Cipango: Japan Reimagined

During Milan Design Week 2022, the Japanese design brand Ariake presented Cipango, set in a private residential apartment at Porta Venezia. Cipango was the name Marco Polo gave to Japan when he first learned of the existence of the country in the 13th century. The exhibition marked Ariakes debut at Milan design week and introduced their 2022 collection, made in Italy for the European market.

Located on one of the top floors, a simple elegant note with ‘Ariake’ told us to ring the bell. I really love, getting the opportunity to visit private residences in the heart of Milan and this was no exception. The apartment was recently redesigned by the Italian architect Francesco Rota and showcased new furniture designed by Inga Sempé, Norm Architects, Neri & Hu, Keiji Ashizawa, Zoë Mowat, Note Design Studio, Francesco Rota and Gabriel Tan.

I made lots of pictures of the exhibition which I still need to sort out and will keep for later and post them with some more detailed information about the brands and their design

Cipango: Japan Reimagined

The Cipango exhibition is curated by Hanna Nova Beatrice / The New Era together with Ariake creative director Gabriel Tan. They have invited a number of design studios and artists to be part of the exhibition, including handcrafted design collectibles brand Origin Made, American Ladies & Gentlemen Studio and Japanese sound artist Yasuharu Okochi. It also features work from Scandinavian studios Folkform and Cappelen Dimyr. The common denominator for all friends invited is an appreciation for craft and quality. All styled beautifully together by Norwegian-Italian duo Kråkvik & D‘Orazio!



Ariake is a furniture brand founded by Legnatec and Hirata Chair, two factories from the furniture producing town of Morodomi in Saga prefecture, Japan. Named after the Ariake Sea in Southern Japan, Ariake means daybreak in Japanese. It symbolizes a new chapter for the two factories as they embark on a collaboration with international designers for the global market.

The creation of the Ariake brand and furniture designs were done over two intensive workshops in Morodomi where furniture designers, art director, photographer and craftsmen did the same – we lived, worked and ate together over. Despite language barriers, the designers and craftsmen generated a collective energy and mutual trust that helped define the soul of the brand. This resulted in a collection of furniture that utilizes the best of hand and machine, inspired by the spirituality of Japanese culture and urban living contexts.


all images Ariake