The 40th "JAPAN SHOP," the largest general trade fair for shops in Japan, was held this year. In commercial environments where comfort is a must, refined spaces that go beyond visual impressions can be achieved by paying attention to elements that appeal to all the senses. "Shop Amenity 2011," a special 40th anniversary commemorative event, features new technology based on the theme of "Elements"--parts of a shop environment that affect people's comfort but cannot be seen, such as aroma, sound, temperature, and air quality. For enhanced air quality, an exhibition of schemes for "Smoke Separation Total Solutions" focused on smoke separation systems. The latest efforts of equipment manufacturers were presented. In this report we will introduce state-of-the-art products and systems used in creating shopping space environments, particularly those exhibited at "Shop Amenity 2011." The next "JAPAN SHOP" is scheduled to be held in March 2012.
"JAPAN SHOP2011" Exhibition hall:
This year 232 companies exhibited, more than last year.
"Powerful New trends for a Flourishing Business!"
was produced as a Welcome Presentation by the Japan Visual Merchandising Association.
The power to open the door to a new era was expressed by a Wind god and a Thunder god.
The design work was headed by Mr. Shigeo Yoto (Direction) and Mr. Tamotsu Asahina
and Ms. Satoko Kohno (Directors of the Japan Visual Merchandising Association).
Collaboration among companies resulted in proposals for environments with smoke separation.
"Important customers are lost by making shop interiors no smoking areas." A company exhibiting at "Smoke Separation Total Solutions" said that examples of this are not uncommon. What are needed are spaces comfortable for both smokers and non-smokers. While some companies can provide effective solutions by themselves, smoke separation generally relies on comprehensive capabilities in such technologies as smoke separation, booth construction, ventilation, odor control, air purification, and systems for intercepting external air. "Smoke Separation Total Solutions" was very much an exhibition of solutions that make full use of these technologies. The exhibition area included smoking booths presenting four types of spaces where these solutions can be used: offices, commercial facilities, eating and drinking establishments, and outdoor spaces. These exhibits, which were presented in zones, were the result of collaboration using the technologies and products of nine companies.
The "Smoke Separation Total Solutions" corner at "Shop Amenity 2011":
Collaboration among companies has yielded various technologies
used to create a comfortable smoke separation environment for shops and offices.
Employees at eating and drinking establishments are occupied with carrying food or dishes. Opening and closing doors adds to their difficulties, and it is desirable to achieve zoning of smoking and non-smoking without doors. Yamaoka Industrial Co. Ltd. and Tornex Inc. have developed air curtains based on a downward air flow that intercepts the flow of air into and out of a designated space. The smoking booth in the "Eating and Drinking Establishments Zone" demonstrated how this technology can be used to separate two zones. Yamaoka Industrial exhibited a product that creates an environment where customers barely perceive an air flow. Tornex introduced a system with an automatic door and an air curtain coupled with an air purifier that is embedded in the ceiling.
One booth in the "Commercial Facility Zone" exhibited a system representing collaboration between companies, Comany Inc., a partition manufacturer that now also develops smoking booths, and Nittetsu Mining Co., Ltd., which provides plasma deodorizers for smoking compartments. The plasma deodorizing technology of Nittetsu Mining was originally developed by the Swiss military for removing harmful substances. Nittetsu Mining adapted this technology to develop a stationary deodorizer that removes both tobacco smoke and odors at the same time.
In the "Office Zone" a smoking room jointly developed by Okamura Corporation and Takasago Thermal Engineering Co. Ltd. was exhibited. This system, which features low energy consumption as a standard specification, prevents the dispersion of smoke and efficiently removes smoke using an air supply and removal panel equipped with a ventilator. The deodorizing effect in the smoking room is enhanced by having the walls coated with bamboo charcoal paint.
The smoking room developed by Okamura Corporation and Takasago Thermal Engineering Co.
is designed for low energy consumption (i-smoking).
The "I" in "i-smoking" stands for "isolation."
The "External Spaces Zone" featured a foldable outdoor smoking room developed by Teramoto Corporation LTD,. At night the smoking corner uses LED lighting to make it recognizable. It can also be designed to suit the surroundings. Four years ago, Teramoto launched a Smoking Site Division to commemorate its 80th anniversary. The company offers total products for smoke separation for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Shinryo Corporation displayed a model of an air purifier and deodorizer system specifically developed for smoking rooms. It was possible to actually experience the smoke removal and deodorizing effect.
Teramoto's indoor smoking room (left) and small outdoor smoking room (right):
A feature of the indoor smoking room is its space-saving shape
that does not obstruct the line of people's movement.
Giving added value to air
At "Shop Amenity 2011," three companies made presentations of the use of aromatic oils to improve the amenities of spaces. Micro Fragrance Inc., which was established two years ago, introduced a diffuser system that disperses aromas over a wide area. It uses a technology developed in France to disperse anti-bacterial agents for medical purposes. They have received many inquiries from apparel shops targeting young people. Several shops in "109" (famous fashion shopping center in the very fashionable Shibuya region of Tokyo) have adopted the system.
Global Product Planning demonstrated an internationally proven air aroma using an original essential oil from Australia and a diffuser. This product has been supplied to many hotels and fitness clubs. The stylish equipment design is one of the attractions of air aroma. The @aroma booth showed the latest air diffuser product and the range of brand products retailed by the company.
The aroma diffuser from Micro Fragrance Inc.:
The pleasant smell drifting around the hall attracted visitors.
Global Product Planning's display of the air aroma from Australia:
This device features a stable, high-quality aroma and a stylish equipment design.
