Tokyo Fiber 2009 SENSEWARE PART 1

Tokyo Fiber SENSEWARE was started as a project to show the merits of Japan’s fibers. SENSEWARE refers to materials or mediums that arouse a creative desire in people. This is part 1 of our coverage on the ’09 SENSEWARE exhibition in Milano. In 2007 we saw televisions made of fabric small and squishy enough to coddle in your hand. This year the projects continue to amaze.

Part 2, Part 3

Exhibition: Tokyo Fiber

Sofa with gently rising supports
Antonio Citterio / Asahi Kasei Fibers Corporation
Material: FINEX®

Top Italian product designer Antonio Citterio used a multi-layered stretch fabric that is both pliant and strong, taking on the challenge of designing a sofa that can change its shape. The sofa starts out flat like a bed, but on pressing a button on a remote, changes shape to produce a backrest. The stretchability of the fabric enables the creation of this beautiful, soft, and minimal shape.

Bench with knitted bundles of light that respond to human movement
Gwenaël Nicolas (Curiosity) / Mitsubishi Rayon CO., LTD.
Material: Plastic optical fiber ESKA

Designer Gwenaël Nicolas has an interest in sculpting light, and created a bench that uses coarse knits of optical fibers to respond to human movement with light. The optical fiber textile was produced through a collaboration with Reiko Studio. The strength of the light attenuates along the length of the fiber, and this property is cleverly used to supplement the rhythmic patterns of the textile.

Water Logo ’09
Hara Design Institute, NDC + Atelier OMOYA / Unitika LTD.
Material: MONERT

The water droplets seeping out are kept under control on the water-repellant fabric as they form letter that spell out the exhibition theme. In a sense, this is a sign made of water. Fibers given a special coating at the nano level completely repel the drops of water, much like a lotus leaf. When the droplets of water exceed a certain size, they roll away down the sloping surface.

Robot tiles using textiles to detect feet positions
Hiroo Iwara / Kuraray Co., LTD.
Material: New conductive fiber

The robot tiles created by media artist Hiroo Iwata incorporate sensors using electrically-conductive textiles. The emergence of fabric that conduct electricity with nano-level conductivity has the potential to bring revolutionary change to environmental-use materials. Imagine keyboards made from fabric.