Excitement at Maison & Objet again! Sharing the achievements of the ARITA 400project and popular sales promotions
In January 2016, as part of its ongoing global promotion, the ARITA 400project made its third successful appearance at the Maison & Objet Paris. To share the project’s achievements of opening up the European market and rebranding throughout the world, two welcome-home exhibitions were held in Japan; the first in Arita’s Kyushu Ceramic Museum; and the second at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Roppongi, Tokyo. In addition, an exciting and popular sales promotion event was held at the Isetan Department Store Shinjuku in Tokyo.
Maison & Objet Paris Welcome-Home Exhibitions held in Arita and Tokyo
By showing three times at the prestigious Maison & Objet, international trade fair held in Paris, the ARITA 400project has certainly brought a new Arita back to the world stage, and in 2016, the 400th anniversary of Arita porcelain, to showcase its achievements within Japan, exhibitions were held at the Kyushu Ceramic Museum from July 1 to 18, and at the Mori Arts Center Gallery from October 5 to 11, and at Isetan Department Store Shinjuku from October 19 to November 1; a fitting grand finale to this three year international project.
On the occasion of the welcome-home exhibitions in Japan, Kiyoyuki Okuyama, the producer of the ARITA 400project told us: "At our September 2014 fair debut, the world awareness of Arita porcelain was low, and the participating eight ceramic businesses were not yet used to overseas exhibitions, but they incorporated their first experiences of cultural differences into new product development ready for the second fair in September 2015. For the third showing in January 2016, to create variety we requested guest creators to join in, and I would definitely like the Japanese people to see the achievements of our international efforts of working on the rebranding and the cultivation of the ARITA market over the past three years."
The importance of "taking part with a clear well-thought-out strategy," "ensuring continuous progress," and "clear communication"
The location selected as the venue for the first unveiling within Japan was Arita Town, the production center of Arita porcelain, in Saga Prefecture. The ARITA 400project Maison & Objet Paris Welcome-Home Exhibition held at the Kyushu Ceramic Museum in July, attracted many people involved in the local ceramic industry, and they were increasingly appreciative of the activities of the newborn ARITA. At the first day's report session, the participating companies reported substantial results starting from the establishment of business systems with overseas customers, and through to the receiving of orders and inquiries. It was impressive that they unanimously emphasized the importance of the three key points: taking part with a clear well-thought-out strategy; ensuring continuous progress; and clear communication. This tells us that in the past three years, each company has clarified their own issues such as their worldview or the aim of their brand. Moreover, an awareness of the importance of collaboration to mutually support the future ARITA has developed among these local Arita porcelain companies.
Welcome-Home Exhibition at the Mori Arts Center Gallery: Reproducing the Maison & Objet displays
In the Tokyo Metropolitan area, the ARITA 400project Maison & Objet Paris Welcome-Home Exhibition - Tradition and Innovation - was hosted at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Roppongi, Tokyo, from October 5 to 11 as a way of proudly and extensively announcing its successes. In the luxurious space of the 52nd floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, as many as 6,260 visitors appreciated the worldview of the new Arita porcelain over the exhibition week.
The exhibition space divided into six sections began with large panel photographs and movies introducing the 400-year history of Arita porcelain, the production center and the surrounding mountains blessed with an abundance of natural resources. In the second section visitors were greeted by an installation projecting images of ceramic painting and the filling of a kiln onto soft and swaying fabric screens. The third space, the main section, reproduced the popular Maison & Objet Paris display booth, by gathering together a large and exciting display of the exhibition ceramics.
In the fourth section, visitors viewed videos of the project's past three Maison & Objet fairs, along with a display of pottery tools, giving a real feeling of monozukuri (art of manufacturing). The fifth section housed a special exhibition made up of collaborative works between the potteries and the project producer Kiyoyuki Okuyama and three leading creators representing Japan, Beat Takeshi, Kengo Kuma, and Kashiwa Sato. Visitors were really moved and excited by such a large number of art pieces seen closely for the first time. The final section introduced the future vision of the participating eight companies; the entire exhibition was designed to showcase the history, diverse possibilities and fascination of Arita porcelain.
New series of Dissimilar by Kashiwa Sato: Special display and a themed sales promotion
A month after the Mori Arts Center Gallery, another event, the ARITA 400project × ISETAN SHINJUKU, was held at the Isetan Department Store Shinjuku in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. The store not only hosted the exhibition, but also showcased special displays across each floor as an interlinked sales promotion.
The Stage on the ground floor of the main building was themed with "Arita Porcelain Designed by Creators" and presented the daily-use tableware of Ken Okuyama Design and the new series developed from Dissimilar, the work by Kashiwa Sato, a guest creator of the 2016 January Maison & Objet Paris. Through a new collaboration with eight potteries, about 1,300 pieces including bowls, flower vases, plates, and cups were produced for this event. In the same way as for the art piece Dissimilar large plate, one-of-a-kind items individually painted by Mr. Sato were available from several thousand yen, and proved to be good topics of conversation.
On the 5th floor, "Arita Porcelain by Traditional × Modern Renowned Potteries" made available an array of the more conventional products of the participating companies. On the 7th event floor, a promotion titled "Meeting Everyday Arita Porcelain at Marché" focused on Arita porcelain as tableware and featured otesho-zara (small plates) and introduced the new brand ARITA Sake Cups born from the Sake Cup Project, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Arita porcelain. On the basement Kitchen Stage, "Arita Porcelain Resonating with Cuisine" was revealed to the audience. Every event floor tastefully promoted the attractive points of Arita porcelain, and the Isetan Shinjuku street windows were also filled with displays showcasing the ARITA 400project, and the ceramic collaborative works with Beat Takeshi, Kengo Kuma, and Kashiwa Sato. Along with such stimulating modern themes, shoppers and strollers were treated to displays outlining Arita's history and the simple pottery tools used to create the beauty of Arita porcelain.
In this year of welcoming the 400th anniversary of Arita porcelain, by hosting the Maison & Objet Paris Welcome-Home Exhibition, the ARITA 400project has successfully disseminated within Japan the reality of Arita porcelain once more travelling out into the world. There are plans afoot for some companies to exhibit in the 2017 Maison & Objet Paris, and we all know that Arita will continue to meet the challenges of further market cultivation and the development of the ceramic industry.