In Europe we often hear of Japanese economy's prolonged
recession, but what is rarely reported is that this same period has been
a time characterized by profound individuation and creativity among the
young. And there are few better demonstrations of this than in the flourishing
of design culture. Already a nation known for its provocative mixes of
zen and cute backed by precision engineering, in today's Japan, whether
in the number of new furniture shops opening in cities nationwide, the
way that design features dominate the popular magazines, or in repurposed
architecture, youth culture design rules!
Sweden may be the foreign culture most visible within this movement, largely
because of it's eloquent and energetic promotion via the annual Swedish Style
in Tokyo events of 1999 through 2003. This annual festival has not only succeeded
in making contemporary Swedish culture and lifestyle very hip, but equally importantly,
it has at the same time promoted design as a cross-cultural, collaborative activity.
Swedish Style in Tokyo has created new cultural encounters between the two countries
and has stimulated many business chances imbued with uplifting creative energy.
In 2002, for example, Swedish creators, artists, and companies participated in
35 events all?around Tokyo during the event's 11 day run, and was covered by
more than 50 magazines, papers, and television programs.
The mutual enthusiasm has never been stronger between the young creators of Sweden
and Japan. This is the moment to catch. TOKYO STYLE IN STOCKHOLM 2004 promises
to realize the natural extension of Swedish Style in Tokyo, turning the tides
in the other direction, remixing and remodeling one whole section of Stockholm
for six days of exhibitions and events as a space for experiencing and celebrating
the collaborations of leading Japanese and Swedish creators, presented for the
first time in Europe. This project will also function to launch “Sweden
- a space for minds!” promoting Stockholm an annual creative magnet in
Europe, inviting one country each summer to come and show off its best and brightest.
And the series will launch with Japan.