Booooon: When torn open the envelopes create trails of exhaust plumes
Tearable. Not, terrible.
These fun envelopes created by D-bros make opening your envelope just as fun as reading what’s inside. “Booooon!” (an onomatopoeia often used by children to imitate the sound of vehicles) is a set of 3 envelopes that come with illustrations of an automobile, locomotive and airplane. When torn open they create trails of exhaust plumes.
Chef and restaurateur René Redzepi has temporarily relocated himself and his entire staff to Japan. The highly acclaimed Noma restaurant has kicked off a two-month residency as Noma Japan and are serving diners from the 37th floor of the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo. Now, if was eating at a restaurant and there were ants on my food I would try not to shriek but I would definitely walk out, not pay and never eat there again. However, at Noma you pay for ants on your food. The first dish that’s served is shrimp with “flavors of the Nagano forest.” And we’re not talking leaves or tree bark. Food writer Robbie Swinnerton explains:
The magic kicks in from the very first course, jumbo shrimp served atop a platter of ice. They are superb, premium sashimi quality and so fresh they’re still dancing their final quivers. But it is the seasoning — “flavors of the Nagano forest” the menu calls it — that defines this dish. A dozen tiny wild black ants are carefully arranged on the shrimp, their little pinpricks of sharp acidity acting as a perfect accent for the sweet, pink flesh.
Shonan T-Site: the new retail complex designed by Klein Dytham Architects. Photos by Nacasa & Partners (click to enlarge)
In December of 2011 a new retail village quietly opened in the Daikanyama neighborhood of Tokyo. For all its might and glory, Daikanyama T-site surprised many because, in essence, it was a rejection of digital and a celebration of everything analog – books, magazines and curated retail shops. The big bet on books by media and entertainment giant Tsutaya, which operates the complex, seems to be paying off. Three years later the 2nd iteration, Shonan T-Site, has now opened and is ushering in a new demographic in an upcoming suburb about an hour South of Tokyo.
“Memento Mori” (2014) – Memento mori (Latin for ‘remember that you have to die) is the medieval Latin theory and practice of reflection on mortality
Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki carves life-size sculptures from wood, but with a twist of mortality and transience. The disturbing pieces hinge often hinge on grotesque as the combination of the bulging weight and density of wood heightens the certainty of death that looms over all his creations.
Chocolatexture: chocolates that represent Japanese onomatopoeic words to describe texture
There are many factors that determine our experience with chocolate: the type of cocoa, the percentage used, and the flavors. But when Maison et Objet, the pre-eminent design show in France, told Oki Sato that they were naming him Designer Of The Year and asked him to design a set of chocolates, he had to pause. The head of the Tokyo and Milan-based design studio Nendo needed to rethink the concept of chocolate.
When Takanobu Kishimoto visited a potential site for a home in Takasago City (Hyogo, Japan) he was struck by one memorable artifact: an old train car. Naturally, the architect inquired with his client about it and found out that it’s been sitting there for years. It was even once used as a community center and, even today, is fondly remembered by many old-timers.
Despite original plans to remove it and build on the site in its entirety, Kishimoto decided to propose a plan that incorporated the train car into his client’s new home.
“Five Sculptors” | all images courtesy hpgrp gallery
Wooden masks hang on the wall. Most resemble those used in noh plays but one is most certainly batman. A bronze helmet-like sculpture sits on the ground. A hermit crab has a brand-new, translucent shell that’s been 3D-printed to resemble a wedding chapel. Thoughts of ritual arise, and also of play. These are the enigmatic sculptures that capture a concise view of the current state of sculpture in Japan.
“Iced Flowers” | all photos courtesy Makoto Azuma (click to enlarge)
Over the weekend, a factory two hours North West of Tokyo, in a small town in Saitama, was converted into an art gallery. Botanical artist Azuma Makoto and his team were putting on an installation and, when they were done, 16 large blocks of ice stood, lined in columns of three on the concrete floors of the factory. It was like Stonehenge for the ice age. Within the shimmering blocks of ice were exotic flower bouquets, frozen in time.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas wearable technology was definitely one of the hottest trends. The majority of designs focused on watches and they ranged from the pretty to the ugly. But in the end, the award for best wearable technology went to Jins, and Japanese eyewear maker, and their Jins Meme smartglasses. Looking almost exactly like regular glasses seems to have gotten them a lot of points in the “socially acceptable” category (there’s no such thing – we made that up).
Observing that the Jack Russell Terrier is most happiest and most comfortable on its master’s clothes, Torafu Architects designed a piece of furniture for the dog. Making use of the scent on our old clothes, the architects created a wooden frame over which you could stretch on old t-shirt or sweatshirt to create Wanmock (wan is woof in Japanese): a hammock for your best friend. The elasticity of the fabric envelops the dog’s body as the smell and feeling of the fabric sets it at ease.