Posts Tagged ‘design’

DesignTide Tokyo 2011

Friday, November 4th, 2011

As it does annually DesignTide Tokyo gave us a peek at prototypes, celebrated innovation and showed us how elegant ideas are worth their weight in gold.

Click on the thumbnails below to see what turned our heads.

Photos by Mio Yamada

Pulp it up: new directions for paper design

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Last month Kamigu, an online store selling creative paper products, opened its virtual doors for business. Paper vases, dioramas, wall hooks, coasters, figurines and packaging all created by Japanese designers are on sale. Providing a platform for designers to get their work out there in the world, Kamigu is making high design affordable and accessible.

Small world: One of Naoki Terada's paper dioramas, available on Kamigu

We were particularly enchanted with the Architecture Model Series, designed by architect Naoki Terada, which are 1/100th scale dioramas of typically Japanese scenes like cherry blossom picnics, construction sites or Tokyo streets.

Of course beautiful paper art is nothing new to Japan. This is the birthplace of  washi and origami after all, but there has recently been a resurgence of interest in the possibilities of paper. Japanese designers, such as Shin Tanaka and Tetsuya Watabe (Kami Model), have enthusiastically taken part in the global paper toy movement, and we feel Kamigu is just the next step along that journey.

Cheap to produce and ship, paper designs are the perfect medium for creators who want to play around with new ideas. Take the Nanibird, an avian paper toy template from Japan-based illustrator Josh McKible. On the Nanibird web nest, designers working within the parameters of Creative Commons showcase their original versions of this “Urban Paper” creation, and most of the designs are free to download so you can assemble your very own Nanibird.

Fans of origami might also want to check out the work of German artist Anja Markiewicz, who has been creating what she calls “Nano Origami” from teensy pieces of paper. Created using a toothpick and a lot of patience, she then encases her work in plastic orbs that can be worn as jewelry.

Those with an interest in paper arts can also visit the Paper Museum in Tokyo’s Kita Ward. The museum’s permanent collection houses over 40,000 paper-related items and visitors can find out about washi as well as modern paper-making techniques there. They even have a paper-making workshop on Saturdays.

What rolled in with the DesignTide

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

DesignTide exhibition and market opened for business last Saturday and we went along Monday to check out the sleek and sexy new objects on show at Tokyo Midtown.

The or-ita allows you to easily fold corrugated cardboard

The or-ita allows you to easily fold corrugated cardboard

At the top of our wish list was the or-ita by Makoto Orisaki/inter_works Lab.’s, an awesome tool that allows you to cut into corrugated cardboard and form creases that then enable you to mold the cardboard into interesting shapes.

folding-stuff

Naoki Kawamoto’s Orishiki and Mic*Itaya’s lamps

Still on a folding tip, Naoki Kawamoto’s cool Orishiki, which unfold and easily fold back into solid containers. I tried out the glasses case and it proved surprisingly easy to manipulate despite its complex look.

Folds surfaced yet again with Mic*Itaya updated versions of traditional Japanese lamp designs (above right). The lamps not only look modern but also are designed to switch themselves off and on again when you clap your hands. (Well, they’re designed to do that, but in reality this function only worked sporadically.)

Daisuke Motogi's Lost in Sofa and Yuki Yamamoto's ReLine chair

Daisuke Motogi’s Lost in Sofa and Yuki Yamamoto’s ReLine chair

Tou's glove scarf

Tou’s glove scarf

In terms of furniture, Daisuke Motogi‘s Lost in Sofa got our vote for the most innovative concept. The sofa’s rather suggestive tag line is “anything can be inserted anywhere,” and as you can see from the photo, that’s true!

We also liked Yuki Yamamoto’s ReLine series of chairs, which are designed to physically represent mathmatical formulas when viewed in profile. Made from tubing normally used for medical purposes, they’re also super comfortable.

Lastly, Tou’s lovely knitwear (right), on sale at the Design Market near the exit, caught our eye. Humorous and trendy, we liked the long hand scarf pictured but the arrow design was also a bit hit.

