Japan Notebook: Plastic Anniversary
Exhibition: Plastic's 100th Year Anniversary in Japan. Photo: Hiroshi Ota.
In 1907, Leo Baekeland developed Bakelite, the first thermoset plastic. In 1911, Sankyo Company offered the first commercially available Bakelite in Japan, and the Japanese plastics industry was officially launched. For the polymer's centennial anniversary, Sumitomo Bakelite Co.—inheritor of the patents from parent company Sankyo—sponsored an exhibit entitled "Plastic’s 100th Year Anniversary in Japan," which was held in Tokyo from December 22-25, 2011.
Architect and materials researcher Hiroshi Ota designed the exhibition in collaboration with curators Miki Fukuda and Yukiko Shikata, housing a collection of innovative plastic products and materials within a hexagonal plastic display structure with cells of varying scales. Although the exhibition only lasted four days, it received over 2,000 visitors—a testament to the continued adoration of polymers in this future-focused culture.