan’s most important design trade show but the whole event was on a much bigger scale than in 2014, with a number of new exhibition sections. This year they also had a central festival/food tent which hosted live bands, DJ sets and other events. I was lucky enough to catch a gig by Japanese indie band Noodles and became a fan straight away.
Amongst my favourite shows this year was the Robot Inspired Exhibition (featuring famous android girl Asuna, a robot band and some seriously intriguing examples of 3D facial and motion capturing!). The Schools Exhibition – young designers from different Asian design institutes and universities – was also very worthwhile. And then there is Creative Life: the main TDW exhibition in which brands and companies from all over the world present their take on how we might live, communicate and interact in the future.
It is that time of year again: the Natural Cosmetics Conference (Naturkosmetikbranchenkongress) was in town this week! It’s an annual event which used to be held in Nuremberg but then moved to Berlin in 2011. And it’s one of my favourite industry events: two days jam-packed with interesting lectures, discussions, forums and presentations plus the chance to meet interesting people.
The Conference always offers a good mixture of topics. This year there were presentations on consumer trends, demographics and behavior, on market research and gender marketing, but also on certifications with a particular focus on the much-debated ISO guideline for natural cosmetics and on halal certification.
Yesterday night I attended a screening of Le Cinéma Olfactif in Berlin’s Soho House. Cinéma Olfactif is a fascinating concept: enhancing a visual experience through an olfactory sensation; in this case we were watching a film – Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides – whilst a fragrance created especially for this movie was diffused into the audience space at the appropriate moments.
I had read about the Cinéma Olfactif series but this was the first time I actually attended a performance. Cinéma Olfactif is the creation of perfumer Kaya Sorhaindo whose art house perfumery Folie à Plusieurs is developing fragrance concepts for films, exhibitions, performances and events.
Yesterday evening I attended the opening of Stadtmuseum Berlin’s new exhibition: “Tanz auf dem Vulkan” (Dancing on the Volcano) – Berlin’s “Golden Twenties” as reflected in art and design. The Weimar Republic (a historical epoch defined as extending from 1918, the end of WWI, to 1933, the year when Adolf Hitler became German chancellor) is one of the most interesting, complex and, of course, pivotal periods in German history.
Tanz auf dem Vulkan approaches Berlin’s Weimar Republic from a different angle. Rather than analysing the political, social and economical aspects of these fifteen years and what they were leading up to (depressing and very grim since we all know what happened), the exhibition highlights a different side of the Weimar Republic: the hedonistic and colourful lifestyle, culture, art and design of Germany’s capital in the Roaring Twenties.