Superlative design blows into Tokyo

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Unlike the grey pre-typhoon skies, Tokyo Design week was decked out in a cheerful bright blue hue

Unlike the gray pre-typhoon skies, Tokyo Designers Week was decked out in a cheerful bright blue hue

Celebrating its 25th year, Tokyo Designers Week kicked off last Friday. The theme this year was “Environment,” which seemed a bit of a cheat since last year took an ecological theme as well. However, the color chosen to represent the show changed from green to blue – which was  a good thing because unlike last year, the skies were a gloomy shade of grey. The blurb on the website stated: “The term ‘environment’ we regard is not just ecological environment concerning issues such as global warming but in a more collective means of ‘living environment’ including conditions of our mind and body to have affluent living.”

No, we didn’t really get it either, but at least the ideas on display stood on their own.

Field Four Design Office's Hanging Plants and Mie Matsubara's cardboard origami blinds

Field Four Design Office’s Hanging Plants and Mie Matsubara’s cardboard origami blinds

As with last year, there was a lot of cool shiny stuff on show for us to coo over.  We were especially impressed with designs that updated the traditional Japanese aesthetic, like Mie Matsubara‘s super groovy origami window blinds (shown above) that fold out gradually allowing you to regulate the amount of light you’d like in an a room. Both super-strong black cardboard and wood versions were on display, but surprisingly the cardboard looked like the least flimsy of the two. We also dug the hanging garden of tsuri-shinobu hanging plants (above), from Field Four Design Office, which had fluffy ferns growing out of the top of the traditional hanging moss ball.

Shimada Touki's crockery sets

Shimada Touki

Mossy stuff was seeping into other design booths too, and Shimada Touki’s lovely crockery sets, really stood out with lovely trailing ivy, flower and bird motifs painted on.

Kaito Ehara's folding table/Shinya Ito and Kaori Yamamoto's DND Mirror

Kaito Ehara’s folding table/Shinya Ito and Kaori Yamamoto’s DND Mirror

Ingenious ideas abounded but one of our favorites was Shinya Ito and Kaori Yamamoto’s DND (Do Not Disturb) Mirror. We also thought that Kaito Ehara’s folding table was a really elegant way to save space in the home.

Have fun on the spinny chairs or collect the specially designed WWF stamp.

Have fun on the spinny chairs or collect the specially designed WWF stamp.

The show continues until Nov. 3 and is well worth a visit, especially now that the typhoon has passed (the show had to be cancelled on Saturday due to extreme weather conditions). Obviously, this post doesn’t cover everything on display, but we will say that it would be a crime to miss playing around on the spinning top chairs in the entrance hall or the chance to collect the specially designed WWF stamps also laid out at the front of the tent exhibition area.  If you don’t make it to Meiji-Jingu there are countless stores around Tokyo celebrating good design, as well as affiliated events.

‘Prototype’ documents the birth of designers’ ideas

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Hironao Tsuboi's mutated light bulb at Prototype in Tokyo Midtown's Design Hub

Hironao Tsuboi’s mutated light bulb at Prototype in Tokyo Midtown’s Design Hub

Due to popular demand, Tokyo Midtown Design Hub’s third annual Prototype exhibition has been extended until Dec. 13. Prototype shows the work of Japanese creators – mostly architects, product designers and furniture designers – with a focus on the creative process and problems of turning an idea into an object. Each display has notes and sketches drawn directly onto the tables by the designers themselves, giving the viewer insight into  their creative process. This makes the show fun for both die-hard design followers and those with only a passing interest. The finished products are beautiful, to be sure, but just as interesting are the scrawled diagrams, and in some cases, the tools used to make the new products on display.

Personal favorites were Teruhiro Yanagihara’s polarized candle holder, Naoki Terada’s coded imunization kit and Ben Nagaoka’s “View Bench” (but we’re even bigger fans of what he and Point Design can do to a room, when given the chance).

Admission is free.

More information at the official Prototype site.

