Milan Design Week—Coachella, but for furniture—is running this week from April 16-21. All the biggest names and brands in the design world descend upon the Italian city, which sees its population swell by nearly 25%. Now in its 62nd iteration, the design extravaganza is an opportunity for the aesthetically ambitious to showcase their latest ideas and set the stage for trends that will ripple out across the globe. Amidst all the lights and bells, a handful of Japanese designers quietly present their nuanced vision for home furnishings. Here are some of our favorites.

So Koizumi

Tokyo-based designer So Koizumi made an impressive debut at Milan Design Week, presenting two works, “Fossilized Future” and “SEVEN.”

“SEVEN” utilizes the principles of tensegrity to create a wind chime that is in constant flux between stability and instability. While appearing to levitate, external forces like wind induce a swaying motion, which is then converted to sound.

“Fossilized Future” is a collection of furniture born from interpreting fossils not as relics of the past but as metaphors linking the past and future. Koizumi created his own fossils from contemporary materials like wood that had been felled due to disease, discarded charcoal, rice husks, leftover coffee grounds and vegetable peels. The designer then used the materials to create large blocks which were then carved into furniture using a chainsaw.


Milan Design Week veterans from the design studio Nendo presented five new collections, all inspired by the overlooked “whispers of nature.” Below is “Clustered clouds,” a translucent shelf inspired by the form of hazy clouds. “The design of our new works began with nendo’s longstanding commitment to uncovering subtle hints hidden in the ordinary,” they say. “We have discovered hints in the natural phenomena of everyday life, extracted and developed them as a distinctive aesthetic appreciation of nature specific to Japanese culture.”


We+, the contemporary design studio led by Toshiya Hayashi and Hokuto Ando, are presenting Wonder Powder. A collaboration with precision instruments maker Shimadzu Corp., the installation is the result of a 2-year experiment that involved crushing all kinds of materials into powders and analyzing their aesthetics but also their versatility.

Kotaro Usugami

The designer Kotaro Usugami presented this table lamp that consists of a series of interconnecting tubes. Made from stainless steel and assembled using advanced metalworking techniques, the sculptural and floating design evokes a sense of time standing still, while expressing the durability and recyclability of stainless steel.


YOY, the Tokyo-based design studio led by Naoki Ono and Yuki Yamamoto, are also veterans of Milan Design Week. For their 10th showing, the duo are unveiling SNOW, a series of works including vases and lighting with texture of fallen snow.

YOY mass-produced life-size snow crystals using a precision laser cutter and used the thousands of crystals to reproduce the texture of fallen snow.