If you are in Tokyo from March 31 to April 2, please check out the exhibition that Ross McBride is directing for Normal’s Japanese distributor, POS. This event brings eight enlightened watch brands together from around the world to show what they are made of.
We will be showing our watches at the New Jewelry exhibition this year <www.newjewelry.jp>. If you are in Tokyo from December 2nd to the 4th, please stop by.
This will be our first collaboration with good friend Kei Tominaga <keitominaga.com>. She has made a limited edition bracelet for us in rose gold to match our new Extra Normal EN-M010 watch. The event is a bit of a marketing research project for us as we are very interested in the relationship between the jewelry, and the watch market. If it all goes well, we intend to do much more.
Our lovely new EN-M009 Extra Normal watch is very much like a model from our original range: the EN-M003. That was discontinued a few years ago, but of course, any image that is ever posted on the world wide web will never disappear. We have been contacted many times to bring it back.
There are two subtle differences older sibling: Its hands are now dark grey, instead of black, to soften its overall image, and its mesh band is now the higher quality version that we have recently switched all of our watches to.
White Day is coming up on March 14. This is a holiday unique to Japan, and Korea. It works like this: Women are supposed to give the men they like a present (or chocolate) on Valentine’s day. Then, one month later, if a man wants to reciprocate the feeling, he is supposed to return the present (or white chocolate) to the lady.
Normal has made a limited edition watch to commemorate this occasion. It has a white face, gold case, and gold hands the same as our Extra Normal EN-L007, but its band is new to our collection. This is white leather with a full grain lizard texture. We will also be delivering this watch in a special Japanese wooden gift box.
If you are interested, you can see more information here.
Normal has made a limited edition watch to commemorate Valentine’s Day. It has a white face, gold case, and gold hands the same as our Extra Normal EN-L007, but its band is new to our collection. This is white leather with a full grain lizard texture. We will also be delivering this watch in a special Japanese wooden gift box.
If you are interested, you can see more information here.
Introducing the new packaging for all of our watches.
Once the box is taken out of the sleeve, and its cover removed, the watch is seen comfortably framed in grey foam. Once the watch is removed, the customer is posed with the question “What is Normal? on our warranty card.
E&Y is a well known Japanese design brand commemorating its 30th anniversary with a retrospective exhibition at the Axis Gallery in Tokyo. It is nice to be included in their list on the wall among such notable names. I did a few products for them over the years, and the one they put on display here was the Beethoven Clock which was made for them as a limited edition in 1999. You can see this piece as part of my portfolio at the bottom of the About Us page here.
Normal moved into it’s new office six months ago. Our building can now be seen in the current Japanese architecture magazine, Shinkenchiku (new architecture). If you’re in Japan, and can pick up a copy, please check it out. That’s #356 – the December 2015 issue.
This year’s Tokyo Design Week has just come to an end. Next year, we should give you a comprehensive review of all the goings on, but for this first installment, an overview of its past and its current state.
Tokyo Design Week is sort of an umbrella term for several events grouped around the same time. When I first came to Tokyo, I saw its origin with a one day event called, Design Saturday. Over the next 30 years, its popularity consistently grew as it evolved through different organizations in several incarnations. Happening, Designer’s Block, 100% Design, Design Tide, to name a few. Some of these events were motivated by an altruistic passion for design. Others were simply for self promotion and profit, but interesting all the same. It was a joy to be here to participate every year. However, I am sorry to say that from my perspective, Tokyo Design Week is now past its prime.
A few years ago, it was a very dynamic situation. So many visitors from overseas, so much innovative work to see, and of course – a lot of good parties. Things have calmed down much since then, and is no longer the place to visit for the world’s design audience. Of course, the Japanese, and global economy is a big factor in this. But it is also because of the failed attempt to properly connect major brands, and manufacturers to the design community. Milano Salone is the best example of successfully handling this. This is due to the lack of vision, strategy, and support by the Japanese government, corporations, and the media.
This year, there were three major venues as well as many satellite events peppered throughout the city.
The main event is appropriately named Tokyo Design Week. This is the largest venue, and lasts for ten days. It seems that the organizer’s idea of expanding every year is somehow a sign of success. It is essentially a combination trade show / exhibition, but to grow, they continually added more components. Among other things, there is now a craft market, live music, student work, etc. It is intended to open the event to the broader public, and to be family friendly, but it has lost any focus. It is not clear what the theme, or direction of Tokyo Design Week is anymore. The most egregious thing is the overall standard of the design on view. Sadly, a very small percentage is worth seeing. There is little, if any, judging process to accept exhibitors as long as they can pay the exorbitant participation fee. On top of this, the visitor’s entrance fee of US$25 is among the highest in the world for any such event. To continue over the next few years, I certainly hope that they will see these flaws, and raise the overall quality of the show by editing it down to a reasonable scale with a clear concept. Feel free to see more here: <tokyodesignweek.jp>
Showcase was a straightforward exhibition organized by various players in Tokyo’s design community. This year was a mix of Japanese designers, and artists. Each piece on display was personal, and exploring it’s own theme. Some were in progress, and experimental. The name / theme of this year’s show was “Stands”, which I don’t understand, and I couldn’t perceive a general thread through all of the work, but each piece was good to think about. View here: <www.showcase-web.com>
The best event in my opinion by far was Any_Tokyo. It was located in an amazing space commandeered from a 600-year old Buddhist temple, albeit a little out of the way. This show had a clear vision, and was judged properly. Every design on display offered something original, and was thought-provoking – which are the qualities that every event should try to attain. I sincerely hope that Any_Tokyo will expand for next year’s design week. See what they had here: <anytokyo.com>