By  on April 12, 2010

Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier has masterminded a string of projects during the Salone del Mobile that combine his love of the arts and his passion for all things Japanese.

Besides presenting the house’s latest furniture and housewares collections, Maier organized a design competition in tandem with the University of Tokyo for students of the architecture department in the School of Engineering. The three winning designs will be announced at Bottega Veneta’s home presentation.

The challenge was to design a piece of furniture that’s a functional seat and also takes into account Bottega Veneta’s tradition in quality, timeless design and handiwork.

“The aim of the competition is to support these young designers and artists by enabling them to present their [aesthetic] to the widest possible audience,” said Maier.

Additionally, Bottega Veneta will arrange a pop-up store in its Milan headquarters to sell unique, travel-friendly objects created by skilled Japanese craftsmen, plus its own leather goods exclusive to the event.

The Japanese items on sale were selected by Maier and Seiichi Kamei, editor in chief of Casa Brutus, a design and architecture magazine.

The offerings include such pieces as hand-cut glasses by Yasunori Kimura, a third-generation craftsman, for Taburo Corp.; Akita cedarwood pitchers by renowned artisan Yasutaka Shimizu, and a box featuring a traditional Japanese marquetry technique by Katsuhiro Kanazashi.

“Putting together this special presentation has been both an adventure and a pleasure,” said Maier. “I am a great admirer of Japanese craft and design and we created the store so that those who visit the exhibition can take something small and memorable home with them.”

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