Swiss art and design universities “imported” by up-and-coming Japanese designers

Six Swiss art and design universities were showcased at the successful Re-Importation exhibition by seven up-and-coming Japanese designers who studied outside of Japan, including four graduates freshly out of ECAL. Almost 500 guests, mostly prospective students, journalists covering the relevant fields and prominent designers visited the six-day event in the center of Tokyo.

In addition to the designers’ alma mater ECAL, HEAD-Genève, Bern University of the Arts BFH, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW, Lucerne University for Applied Science and Arts, as well as Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK were highlighted at the event supported by the Science & Technology Office Tokyo.


(cc) photos by Matthias Frey, Dario Lanfranconi and S&T Office Tokyo.

As can be seen in the photos, the former ECAL students produced a map of Switzerland and stamps engraved with useful information on each of the universities, such as what kind of courses were offered in what level and language or the required documents to be submitted. The hand-made round-shaped stamps were attached to the map using strings so that the visitors could see where the schools are located. Visitors were offered a red passport-sized booklet to stamp on the information of the schools of their interest. The interactive setting made the collecting of information more attractive. Additionally, physical materials such as flyers and brochures were made available for people to take from the slits of the “crates” specially created as exhibition stands for this occasion. Many young visitors reached out to take the materials; they were literally “flying” out of the slits.

Switzerland –> Tokyo —> and beyond?
The afternoon of Thursday, November 3rd which was a holiday in Japan, and Friday November 4th were announced to the public as the time to inquire about studying abroad. However, the designers were constantly being asked about their experiences throughout the duration of the exhibition. For the Japanese prospective students, the stories shared were precious advice as first-hand information on Swiss art and design universities is still rather rare.

Visitors also flocked in from areas outside Tokyo, in particular from Osaka where students came in groups and a designer indicated his strong interest in helping to bring the exhibition to the western metropolitan city.

Together with their attractive works, the former ECAL students, Mr. Kodai Iwamoto, Mr. Takahiro Yamamoto, Mr. Naoto Suzuki and Ms. Maki Nakaya were great ambassadors for studying in Switzerland.

Acknowledgement: The Science & Technology Office Tokyo would like to thank the six universities for providing information and physical materials through our office specifically for the event. A special thanks to Mr. Dario Lanfranconi for his advice and support.

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