Creative Direction

Karimoku New Standard

Karimoku New Standard (KNS) is a furniture brand launched in 2009 by the Japanese manufacturer Karimoku Furniture Inc. It is a curated collection of contemporary, joyful, functional furniture and home accessories for home and contract use, developed with a new generation of international designers. The products combine the designers’ innovative spirit with Karimoku’s experience in carpentry craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. All the items in the collections are made in Japan from sustainably sourced domestic hardwoods. The KNS collection is sold worldwide in 127 shops in 22 countries. It is represented in the permanent design collections of museums such as the Fond National d'Art Contemporain in Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago. The brand has won numerous prizes including the IF Design Award, the Swiss Federal Design Award and the Good Design Award. Since 2013, David Glaettli/GDD is the appointed Creative Director of KNS. David Glaettli’s creative direction for the brand encompasses a wide range of tasks including the creation of the brand concept, design & product strategy, selection of designers, definition of design briefings, revision of designs, evaluation of prototypes, control of the brand image and appearance, selection and direction of collaborators (like photographers, graphic designers and artists) for the development of sales and communication tools like catalogues, flyers, websites, and finally exhibition concept & design.
Exhibition Design

Tokyo Design Week 2017

During Tokyo Design Week 2017 Karimoku New Standard exhibited under the title Variations/Situations at the AXIS building in Roppongi, Tokyo in the IMA concept store.  This location was shared with the French photo gallery Yellow Korner.  Recognising the creative opportunity of exhibiting at a photo gallery, David Glaettli/GDD collaborated with the Tokyo based photographer Gottingham (Gosuke Sugiyama) to create an installation where furniture interacts with photographic artwork. The exhibited artwork was originally created by Gottingham in collaboration with David Glaettli during the photo shooting for the Karimoku New Standard Catalogue 2017.  During this previous creative collaboration, large walls staged a set of interior scenes. After shooting every scene, all the furniture was removed and the empty, artificial space formed by large, mobile walls was photographed. This led to a series of strikingly enigmatic photographs that at first glance show an empty architectural space, while at second glance show a staged space with unclear size and scale. At the exhibition in the neutral gallery space, the photographs were shown in specially designed backlit photo frames and arranged with the Karimoku New Standard furniture placed in front of the pictures. In this way, the photos of the empty spaces formed a kind of “borrowed landscape” for the furniture, or inversely, the furniture seems as if fallen out of the pictures on the walls. The project involved location hunting, exhibition concept, planning, styling and the selection and direction of collaborators. 
Design Management

2016/ Arita

2016/ is a new brand of ceramic tableware, interior accessories and jewellery. The brand brings together the century old porcelain making expertise of 16 Arita manufacturers with the talents of 16 international designers and includes almost 400 products in total. After 2 years of development, the 2016/ brand was successfully launched at the Milan Design Week 2016. In the year 1616, the art of ceramic production was introduced to Japan by Korean craftspeople. Pure Kaolin stone, the primary material for making porcelain, was discovered in the town of Arita in the Saga prefecture in southern Japan. In the following centuries, Arita developed into the most important site for ceramic production in Japan. Arita-ware gained worldwide recognition for its outstanding quality and beauty. Arita experienced a phase of dramatic economic decline at the end of the 20th century.  In an effort to reverse this decline, the 2016/ project, sponsored by the Saga local government, was begun on the 400th anniversary of porcelain production in Arita. This landmark project aimed to create an economic turnaround by revitalising local production and opening up new markets in order to preserve the tradition of porcelain making.David Glaettli/GDD provided design management for 2016/, including market research, hearings with the manufacturers, joint selection of the designers with the creative directors, matchmaking between the designers and the manufacturers, product planning, scheduling, project coordination, compiling briefings for the designers, supervision of the design process, revision of design proposals, mediation between the designers and the manufacturers, supervision of the prototyping and production process, revision of prototypes and quality control.
Exhibition Design

Tokyo Design Week 2015

Tokyo Design Week 2015 found David Glaettli/GDD knee deep in the creation of an exhibition for Karimoku New Standard.  For this design week David Glaettli/GDD selected the palette of a large gallery space within the very popular Tsutaya T-Site complex in Daikanyama, Tokyo. The scenography was conceived with and built in collaboration with Tokyo based constructor company TANK. The exhibition room had unusual proportions with very high ceilings, which posed the risk that the furniture would feel lost and out of proportion in the vast space. To address this challenge, exhibition podiums made of simple MDF were printed with different standard grids that turned into patterns interacting with the furniture standing on them.  The grid exposed the scale of the space and allowed visitors to measure and understand the size and proportions of the exhibits. Partitions were also constructed to enforce the concept.  Made of welded and lacquered reinforcement lattice, the grid pattern was brought into the vertical and formed graphical layers that structured the space.  Another facet of the exhibition was a mini store launched to offer Karimoku New Standard accessories and other products designed by Karimoku New Standard designers. As a special give-away for visitors, an original knapsack was developed with Kyoto based artist Soshi Matsunobe, featuring an original fabric with a hand drawn pattern. David Glaettli/GDD’s Tokyo Design Week 2015 project involvement for Karimoku New Standard included creating, developing, and implementing the exhibition concept.  This exhibition design work also include the food concept, shop curation, planning, styling, location hunting, and the selection and coordination of collaborators.
Exhibition Design

Milan Design Week 2014

The fifth Karimoku New Standard exhibition in Milan was held in a white cube showroom with a spectacular fin de siècle courtyard just a few meters from the Castello di Milano. In order to expand on the success of the previous year, Karimoku teamed again with Arabeschi Di Latte for a second edition of Kitchen Library.  The exhibition embodied a temporary reading lounge centred around food, books & furniture and dedicated itself to conviviality and inspiration in everyday life. This time Arabeschi Di Latte supplied their impressive collection of vintage recipe books from all over the world, which were integrated into the installation and available for visitors to browse and read. As part of the installation, Arabeschi Di Latte created a food concept, called “words and foods on loan”. Similarly to ideas and words, food and dishes have always transcended borders, being reinterpreted in different cultural contexts to ultimately become something new and once again original. Arabeschi di Latte featured this concept and selected classic Japanese foods with their roots in the west.  These foods were then brought back to Europe and reinvented with local ingredients. These reinvented foods and drinks were prepared in a kitchen integrated into the exhibition, and of course served to visitors. David Glaettli/GDD’s involvement in this project included exhibition and event concept, planning, and styling, the selection and coordination of collaborators, and location hunting.