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Friday 16th December 2016


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The British Institute of Interior Design, BIID is celebrating a successful trade visit to Japan, organised with help of the UK Department for International Trade. Led by BIID member Noriko Sawayama and in collaboration with the British Embassy in Japan, a number of BIID members, including BIID President Susie Rumbold, travelled to Japan on a two-week mission to help export British design skills and knowledge, and promote the value of the BIID and its members abroad.  

New Development Opportunity

The next four years see Japan hosting a number of international sporting events, including the Rugby World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, bringing with it a surge in visitors to the country. Japan’s inbound tourism has already doubled over the past four years and is expected to double again by 2020. In preparation for this influx of tourists, Japan is in the midst of a significant hotel development boom across the country, bringing vast opportunities for BIID members to be involved in these exciting hospitality projects. 

According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), design is the UK’s largest and most successful export. In response to the strong demand for UK interior designers, a group of BIID members, including BIID President, Susie Rumbold and BIID Past President Daniel Hopwood, embarked on a two-week trade mission to Japan, setting off on 26th October 2016. Known for its high professional standards and creative expertise in interior design, not just in the United Kingdom but internationally, the BIID were invited to speak in front of several large audiences of hoteliers and developers about UK design for the hospitality sector. 

 “The tour provided an ideal platform for the BIID to promote British design talent and highlight the possibilities for collaboration between designers in Japan and the UK. There are hugely exciting opportunities in Japan at present for the UK design community”, comments Susie Rumbold, President of the BIID. “One of the great benefits of being a BIID member is being able to showcase your professional expertise internationally and to form relationships with both BIID members and potential clients across the world. Visiting Japan provided real creative inspiration, as well as being a valuable professional networking opportunity.”

Tour Highlights

As well as presenting to hoteliers and property developers, the BIID also visited a number of universities and design shows across the country, including JAPANTEX, IFFT, Tohoku Bunka Gakuen University and Kyoto Sika University, to promote British interior design, the benefits of the BIID and what it can offer overseas members. 

BIID members also benefited from a fascinating cultural tour, visiting historic and modern architectural highlights and learning about traditional Japanese crafts and skills, including authentic Kyo-yuzen dyeing, one of Japan’s best known dyeing techniques. On 6th November, members participated in a full-day workshop in Kyoto where they created traditional Japanese paper, visited an exhibition to celebrate the 300th Birthday of Jakuchu Ito; one of Japan’s most renowned artists, learnt about Nishijin Brocade, Japan’s famous and richly decorative shuttle-woven fabric produced in Kyoto’s Nishijin district, and tasted Japanese delicacies.    

The BIID currently has 30 Japanese members with several other members working on projects based in Japan. The Institute is expecting this to grow over the next four years.  

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