On-site report 2024

A Design Perspective on ORGATEC TOKYO

ORGATEC TOKYO 2024 was held from the 29th to the 31st of May. The event was a great success, attracting over 40,000 visitors, which is a 55% increase from the previous year. As a trade fair for public furniture, its presence has been steadily growing. This time, the event was observed from the perspective of design.

Report by Miki Homma (Lifestyle Journalist)

How well do individuality in design and public furniture complement each other?

A total of 163 companies participated in ORGATEC TOKYO. I quickly toured the venue at Tokyo Big Sight.


Office furniture represents a world of the greatest common denominator. Household furniture is chosen based on personal preferences and lifestyles, purchased for reasons such as "I like it" or "I want to use it." In this way, design becomes a part of the user's "individuality." However, furniture for offices and public spaces is primarily selected based on the company's "consensus," "business direction," and stringent "budget." With this in mind, the venue was inspected to see how design influences these choices.


The impression was that domestic brands were centered around furniture and presentations designed to enhance smooth internal communication. A key characteristic of ORGATEC TOKYO is the variety of furniture that embodies the harmonious working environment typical of Japanese corporations.

Motivational Design

On the other hand, as workplaces extend beyond the home and the office, and workers are freed from the constraints of time and place, there is an increasing demand for productivity and creativity. At the venue, several pieces of design furniture were found that boost motivation.

Firstly, ACTUS. The company primarily deals in end-user furniture, maintaining touchpoints with end-users and exhibiting a high sensitivity to design.


They have begun importing the Italian modern office furniture brand "Manerba." This is a brand that I also took note of at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. While incorporating new concepts such as soft color tones and flexible storage, the functionality of desks and chairs remains solidly reliable.


They actively promoted the ability to create material coordination that does not appear overly office-like, using fabric and material mood board plans that have become commonplace in household furniture.


A prime example of this was the "Female Executive" office room on display. It featured a soft space with beige and salmon pink as the primary colors.


In an era where the gender gap in the workplace is narrowing, executive furniture has often leaned towards luxury. However, ACTUS has successfully utilised the Italian brand Manerba to seamlessly blend expertise from outside the realm of office furniture.

Design Materials Solving the Durability Issue

Materials have become a significant theme in the world of interiors. With the design of form and function reaching saturation, both the individuality and functionality of furniture are now being differentiated through materials. As a result, the recognition of fabric brands is rising at furniture trade fairs worldwide, including in Japan. However, public furniture faces the challenge of durability. Here, two companies that have successfully addressed this challenge while maintaining high design sensitivity are introduced.

The most renowned artificial leather with stain resistance is Toray's "Ultrasuede." To convey more than what samples alone can show, they displayed their color cards, which the company takes pride in, in an installation modelled after a "dandelion flower."


They engaged EETY Studio's product designer Emi Endo to express a diverse mix of colors, evoking new emotions.

MORIDEN, a company dealing in commercial textiles, holds a significant market share in fabrics for train seats. The durability required for seat materials in vehicles is exceptionally high, and MORIDEN is trusted by many railway companies for this reason.


This time, the company unveiled bespoke textiles developed from raw materials. Using recycled materials, they introduced commercial textiles with quilting, stripes, bouclé, and other features that are also appealing for household furniture.


As a company capable of developing materials from scratch, they can produce bespoke textiles tailored to the desired furniture design in appropriate lots. At the venue, they showcased the licensed production sofa "ROSETPrado" from the French furniture brand Ligne Roset, upholstered in "Opera," a voluminous quilted fabric.

Office Kitchens Blend in Subtly

From the traditional break room to office kitchens, and further to shared kitchens where employees and external visitors can interact, the concept of kitchens in public spaces has grown. Despite the demand, the barrier to implementation remains high. Tesera has elegantly provided a smart solution to this challenge.


Can you spot where the kitchen is in this photo? The slender cabinet at the forefront is actually the kitchen. It features a Silestone countertop that is resistant to water and stains. On the left end, there is a sink and faucet, kept at the same height as the filing cabinets and desks, allowing it to blend seamlessly into the office space. At the right end, there is a snack table where two or three people can gather for a break with colleagues.


Their products are simple yet robust modular systems, easily reconfigurable to fit the space without much effort. This approach reduces construction time and costs compared to ordering custom-built water facilities from scratch.

"Together, we can make it happen!" - The Significance

In the often-uniform world of public furniture design, Karimoku Furniture took a bold approach by challenging the norm with a presentation that shifts away from a product-dominated approach.


The key phrase is " Together, we can make it happen!"
Karimoku Furniture is one of the largest woodworking furniture manufacturers in the world. In addition to catering to various OEMs, they also strongly advocate for sustainability through forest conservation in Japan and the utilisation of scrap wood.


It's not just about manufacturing; they can also propose production methods that align with a company's direction and philosophy, such as ecology. Additionally, with advanced woodworking facilities, they can handle small-scale production of complex shapes, including art. "We want to show the essence of Karimoku, where we can create anything from scratch, even things that have never been made before," said Vice President Hiroshi Kato, expressing his enthusiasm for bespoke designs that encompass a company's overall direction.


Showcasing the custom-made products they have crafted so far at the center, the space divided by colorful fabrics won the Grand Prix at the "ORGATEC TOKYO Awards" for outstanding booths.
The atmosphere at the venue was filled with anticipation that the next ORGATEC TOKYO will bring even more flexible and innovative ideas.

Miki Homma / Lifestyle Journalist

After gaining experience in the editorial department of the interior design magazine Shitsunai, Miki Homma became an independent journalist. She has been involved in reporting, writing, seminars and various other activities related to furniture, interior design, architecture, kitchen design and more. Ms. Homma has conducted numerous interviews overseas in Germany, Italy and other countries. Her published works include Real Kitchen & Interior, Real Living & Interior and Interior Kitchens That Change Your Life (Shogakukan).