For many European travellers, Japan tends to be perceived as a high-cost tourist destination. With a flight time of nearly 17 hours and a seven month rainy season, Japan isn’t a destination for those who are after a last minute, sun-seeking holiday.

Nevertheless, Japan is currently experiencing a large influx of tourism that has already doubled over the past four years, thanks to its rich cultural heritage which contrasts with cutting edge technology and wonderful architecture.

The number of overseas tourists visiting the country is expected to double again by 2020 as Japan is set to host a number of international events, including the Rugby World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. In preparation for this surge in visitors, Japan is in the midst of a significant hotel development boom across the country, bringing vast opportunities for British interior designers and commercial suppliers to be involved in a range of exciting hospitality projects.

"In response to the strong demand for UK interior designers, myself and a group of BIID members, embarked on a two-week trade mission to Japan last October to find out more about the opportunities"

According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), design is the UK’s largest and most successful export. UK interior design has never been stronger than it is today and is highly respected across the world. 

BIID Japan Mission

In response to the strong demand for UK interior designers, myself and a group of BIID members, embarked on a two-week trade mission to Japan last October to find out more about the opportunities. The trip was organised by the talented Noriko Sawayama, founder of NSDA Design, who is a Japanese interior designer and BIID member based in the UK, who works on commercial interior design projects both here and in Japan.

The BIID is known for its high professional standards and creative expertise in interior design, not just in the United Kingdom but internationally. As well as talking to hoteliers and developers about our respective interior design practices and what we can offer them, members of the BIID team including myself and BIID Past President Daniel Hopwood, were also invited to speak at events in the hospitality sector about the UK design industry and what it could potentially bring to Japan.

"The tour provided an ideal platform for the BIID to promote British design talent and highlight the possibilities for collaboration between designers in Japan and the UK"

This included engaging discussions at events such as Japantex, an interior design symposium with Houzz Japan at the Houzz Tokyo headquarters and an IFFT seminar on the design legacy from the London Olympics, hosted by the UK Embassy in Tokyo which discussed the designer-led design process and collaboration with architects.

The tour provided an ideal platform for the BIID to promote British design talent and highlight the possibilities for collaboration between designers in Japan and the UK. There are hugely exciting opportunities in Japan at present for the UK design community and part of our mission was to find out more about these by meeting key stakeholders and find out how we can highlight these opportunities for our peers in the industry.

Inspirational Japan 

Visiting Japan provided me with real creative inspiration as well as being a hugely valuable professional networking opportunity. 

During our time in Japan we went on a fascinating cultural tour, visiting historic and modern architectural highlights and learning about traditional Japanese crafts and skills, including authentic Kyo-yuzen dyeing, one of Japan’s best known dyeing techniques.

We also participated in a full-day workshop in Kyoto where we created traditional Japanese wallpaper, visited an exhibition to celebrate the 300th birthday of Jakuchu Ito, one of Japan’s most renowned artists, and learnt about Nishijin Brocade, Japan’s famous and richly decorative shuttle-woven fabric.

Without doubt the trip was one of my most memorable and successful ventures to date as an interior designer and I look forward to developing the relationships I formed whilst I was out there. 

BIID Opens International Doors

One of the great benefits of being a BIID member is being able to showcase your professional expertise internationally and to form relationships with both BIID members and potential clients across the world.

All BIID Registered Interior Designers® are recognised internationally by clients, designers and other built environment professionals as being a respected interior designer who has met the BIID’s rigorous professional standard. If you would like to join the BIID, please visit biid.org.uk for more information.    

biid.org.uk