Ohnit Co., Ltd. engaged in creating sanitary environments by generating ozone in the air to remove bacteria and odors. At "Shop Amenity 2011" they displayed a system used for odor removal in guest rooms in high class hotels. This behind-the-scene equipment can be used in shopping spaces. The company wants this technology to be known for creating sanitary environments through the medium of air.
Also introduced at "Shop Amenity 2011," were items focused on providing added convenience and comfort for customers, such as sound equipment, kids' goods, and goods for car parks. Green Display Co., Ltd., which is engaged in the total production of planting within shops, including maintenance, had displays for each season. The CHAdeMO Association, GS Yuasa Corporation and Takasago Ltd. had a stand displaying rapid battery-charging technology designed as infrastructure for electric cars. In the near future this is likely to become an essential item in roadside commercial facilities.
Wall materials to "Create Atmosphere" at shops
In shopping spaces where the products are the main actors, the wall is the background. Retailers have generally sought rather inartistic designs without personality. However, at this year's "JAPAN SHOP," many wall materials with textures and patterns rich in personality were presented. By combining these materials with lighting it is possible to produce very intriguing backgrounds that emphasize shadows. We would like to introduce you to several examples.
Asahi Chubu Building Materials Co. Ltd. (Asachu) is known for the Belle series of wall panels in which the surfaces of calcium silicate artificial timber materials is processed to create a three-dimensional pattern. Construction with this product has been limited to using the direct adhesive method, but at this year's "JAPAN SHOP" they announced a newly developed non-adhesive dry construction method. The interchangeable panels do not have to be discarded after they are removed. Panels that have been used once can be used again. Owners of multiple shops can adopt this simple, flexible construction method to systematically switch to different patterns with diverse expressions on shop walls. The atmosphere at a shop can be renewed by changing the background. This is the thinking behind new wall decoration systems.
The Asachu booth presented a dry construction method for the Belle series of wall decoration panels.
Lilycolor Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of interior design materials, including wallpaper, is adding new contents to its "Lilycolor Digital Deco" line to achieve a wide variety of wall patterns with unique designs created with digital processing technology. The new contents will be launched in July this year. It was possible to view part of the lineup at their booth. Of particular interest were displays of designs with Ise paper patterns. These patterns, which have been designated as an important intangible cultural heritage, are seen on wallpaper, decorative sheets, and glass films. The patterns on kimonos have an inherent meaning and history. Using them on wall surfaces gives deeper meaning to a space. It is possible to create an aesthetic feeling not only with the beauty of the designs, but also with Japanese chic and flamboyance. This may be described as a project to revive the design language of Japanese patterns in modern times.
Lilycolor used Japanese patterns in the design of their booth
Lilycolor will launch "Lilycolor Digital Deco"
with new contents, including Ise paper patterns, in July this year.
Sangetsu Co., Ltd. presented a particularly eye-catching exhibit. Their impressive display combined Suntory's wall planting with wallpaper decorated with enlarged prints of 3-D photographs of plants shot from a bird's-eye view. This display shows viewers that, by combining wallpaper with other compositions and expressions, it is possible to produce unique wall surface designs.
Sangetsu's display combined wall paper with enlarged prints of plants with wall surface plants.
New Expressions for Glittering and Metallic Impressions
Creators of shop spaces frequently seek a flamboyant, out-of-the-ordinary feeling. Dramatic lighting can play a big role in producing an unusual environment. Crystal illumination or concert stage lights can be used.
At this year's "JAPAN SHOP", Tri Terasu drew the attention of many visitors with an unusual lighting presentation. Many people found themselves stopping to view the advanced forms (smart chandeliers) of LED bulbs that combined bright LEDs with the company's special technology for acrylic optical waveguides. Light with a sparkling feeling has the power to bring flamboyance to hall spaces. It is not a matter of replacing existing light sources with LEDs, but providing materials that will bring out the natural characteristics of light. Each individual smart chandelier has an Edison's screw metal cap, so special fittings are not necessary. Ordinary sockets for bulbs can be used as they are. The opportunities for their use in displays or for dramatic lighting are increasing.
The Tri Terasu booth had many smart chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
Matsubara Wire Mesh Co. is finding new ways to use stainless steel materials that have a good affinity with light. Known for developing partitions and screens using stainless steel mesh, the company has a record of achievement in this field. Visitors to their booth were able to view their "Metal Tapestry," a creation using this technology, in which 0.1 mm stainless steel wire is woven as in a Jacquard loom to produce pictures and patterns. Due to the mesh form, the screens have transparency, and the image seems to stand proud due to the delicate shadows which change with the illumination or viewing angle, as in a hologram. It is also possible to weave characters and logos.
Matsubara Wire Mesh's "Metal Tapestry"
presented pictures created by weaving stainless steel thread.
Using the i-Pad for Digital Signage
Workstudio Corporation offers a system that uses the operability of an iPad, the tablet computer launched in January last year. iPads are extensively used for creating in-shop displays and information media. The company produces SP appliances and display systems for storefront promotions and displays for electronic goods such as mobile phones and digital cameras. Using this know-how, they have developed a stand that holds an iPad, and have announced a system in which a low-cost iPad can be used for displaying information, images, or as an entertainment terminal. It is not necessary to develop a large-scale system. One unit by itself can be used to display information using the multi-touch features.
An iPad stand was developed by Workstudio Corporation.
The iPad provides excellent user interface for displaying information.
Re-Force's stand for using an iPad showed how original designs
can be created using advanced processing technology.