FIFTEEN Philippine companies underwent product development geared toward the Japanese market in preparation for the country’s participation in the upcoming International Furniture Fair Tokyo (IFFT) Interior Lifestyle Living to be held at Tokyo Big Sight in Tokyo, Japan, from November 14 to 16.
The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), provided the participating companies a series of product development sessions with Japanese industrial and interior designer Kohei Takata, the designated design director for the IFFT/Interior Lifestyle Living 2018.
It focused on tailoring the Philippine furniture and home décor and houseware industry toward the Japanese high-end interior market, and choosing the pieces that will be appropriate for the Japanese market. Takata also provided a brief lecture on Japanese culture and lifestyle to give the exhibitors an idea of what is in demand in the Japanese market.
Takata’s take on this year’s Lifestyle Philippines will focus on baskets, gardening items and seasonal indoor decorative items. This will highlight the handicrafts sector in order to showcase local craftsmanship, which is profusely lauded by Takata.
“Filipino products are [mostly] handcrafted, and they have very good techniques [which] I think is very important because Japanese people like handicrafts,” he said on his impression of what he saw in the product development meetings with the participating companies. While he commends the ingenuity of Filipino products, Takata admits the task of marketing Lifestyle Philippines to the Japanese can be a challenge, mainly because of the differences in the culture and tastes of the Filipino and Japanese markets.
He cited the differences in terms of aesthetics as one of the challenges he will try to hurdle.
“[The] Japanese [people] like more functional and modern designs,” he added. “[Filipinos and Japanese] have distinct tastes but I hope [that I can come up with a] combination and make more new sets of products.”
IFFT Interior Lifestyle Living was formed in 2008. It combines the International Furniture Fair Tokyo, the leading trade fair for the Japanese high-end interior market, with the concept of Interior Lifestyle Tokyo.
This is a sister fair for Interior Lifestyle Tokyo, based on Messe Frankfurt’s largest international consumer goods fair, Ambiente, and the international textile fair, Heimtextil.
IFFT is a showcase for the finest international home and lifestyle products from Japan and other parts of the world. The country’s participation in IFFT is the perfect opportunity for the Philippines to further its promotional activities in Japan since the country will also play host to the 2020 Olympics.