For the third Hida Furniture® Award Furniture Design Competition, we received 248 entries from Japan and overseas. 212 entries were submitted from Japan and 36 entries were submitted from 16 countries across the world. The number of entries decreased by almost half compared to the last competition. We believe the main reason for the decrease in entries was the entry fee which was newly introduced this year.
Previously, we did not charge any entry fee because we wanted as many people as possible to get to know the Hida Furniture and participate in the competition. However, we received considerable number of proposals that were not well thought out, and as the organizer, we decided to focus on the quality and not on the number of entries, and asked applicants to pay the entry fee. As a result, all the judges and external advisors unanimously agreed that we received high standard entries as we expected.
We continued to receive many entries from younger generations including students. We are unable to compare the numbers since the entry requirements have changed, but we are satisfied with the entries we received for this year’s competition to mark our new start.
As a result, the screening process was more intense than the previous competitions. One of the reasons is that the overall level of entries rose, as mentioned before, and another reason is that the judges gained greater awareness of this competition as the competition has been held several times, and therefore we were able to have in-depth discussion during the screening process.
We are very happy that we were able to select a piece for the grand prize, which we were not able to select in the last competition. What’s more is that the winner is a student. We are pleased to encounter a designer from a new generation. Further, coincidentally, we have two double winners. The screening process is conducted without seeing the applicants’ personal information, so it is undoubtfully their talent that led them to win double prizes.
For the grand prize winner “By”, we highly valued its comprehensive strength, including the idea which reflected the modern lifestyle, the proposal of new furniture based on that idea, and its naming and how the presentation was organized. There are still hurdles to clear such as the structure and strength of the chair, but it brings out a desire to take on a challenge toward commercialization.
The excellent prize winner “THE JAPAN CHAIR” radiates distinctive Japanese beauty that is different from various masterpiece chairs. It caught the judges’ attention from the first screening phase and became one of the candidates for the grand prize. “AURORA” is an armchair which offers two ways of receiving a body by altering the backrest. The ability to combine multiple chairs was recognized in the screening process. “Tuo Bench” is a multifunctional furniture proposal which incorporates functions desired in a vanity space. We were surprised to find out after the screening process that the applicant was the same applicant who designed “By”.
“RAMIFY”, which was selected as the incentive prize winner, was recognized for its simple lighting made of bentwood. This piece was created by the same applicant who won the excellent prize for “THE JAPAN CHAIR”. We awarded a special incentive prize to a “V-01 Stacking chair”, which is a three legged chair with an aspiring shape. We decided to award this prize instead of the incentive prize, considering the applicant’s age.
There is a Japanese saying, “Three years on a stone”, which means perseverance prevails. As we held this competition for the third time, we are starting to shape the distinctiveness of this competition and the way it should be. We are continuously committed to embracing the spirit that was put into each of the submitted pieces, and considering commercialization of winning pieces to bring them out to the world. We will continue to make improvements and put our efforts to make this competition a gateway for creators in Japan and overseas, and to make Hida a Mecca for furniture production
Lastly, We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the applicants, external advisors, media outlets which covered stories about the competition, and everyone else involved. Thank you very much.
HIDA WOOD WORKING FEDERATION
We received a wide variety of works for this year’s competition, and I believe the overall quality has gone up. While I did not see any prominent pieces, some of the works from students, including the grand prize winner “By” which was designed with warm-heartedness from the users’ standpoint, caught my eyes. The number of student entries and general entries were about the same, and we expect entries from overseas to grow in the future. I had hope to select a piece from overseas entries but this time it did not come true. I hope the prize winning pieces will go out to the world as Hida Furniture.
Hiroshi Tsuruta (Representative Director of REAL Style Inc.)
This was my first time to serve as a judge for the Hida Furniture® Award Furniture Design Competition. First of all, I was amazed by the high level of design quality of all 248 works submitted from Japan and overseas. Because the award was held in Hida, which is known for Japanese furniture production, and the award offered commercialization of works as a prize, applicants showed their strong enthusiasm in their works. I was impressed by them. Applicants’ age ranged from 17 to 71, and the finalists turned out to be the youngest and the oldest applicants. I was surprised when I was told that the designer of “By”, which received the grand prize, was a junior-year college student. With her great concept, the beauty of the form that conveys warmth and affection for family, the high quality of presentation sheet, and her high technical skill to create the prototype, she will be an immediate asset in the field of design. I look forward to seeing her as a designer in the future. The excellent prize winner, “THE JAPAN CHAIR” is also a great piece which brings out straightforward yet sophisticated Japanese formative design. While this piece was inspired by a Torii gate, you can also see the sharpness similar to Japanese sword. By achieving superior comfortableness in future prototypes, I hope this chair will become one of the prominent chairs that represent Japan. I would like to express my gratitude for giving me a chance to meet brilliant designers who will lead Japanese Monozukuri in the future. Thank you
Chiaki Hayashi（Representative Director of Loftwork Inc. and CEO of Hidakuma Inc.）
Compared to last year, we saw more pieces that were carefully thought out and designed to detail. Overall quality was high. Young people especially increased their presence in the competition. After we finished screening, we checked the ages of the applicants, and all the judges were surprised to see several applicants in their 20s won the prizes. It is a wonderful thing and the future looks brighter. Also, what impressed me was in many proposals I could imagine how the pieces would be actually used. The pieces not only focused on the beauty of the form, but they also showed us the reasons we need these pieces of furniture now. I was able to learn through those pieces that reflect to the voice of this age and convey messages to the society. Again, congratulation to those who won the prizes. I wish you all the best for your future endeavors.
Yasushi Yamazaki (To-Ryu-Mon Brand director of JDN Inc.)
We received smaller number of entries this year, but there were many proposals that accurately expressed the intention of the award organizer. As we continue to hold this competition over the years, the uniqueness of this competition and the local characteristics of Hida are taking root. Further, through discussions in the screening panel, I felt that the organizer’s commitment toward the competition has been reinforced. I am delighted that two of the winners received two prizes, respectively. It contributes to discovering new furniture designers. I look forward to seeing how things will go from here.
HIDA WOOD WORKING FEDERATION