Asia's largest retail comprehensive trade fair "JAPAN SHOP" (35th), which introduces the latest products and systems for new commercial designs and retail stores, was held again this year at the "Tokyo Big Sight" exhibition center.
Venue entrance / "JAPAN SHOP" exhibition
Several new systems that use LEDs for store fixtures and materials in retail displays were introduced at the exhibition. Lighting manufacturer, Koizumi Sangyo, introduced the "GLASS LEDs SERIES", a decorative lighting unit that sandwiches 48 LED lights in 4mm thick transparent glass. It's a unique system that emits light by running an electric current through a transparent metallic oxide film instead of through wires, and it is completely see through. A basic unit weighs approximately 5kg and is 450 millimeters in diameter. There is also a unit available with a high-power, 1 watt LED universal spot installed in the center and it can be used as a built-in shelf for lighting displays. These products were displayed as samples.
Koizumi Sangyo example used as a cover for monitors.
The LEDs are powered by a metal cable attached to the glass unit
with a weak 12-volt electric current.
Although fixtures that emit light throughout an entire board and edge part with extra fine fluorescent tubes built into the side of acrylic shelf boards are not new, several displays that used white LEDs instead of fluorescent tubes were also introduced. For example, Toyasenryou Syouten exhibited a 15-millimeter thin "LED light S" , of which the embedded light source part does not become hot. It features even lighting throughout the entire surface without any irregularities and development is possible in shelf boards and signboards, etc.
Toyasenryou Syouten thin LED fixtures
Yoshikawa Kasei developed an extremely lightweight small lighting "YP PANEL P300W" (313_86.1mm), a 3.7 millimeter thick, surface emitting light panel combined with lightweight plastic lenses weighing only 105 grams by taking advantage of the characteristics of LEDs as small light sources. It can be mounted on the back of shelves with double-sided tape to light displays and it diverts technology previously used in the back lighting of cellular phone screens to light fixtures.
Surface-emitting lights from Yoshikawa Kasei.
Graphica, which develops and imports business sound and lighting equipment, exhibited a tall lighting wall combined with next-generation LED panels. Environmental graphics produced by light can be experienced and the quality is reminiscent of an art gallery. A computer controls the system and it can definitely be said that the response of LEDs made this system possible. Presentation patterns can also be used to produce original programs.
Graphica's Lighting Wall.
Although the pixels in the display may not be detailed,
video images can be played.
LEDs were not the only things on display. Several new items by specialty manufacturers with priority on ecology and design were also unveiled to the public for the first time at "JAPAN SHOP 2006". In this section, elegantly designed system fixtures and glass fixtures that manage products and inventory with electronic tags were introduced.
"SYSTEM2040", imported and sold by Kawano, was introduced for the first time at "JAPAN SHOP". It is a display system jointly researched and developed with Bauhaus University in Germany, and the most noticeable feature of this system is its simple, clean-cut design only of aluminum frame and glass shelves when viewed from the front. The brace and side panels to support shelf boards from both sides and joints under the shelves cannot be seen. The structure is simple and it is just that the glass boards covered with a shatterproof film are clipped by the frame and fixed at the backside. The shelves can be moved easily by adjusting the brackets and a depth of 40 millimeters is required behind the wall. The shelves are hardly noticeable and this system allows products and objects that are on display to stand out. Besides glass shelves, boxes can also be installed in the aluminum frame and it can be used as a new form of storage in offices and homes. This product has already delivered results to major hair salons in Germany and is equipped with earthquake-proof parts for use in Japan.
The very simple design of only a wall and shelves looks beautiful.
Nippon Sheet Glass, a major sheet glass manufacturer, introduced the "Smart Glaｓｓhel", a smart shelf with an embedded antenna compatible with electronic tags. You may have seen ultra small wires and antennas for radio and TV installed in the rear windows of cars. These shelves have the same mechanism as the glass used in those cars. The system can read electronic tags installed in products that are placed on the shelves using the antennas and the number of products that are on a shelf at any one time can be monitored with a computer. In the event hall, as its application, projection of the computer screen was presented next to the glass shelf by the program to display information of the product on the screen when removed from the shelf.
When a product is removed, information etc., on the price,
manufacturer name, and product are displayed on the computer screen.
Also, if a product is moved to another shelf,
the inventory list is automatically updated.
The performance of printers in terms of print speed and color reproducibility, document size and printing costs, etc. has undergone rapid changes. In "JAPAN SHOP", various printer manufacturers introduced impressive exhibits that emphasized the strengths of their products. In this section of the report, being away from the hardware development race, technology that answered the needs of customers such as graphic print outs for advertisements etc., are highlighted.
Photo catalytic technology using titanium oxide is being used in external building materials to prevent surfaces from becoming dirty since it can break down organic materials attached to external surfaces by reacting with sunlight. Until now, Sumitomo 3M had provided this technology in a surface treated film product for outdoor advertisements. "Although it can't be said that it is completely maintenance free, it is suitable for outdoor advertisements that are difficult to clean because the film decomposes surface dirt." (Sumitomo 3M Representative). Although the lifespan of photo catalytic technology was limited to three years because the film itself also decomposes, the company announced a new "Super-self cleaning" product that extends this lifespan to five years. The new product is scheduled for release by the end of March.
