Just down the road from the UK’s Design Museum is an exhibition of objects that would amply fit into a Japanese design museum — if it had one. That’s the idea behind this exhibition — as Japan doesn’t have a national design museum, what would people put in such a museum if one were to be built.

Seven major Japanese creators, from filmmakers to architects and fashion designers, have presented their chosen national treasures, spanning 10,000 years from a variety of locations across the country, and this travelling exhibition has now arrived in the UK.

At the appropriate location of Japan House London.

As a visual feast it’s undeniably a good selection of objects, but there’s a niggling sense of “why” in the display as the selection is so wide ranging that it can feel somewhat disjointed. That said, as a rather random collection of very finely crafted wares, it’s a good selection.

Even if wandering from rugby shirts to a piano, then spoons and on to spinning tops can leave you feeling a bit spinning as well.

The exhibition, Design Discoveries: Towards a Design Museum Japan is at Japan House London on Kensington High Street until September 2024.

It’s open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm and on Sundays & Bank Holidays from noon to 6pm and is free to visit.


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