Design with Japan image
Design with Japan image

Design with Japan

A collaborative residency programme connecting Swiss designers with Japanese manufacturers

Supported by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Embassy in Japan, this programme forges connections between the innovative power of Swiss emerging designers and Japanese manufacturers. Its goal is to nurture an intercultural collaborative environment that pushes the boundaries of design. This collaboration comes to life through the development of a series of prototypes, a project exhibition and media exposure.

The programme is hosted by the ceramics brand Tajimi Custom Tiles in collaboration with local manufacturers based in Tajimi prefecture, Japan under the mentorship of David Glättli, Creative Director of the brand. The designers will spend three weeks in Japan and develop design concepts for one of the following three directions of product typologies:

  1. A set of ceramic tableware
  2. A series of planters & sinks
  3. Ceramic tiles.

Projects that are marketable and produceable in series are encouraged - there is the possibility of commercializing the designs after the completion of the programme.

Programme outline: 

01.07 – 15.08.2024 Open Call: Deadline 15.08.2024 at 23:59 (CET).
15.08 – 30.08.2024  Selection: Two design studios are chosen by the selection committee 
September-October 2024  Introduction:

The programme officially starts for the selected designers with online introduction meetings with the different programme actors.

04.11 – 24.11.2024 Immersion and Design Phase:

The designers travel to Japan and spend three weeks in Tajimi at the workshop of Tajimi Custom Tiles and collaborating manufacturers, with the aim to research and study materials, production processes, develop conclusive design concepts for their product typology, create respective samples and mock-ups.

December 2024 -May 2025  Prototyping phase:

Prototyping phase: Based on the selected designs developed in Tajimi, prototypes are produced by the manufacturer.

June 2025 or tbd Exhibition phase:

The designers return to Japan to present their objects in a dedicated exhibition in Tokyo (tbc).

For Whom

Emerging talents -  they are considered those professional designers who were trained in a design-relevant field or who registered (as self-employed, a sole proprietorship or company) less than seven years ago.

Selection criteria: 
  1. Substantial interest in the subject, connection with the material, the local industry, intercultural exchange and Japanese culture & crafts
  2. Experience in international environments (work experience abroad, internships, research trips, etc.)
  3. Portfolio with projects with a high degree of innovation, marketability and sustainable thinking
  4. Experience with ceramics is advantageous, but not mandatory

In addition to these specific criteria, the general requirements apply:

Financial contribution:

CHF 6’000.- for travel and accommodation for both trips. An accommodation option will be suggested in Tajimi for the Immersion & Design Phase.

Content of Application:  
  1. Motivation letter describing the reasons why you would like to participate in this programme, including how it would affect your practice and which of the three typologies of object would you be interested to explore. 
  2. Portfolio  
  3. CV incl. training, nationality and/or residency status 

Your application has to be sent by email latest by Thursday 15 August 2024, 23:59 pm (CET) to

Contact: In case of any questions, please contact either Marie Mayoly ( or Jonas Pulver (