MUJI has been in the homebuilding business for 15 years, unveiling a new prefabricated home roughly every 5 years. And their latest is unlike any home they’ve designed in the past. Their previous line-up, which consisted of 3 homes, were predominantly focused on urban living where space comes at a premium and the only reasonable solution is to build up. Yo no Ie, or Sun House, is the company’s first single-story home designed for suburban use.
Several words come to mind when we hear the word bank: old, cold, money, stress and fees, just to name a few. But the power of design was on full display last month when Higo Bank, a regional bank in Kyushu, opened its newest branch and completely transformed all our preconceptions of how a bank can make us feel.
How do you design an institution for early learning that fosters respect for nature and a deep sense of community? Just ask Hibino Sekkei; they’ve been thinking about it a lot. Lead architect Taku Hibino and his firm specialize in the design and construction of learning facilities for early education. And one of their latest works is a renovation project called YM Nursery, located in Tottori prefecture.
Toyota, one of the world’s largest car manufacturers, announced this week that they are going to bring their vision of the future, to reality. The auto giant is teaming up with Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG to design and build a “prototype city of the future” on the site of a former car factory located near the base of Mt. Fuji.
The artist Shohei creates dauntingly dense and bold ballpoint pen drawings. He happens to be the son of Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira, and goes only by his first name, perhaps as a way to escape the hegemony of his father’s shadow. Either way, he recently wrapped up a travelling exhibition of new works that was held in Melbourne, Hong Kong and then Tokyo.
As 2020 kicks off, the real countdown to Tokyo’s Summer Olympics begin. And the organizing committee isn’t wasting any time. Today, they unveiled a series of official Olympics and Paralympics posters designed by renown artists from both Japan and abroad.
Toshi is a Japanese office worker in his 20s who has a unique hobby: building miniature paper models of cities at a 1/2200 scale. He’s been posting his creations to his twitter account, but he just recently completed his most ambitious project to date: a miniature model of Shinjuku that was 4 years in the making.
Happy New Year of the rat! It’s the first zodiac animal in the cycle of twelve that happens to be kicking off the new decade so in many senses it feels like a new beginning. The rat is known for its ability to perpetuate offspring, so perhaps this will be the year that Japan’s low birthrate reverses. It was also known has a helper to the god of 5 grains, and is therefore associated with bountiful harvests.
It’s become a tradition here at Spoon & Tamago to share some of our favorite New Year’s cards and wishes from artists and designers, so prepare for an onslaught of rats, both big and small, cute and creepy. (and of course you can find our archives right here)
The tradition of bijinga (美人画, “beautiful person picture”) is said to have originated in Kyoto around the mid-Edo period as an art form that portrayed not only external beauty, but inner beauty. The style continued to evolve through the Meiji and Taisho periods of Japanese modernity but now, a group of young Kyoto-based painters are taking the genre and adding a fresh coat of paint. One of those is Kazuho Imaoka.
As we wind down our 12th (!) year of blogging, we embark on the annual exercise of ranking our most popular posts based on viewership. Ironically, these most-popular roundups are never very popular. But we enjoy reflecting on the past 12 months, if only for ourselves, so if you’ll indulge us again in this tradition of reviewing the stories that captivated our readers the most. Hopefully we’ve been able add a little bit of beauty and intrigue to your daily lives by delivering stories about Japan through an art & design lens.