Tokyo Midtown Design Hub site

Kidrobots on the block at Tokyo Designers Week

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

If you’re into vinyl figurines, get yourself down to the gardens of Meiji Jingu Gaen  for Tokyo Designers Week’s 100% Design. Part of the container ground exhibition includes an exhibit of Kidrobot figures that have been customized by leading designers and creative types, including SU from Japanese hip hop group Rip Slyme and fashion designer Junko Koshino. Organized by Puma and in keeping with Tokyo Design Week’s green theme, the artists were asked to think about the words “green” and “Africa’” for inspiration.

Kidrobot dolls have been hugely popular across the globe since launching in 2002. The figures are now highly regarded as art works in their own right with 13 figures making up part of MoMA’s permanent collection.

If you fancy putting in a bid, visit Design Channel. Profits go to CARE charity in Lesotho, Africa, which helps farmers in the drought-stricken country make efficient use of water resources.

Showa Boys a go go

Friday, September 18th, 2009

"Tokyo 2016" by Tenan Ito, "Tanoshii Yonensei" (Happy 4th Year Student),  1961

“The Tokyo of 2061″ by Tenan Ito, “Tanoshii Yonensei” (Happy 4th Year Student), 1961

We generally are obsessed by the next shiny, shiny thing on the horizon, but “Showa Boys SF Guide,” a collection of 1950-1970 memorabilia, had us transfixed from the get-go. The modestly sized Yayoi Museum, nestled in the back streets of Nezu, has put together a terrific trip back to the future as imagined in Japan’s Show Era.

Need more proof of its brilliance? Click the thumbnails below or read the review of “Showa Boys SF Guide” on Japan Times Online.

The show closes soon, so hop in your personal air car, or strap on your jet pack, and whiz over to Nezu to see how we really are supposed to be living.

RSS

Recent Posts

  • Marketers capitalize on university entrance exam time

    This week there is something weighing heavy on the minds of many students who’d like to advance to college: the National Center Test for University Admissions. It’s being held Jan. 18-19. Those with their heart set on a particular school who don’t get a good enough score may choose to spend a year, or in [...]

  • Pulsations 1.13.14

    The first batch of Pulsations in 2014 features a twist on chopstick design, a spectacular holiday illumination in Osaka and more.

  • Feelin’ lucky? The highs and lows of ‘fukubukuro’

    Whether you count fukubukuro “lucky bags” as a thank-you to shoppers, a scheme to unload less popular merchandise at the end of the year or just a way to kick off the New Year’s sales, buying a mystery pile of stuff worth [hopefully far] more than the price tag is a tempting offer to many. [...]

  • Pulsations (12.6.13)

    This collection of Pulsations brings holiday cheer in bento form, a must-see project for font-lovers, a solo stop-motion animation effort and more!

  • Joysound’s top 10 karaoke songs of 2013

    Joysound karaoke announced their top songs of 2013! However, just because they’re popular does not mean they came out this year . . .

  • Tokyo Eggs Benedict Bingo

    Eggs Benedict with awesome bacon, with a near lack of eggs, with raw tuna! Wait, raw tuna?! We sample a handful of Tokyo’s Hollandaise sauces.

  • Pulsations (11.19.13)

    Fashion, art and snacktime collide in this collection of Pulsations! Plus: Doraemon makes his 3D film debut!

  • J-blip: Tsutaya launches one-stop ‘lifestyle’ bookshop

    Bookseller Tsutaya moves into the lifestyle business and gives consumer more ways to use T-points.

  • Autumn crop of pumpkin, purple potato and pear products

    The change of season prompts a change of snack flavorings – great for those with a pumpkin craving.

  • Tokyo Designers Week 2013

    This year’s Tokyo Designers Week gets its creative juices flowing with more markets, music and a festival vibe.

Our Users Say

  • More Than Red: Great photos. Thank you for sharing.
  • kenji: A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!
  • John Moore: I believed that blue, green, purple and black were inherently boy colors, while red, orange, yellow and...
  • deepak kumar: It is commom nature of guman being to play safe.
  • Janel: Not sure I could do the avocado before I read this. But it doesn’t really look too good on that burger!
Japan Times RSS Feed

RECENT JAPAN TIMES HEADLINES

  • No items