Nippon Salone
Milano Expo

For Government of Japan

Experience Design, Curation

Milan, the city of design, hosted the World Expo in 2015. With the theme of "Feed the Earth, Energize Life," 140 countries and international organizations participated in the international expo, commonly known as Expo Milano. Not only the Expo site, where countries competed with each other for the most beautiful pavilions, but the entire city was bustling with activity, as if it were an event site.

In addition to the Japan Pavilion, Japan set up the "Japan Salone" in Palazzo Stelline, built in 1576. The Japan Salone was held to promote Japan to the general public and people involved in the food industry in Italy and neighboring countries in Europe, and to increase the presence of Japan by holding corporate advertisements, B to B business meetings, and B to C promotions, which cannot be held at the Expo site due to regulations.


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As the creative director of the Japan Salone, Konoe designed the logo "Nippon Salone," which is a combination of her own handwriting. In order to transform the entire venue into a commercial space with the theme of Japanese food culture, she installed a giant curtain of her own design at the entrance gate. In addition, a Japanese artist, who is internationally recognized for his installations using salt, curated the space in front of the entrance. The concept was to welcome the visitors to a large Japanese restaurant.

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The two things that greet customers in a Japanese restaurant are the noren (curtain), which acts as a boundary, and the heaped salt. The curtain is the first thing that customers touch when they enter the restaurant. I decided to have the customers enjoy the subtle color changes of the curtain, which is made of three layers, reminiscent of the sea. The salt is pure white and does not allow for impurity, purifying the customers and making them aware of the sacredness of the place where food is prepared and eaten.

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And the artist invited was Motoi Yamamoto, an installation artist who uses salt to create his works. Yamamoto is known for creating his works by drawing huge mazes and spiral patterns on the floor over a long period of time. On the last day of the exhibition, a project was carried out in which the works were destroyed together with the viewers, and the salt was returned to the sea. The Italians enjoyed the process of destroying the works.


Yamamoto was born in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1966 and graduated from Kanazawa College of Art in 1995. He lives and works in Kanazawa, and has been creating installations using "salt," which has the meaning of purification and cleansing, as a material throughout Japan, based on memories of his late sister. He has been showing his works at major museums in Japan and abroad, including MoMA PS1, the Hermitage Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.


In his opening speech at the "Nippon Salone", Mr. Yamamoto said, "Italian food is the foreign cuisine most often eaten by Japanese people, and recently Italians are also becoming more familiar with Japanese food. We are now in an age where we can have cultural exchange through food, which has become familiar to both sides. I hope that we can further deepen our understanding of each other. It may not be Marco Polo's Zipangu, but through Mr. Yamamoto's huge salt works, Italians must have discovered a new Japan.

A video explaining Mr. Yamamoto and his work was also produced and displayed in the exhibition hall.

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This creative direction was an opportunity for Chikamori, who was born into a family that has been in existence for more than 1,400 years and was familiar with Japanese culture, but grew up in Europe as a child, to fully demonstrate her childhood experience of "how to communicate Japan to foreigners in an easy-to-understand way. The Japan Salone was also an opportunity for her to fully demonstrate her childhood experience of "how to communicate Japan to foreigners in an easy-to-understand manner.

The Japan Salone was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Japan Tourism Agency, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), with the participation and cooperation of more than 50 companies, organizations, and local governments.

Working for the Japanese government was a very responsible mission, but it was a good experience for me to pursue how to express Japanese traditions beautifully and effectively in a commercial basis. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the people involved for this precious opportunity.

Reference: Motoi Yamamoto
Contemporary artist Motoi Yamamoto

Logo design by JC Spark & Dentsu

Creative Director & Calligraphy: Tadahiro Konoe

Client: Dentsu

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