Japanese design students honored in Milan

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The Independent Online

Kentaro Fujimoto, Shima Suzuki, and Ayami Takada have won Bottega Veneta's seating furniture design contest and present their works at the brand's Japan-themed showroom in Milan this week.

Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier had briefed a selection of design students from the University of Tokyo last year to draw on both his label's identity and traditional Japanese motifs for inspiration.

As a result, Kentaro Fujimoto's Domestic Landscape of Intrecciato combines Bottega Veneta's signature intrecciato - a leather weaving technique - and kawara, the roof tiles used to cover traditional Japanese buildings. Shima Suzuki's Tube with Inner Luxury reflects the Edo period in Japan, a time when it was considered inappropriate for men to dress 'ostentatiously' and tailors focused on different ways of linings instead. And Ayami Takada's Origami Side Table is a clever translation of the well-known paper folding technique. 

All winners worked closely with artisans at the Bottega Veneta ateliers in Vicenza, Italy before their Milan Design Week launch on April 13. Their designs will be available for special order through the brand's stores worldwide and on display in Ginza, Japan later in the year.

The design competition is part of a Japanese-themed showroom and pop-up store curated by Tomas Maier and Seiichi Kamei, editor-in-chief of the design and architecture magazine Casa Brutus, during the Saloni in Milan.