The last week of Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan featured the interesting encounter between the Italian famous fashion house Bottega Veneta and the Japanese upcoming designers – students of the University of Tokyo. The Italian fashion house chose the winners of a months-long student design competition.
The competition challenge was presented to students at the architect and associate professor Manabu Chiba’s laboratory affiliated with the architecture department of the university’s Graduate School of Engineering, alma mater to architects like Toyo Ito and Kengo Kuma, in October. They were tasked with designing a furniture piece that serves a function for someone seated and that took into account Bottega Veneta’s storied tradition of handcraftsmanship.
Each student presented an initial sketch or idea to Tomas Maier, the company’s creative director, who flew to Tokyo for the design review. Ten finalists were then selected and the three winners, Kentaro Fujimoto, Ayami Takada and Shima Suzuki, were selected on December 18.
In January, the trio were flown to the company’s atelier where they inspected the prototypes that were being built based on their designs and prepped for the company’s presentation at the Milan Furniture Fair, which also featured an exposition of Japanese crafts co-curated by Meier, along with a pop-up store featuring more Japanese items as well as special designs from Bottega Veneta.
To that end, Fujimoto’s Domestic Landscape of Intrecciato table, Takada’s Origami side table, and Suzuki’s Inner Tube Luxury modular table will now be available for special order through Bottega Veneta’s stores worldwide and will be on display in Tokyo later this year.