Masaaki Kanai

The International Friend of Habitare 2017 is The Chairman and Representative Director of MUJI Masaaki Kanai. In his keynote speech Mr. Kanai will discuss MUJI’s philosophy, its potential for growth, and the visions of better everyday life that are behind the success of the company.

Japanese lifestyle retailer MUJI is known around the world for its affordable, aesthetically minimalist and beautiful everyday objects, clothes, and home appliances, all of which are user-driven, and use high-quality materials and a streamlined manufacturing process. In Japan, MUJI has branched out into house concepts, selling prefab homes and renovating old apartment buildings.

Wed 13 Sept 2.30 pm
Keynote: International Friend of Habitare 2017, Masaaki Kanai



Jonathan Olivares

Jonathan Olivares  is based in Los Angeles and works in the fields of industrial, spatial and communication design. His designs engage a legacy of form and technology, and ask to be used rather than observed.

Olivares will discuss recent projects including  Olivares Aluminum Chair, for Knoll, the installation Room for a Daybed, the Aluminum Bench for Zahner, an office furniture showroom and learning environment for Vitra and the exhibition Source Material, curated with Jasper Morrison and Marco Velardi


Thu 14 Sept 3 pm
Keynote: Jonathan Olivares selected work



Harry Charrington

It’s difficult to imagine a time when Aalto was not famous. Professor and architect Harry Charrington will consider why Aalto Furniture was so successful in the UK, and how British consumption showed a demand for modern furniture that was inexpensive, elegant, flexible, durable, wooden, cosy, as well as visibly modern – not necessarily in that order.

Charrington will also show how this success – and the problems that came with it – led to the founding of Artek in 1935, as well as Aalto’s later global reputation.

Fri 15 Sept 1 pm
Keynote: Harry Charrington: Before the Myth, Aalto furniture in 1930s London



Marwa Al-Sabouni

Mostly in rubble now, Syrian cities will soon need reconstruction.  The reconstruction will decide the shape of future economy, social fabric, and most importantly stability of the war-torn country. Though on-ground examples; the talk will be addressing these issues and ask important question to this critical aftermath: What is the difference between building buildings and building homes? What kind of risks does the reconstruction face in post-civil war context? What should be the focus of reconstruction?

Fri 15 Sept 4 pm
Keynote: Marwa Al-Sabouni: The Backstage of reconstruction in Syria, a threshold between emergency and investment