Sumitomo 3M exhibition booth fused printer technology,
film and adhesives taking it to higher dimension
Printing and Cutting
High-end printer manufacturer, Roland DG exhibited the "SP-540V", a fully automatic, multi-function printer that can simultaneously print and cut the outline. This is the multi printer enabling to print & cut directly from design data on computers. As a result, it can greatly reduce the time required in each production step needed to produce POP for banners, stickers, labels and cutouts etc.
Roland DG's Multi-function printer
Printing and cutting can be done at the same time
Low Price Large-size Printers
In the East 3 Hall, Canon's "iPF5000", a high efficiency large size printer for the general public priced at 300,000 yen or less that can print in poster size even up to the A2 enlarged size was exhibited. "We received an inquiry from a photography studio owner because the color representation was very high and the finish on the photographs was also beautiful."(Canon Sales Representative). Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard Japan's "HP Designjet 130" can printout in A1 size and is competitively priced at less than 200,000 yen. "Compared to just a few years ago, large-sized printers are now very reasonable. If you order a lot of posters from printing companies, it is probably now more economical to have your own printer." (Hewlett-Packard Japan Representative).
Hewlett-Packard Japan's "HP Designjet 130"
and a poster printed out by the same printer.
The three letters of "R'" have been receiving attention for realizing a sustainable society that is kind to the environment. This is a viewpoint called "3R" of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Since stores have to change with the times and the environment, they have a shorter lifespan compared to general buildings and homes, and remodeling and reconstruction are inevitable. For this reason, symbiotic environmental design and management that emphasizes the "3R" is necessary in store development. In this section, the "3R" as they appear in store design was studied in items on display at the exhibition.
Although aluminum consumes a large amount of power during refinement, it has the characteristic of being easily recyclable once refined. Since it is light and comparatively easy to process, it also has the characteristic of easily being able to systematize fixture production etc. The fixture and display system focused on sustainable features of aluminum like this were introduced in this section.
Aluminum frames are often used in the exhibition booths and many of those products are imported from Germany and Switzerland. However, Matsumoto Metal has attempted to produce an aluminum exhibition system domestically. The "Osso E Peｌｌe" stands out in that there is no impact on the environment during manufacturing, assembly or actual use. "We created a unique process corresponding to situation in Japan and we worked hard to take advantage of in-house development." says the person in charge of design development. "Osso E Peｌｌe" has easily attachable ducts and wall lighting units in which ready-made light fittings can be installed and assembled on site by a few people, and since it has an original wiring structure, cords are not exposed and special electric wiring work is unnecessary. The frame also comes with low power consuming LEDs.
"Osso E Pelle" developed by Matsumoto Metals.
A sharp design combining aluminum and white LEDs.
Here is an optical floor system
using an aluminum frame displayed by SHOEI, Bijutsu.
Another product that uses aluminum in a more architectural way is "ecoms", an aluminum material and structure system by SUS. In 2002, aluminum newly obtained authorization as a structural material together with the revision of building standards law. From that time onwards, the company has been already actively involved in aluminum construction and has achieved a great deal of expertise. It is undeniable that aluminum is not easy to use compared to other construction materials due to its high cost, but it is the best architectural material for realizing a recycling oriented resource society and it can be expected that it will attract more attention in the future. In the "Aluminum Construction Parts and Materials Book" exhibition booth, recorded construction examples were handed out to visitors.
A 2-storey "ecoms" model was built in the hall.
Many various parts were also on exhibit.
Recycling Glass for Light Sources
Until now, burned out light sources such as fluorescent and sodium lamps were buried in the ground as waste. However, Sawaya, headquartered in Ishikawa Prefecture, has been involved in the removal of hazardous substances from these discarded lamps and development of construction and decorative materials that recycle the glass parts. They unveiled various examples of design development in the hall such as blocks, cubes, spheres, and shades for lighting etc. One feature was the soft texture unlike transparent sheets glass.
Various items using recycled glass of the discarded lamps from Sawaya.
Small Box of Plexiglas Inspiring Designers
"Plexiglas" is used as a general term for acrylic. In fact it is actually a registered trademark of Germany's Degussa Corporation. In Degussa Japan's exhibition booth, colorful Plexiglas processed in many different ways was exhibited. In their booth, sample boxes labeled as "It's Magic", in which Plexiglas were assorted like intellectual training toys, were given away to visitors. These boxes were filled with material of various colors and textures processed into different forms such as Plexiglas columns, blocks, wave pattern plates, and flat plates, etc. to provide "clues" on how designers use Plexiglas in their designs.
"It's Magic" sample box of Plexiglas from the Degussa Japan booth
Text/Kazuo Hashiba (Editor)