The current design trends with seven Spanish furniture brands held at the Embassy of Spain in Tokyo

Design for A Post Pandemic Era” is the title of the recent exhibition held at the Embassy of Spain in Tokyo. Organized by ICEX and IROCO Design, the event showcased the current design trends with seven Spanish furniture brands and a panel discussion with international speakers.


"Design for A Post Pandemic Era" Exhibition at Spain Embassy in Tokyo

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“The Spanish brands are leading the way.” The slogan proposed by the organizers outlines the intents and ambition of this exhibition. In this historical moment of uncertainty, designers are experimenting and suggesting new ways of living and working. Hybrid workplaces, Workation, and WFH (Work From Home) are just some of the new keywords reflecting the change of paradigm that is happening globally. New ways of living and working require open-minded designers and unique types of furniture. This event embraced some of the most profitable brands and professionals from Spain that are leading the way.

The setting-up – elegantly curated by IROCO Design – included several innovative products from seven established Spanish brands: Alvic, FINSA, Lladró, LZF, Marset, Ondarreta, and Sancal. Quality, sensitivity, and intimacy are the values shared by all those brands, together with a strong impression of joyfulness and freshness. Furthermore, most of these brands can boast a long tradition of research and innovation.

adf-web-magazine-postpandemicdesign-matteo-00003 adf-web-magazine-postpandemicdesign-matteo-00004adf-web-magazine-postpandemicdesign-matteo-00011As affirmed by Ivan Pazos from DOuble X Interiors – the final speaker of the event - weather and the shared history with the Muslims have shaped design in Spain. History and traditions have always played a predominant role in European design. Still, climate greatly influenced all the Mediterranean cultures. According to Pazos, the abundance of sun in Spain has resulted in light and color in art and architecture that is unmatched in Europe. Besides, the dry climate resulted in an architecture focused primarily on outdoor spaces and natural ventilation. Those are some of the attitudes that nowadays are becoming more and more attractive globally, suggesting new directions for architecture and design. Café and restaurants, for example, offer outdoor spaces. Moreover, workplaces are becoming smaller but more colorful and attractive to employees.

“The changing face of product design - post-pandemic” and “From office to home - a seamless transition” were the titles of the round-table discussions held during the event, with contributions from both emergent and well-known designers: Mikya Kobayashi, Kodai Iwamoto, Tomoya Tabuchi, Shuichiro Yoshida, Javier Villar, and Alberto Garcia Ortega.

Alberto Garcia Ortega of DE-SIGN INC focused on the new trends in workplace design after the pandemic. According to Garcia, architecture is not universal, and layout must adapt and specialize to each situation. For this reason, flexibility and customization are the main strategies to create the proper hybrid workplace. Still, time and education are the keywords to achieve a fundamental shift in the design of our offices.


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Javier Villar Ruiz - partner at KKAA Kengo Kuma and Associates – described the growing interest of Japanese firms in creating decentralized offices and more personalized workplace design. In my previous article, I have mentioned the recent trend of Workation in Japan. According to Villar Ruiz, large construction and architecture companies in the past were mainly centralized and based in large buildings. Conversely, the office space is now becoming more eclectic and personalized. For example, in the last two years, KKAA has been opening local offices throughout Japan to become closer to its regional clients and offer better services.

Surprisingly, according to the designer Mikiya Kobayashi, the number of projects of workplaces and home offices has increased during the pandemic. Kobayashi also mentioned another interesting point, the typical Spanish (and the Mediterranean) attitude regarding professional collaborations, that is, spending private time together with other than work, thus turning clients into friends. Empathy and friendliness are important values in these strange times. Spain can show us the way with their emotional spaces and products.