Design Festa Gallery
Harajuku: Art gallery
Design Festa Gallery: Harajuku
Harajuku / Art gallery
Open 11am-8pm daily.
Free admission
Average visit time: 15 minutes

Sprouting out of the backstreets of Harajuku like some bargain-basement Pompidou Centre is the Design Festa Gallery. If not Tokyo's most avant-garde art space, the gallery - an offshoot of Design Festa (Japan's biggest art and design event, held twice yearly at Tokyo Big Site and attracting over 40,000 visitors) - is certainly its most fun.

Several years ago, three local artists got together and began to re-invent the ancient apartments that now lie beneath the funky paintings, graffiti and mad scaffolding and traffic cones, swarming over the building's front like some alien metal creeper.

Inside, the art is no less eclectic, ranging from sculpture to photography to video installations. Even the toilet is plastered from floor to ceiling with artworks. Usuki Kunie, founder and director of the gallery, recalls one artist who repainted his display space every day for the duration of his showing.

The gallery welcomes all comers and there's no censorship policy - whatever you want to create, they will display. Behind the gallery area is an okonomiyaki restaurant and a cafe-bar, both run by Design Festa.

by Simon Richmond
Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 3-20-18.
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