tokyo midtown design hub: a meeting-point for design

03 August 2015
As the "axle of the wheel" where many roads meet, Design Hub is a focal point of design venues and institutions, all situated within midtown Tokyo.

JAGDA "Handkerchiefs for Tohoku 3: Messages from Tohoku" exhibition (2014)


The Tokyo Midtown Design Hub is a model for a city district led by design - an urban space that encourages ongoing expansion, adaptation and engagement between designers, community and industry, with an openness to the promotion of "child-like" wonder within design perspective.

First launched in April 2007, Tokyo Midtown Design Hub brings together promotional, professional and educational design institutions to “connect,” “spread,” and “develop” design thinking in a dynamic, mid-city sector named Tokyo Midtown that includes design wings and towers, facility centers, residencies and public garden spaces.

Programming throughout the Design Hub is relevant, innovative and socially-sensitive due to the engagement of its four partners, institutions who represent professional, promotional and educational design: The International Design Liaison Center, and three ico-D Members: Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc. (JAGDA), Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP), and Musashino Art University Design Lounge (D-LOUNGE).

Through this alliance of leading design entities of Tokyo, Design Hub spaces are venues for collaboration between designers, industries and educational and research institutions, in order to better connect theory and practice, as well as to develop research, education and human resources.

connect | spread | develop

Connecting people, business, and knowledge, the network invites designers and citizens to: “Connect” - by holding year-round exhibitions and multidisciplinary conversations as a way to engage with social issues; “Spread” - in the form of workshops, talks and seminars, to broadcast design thinking to people who gather at Tokyo Midtown; and “Develop” - through the nurturing of future generations through design-led educational opportunities aimed at youth and children.


design exhibitions for social good

Design Hub has hosted several exhibitions to promote design as a vehicle for social change. For example, the "Design to Change the World Exhibition" (2010) (below).



JAGDA has organised charity exhibitions to support earthquake-hit Tohoku. As a result of the need for rebuilding of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake disaster area, the "charity handkerchief" exhibitions were held for three years - a collection of specially designed handkerchiefs for Tohoku children, to create a sense of value and a more developed social awareness through design.

Also in support of the reconstruction after the earthquake, the "Reconstruction Design Marché" was held for four years at a shopping area in Tokyo Midtown, hosted by JDP. JAGDA, having launched an initiative to team up with food companies affected by the disaster in the coastal areas of northeast Japan, was invited to create a booth pairing delicious specialties with selected packaging.


JDP "Reconstruction Design Marche" in Tokyo Midtown (2015) photo credit: Madoka Akiyama


Promoting new forms: receptivity and experiential design

D-LOUNGE, JAGDA, and JDP co-host a thematic exhibition once a year to develop new perspectives on design, including the "momomo" exhibition, which has, in the past, featured various ways to inspire design perspectives among youth and teenagers; another being a series of children's design workshops.


Design workshop for children co-hosted by D-LOUNG, JDP and JADGA (2014)


In the Spring of 2015, Tokyo Midtown Design Hub celebrated its 51st exhibition“◯◯◯ mo ◯◯◯ mo ◯◯◯ mo: ◯◯◯ can also be considered ◯◯◯”, which was the sequel to the 2013 exhibit, “(            ) mo (            ) mo (            ) mo exhibition – Design and ways of seeing –.”

Visit the Tokyo Midtown Design Hub official website here.