A Japanese craftsman’s chopsticks for the physically challenged

miyabow chopsticks for physically challenged

miyabow chopsticks for physically challenged

Chopsticks are everywhere in Japan and Asian restaurants worldwide. But even though their design is as simple as it gets, not everyone is able to use this standardized tool. This led Fukui-based craftsman Katsuyuki Miyabo to start using his woodworking skills to help people suffering hand disabilities.

His chopsticks for the physically challenged are spring-operated and require minimal action to be used — their user simply presses on them to grab food, and they spring back in open position once the pressure is released. They also sport a custom-made, thick grip that lets its user get an intuitive, solid grip on the chopsticks.

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The Mobius Chair by Takeshi Miyakawa

Ever since German mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius identified the Mobius strip, its non-orientable property has presented itself as a muse for artists, architects and designers. From exhibitions to residential homes, the curious properties of the band has puzzled and inspired. But in it’s latest iteration, Brooklyn-based Japanese designer Takeshi Miyakawa has created “Mobius chair,” a seat made from a single, continuous band.

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A Look at Some of Japan’s Rising Graphic Design Stars

Each year the Japan Graphic Designers Association (or JAGDA) honors young, up-and-coming talent by recognizing 3 gifted designers. The award, which was established in 1983 highlights exceptional work in graphic design that has been created by designers 39 or younger. The 2014 awards were just announced so here’s a look at the winners:

Daijiro Ohara
is a 36-year old freelance designer creates book designs and logos that are heavily typographic and often employ experimental typefaces. In recent years he began to explore intersections between landscape and typography, which led him to work with photographer Takashi Honma (previously) . His series “Ryosen,” in which Ohara overlays typography and landscape photography, helped land him the spot this year.

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Tanima Diver | The Cleavage Diving Necklace by Takayuki Fukusawa

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The Japanese designer Takayuki Fukusawa established his design firm in 2012 with the objective of “making a world full of ‘humorous art & design’.” I want people to look at my work and think, “he made another ridiculous thing.” And he’s certainly accomplished that goal with Tanima Diver, his latest creation.

The series of necklaces features fearless divers and climbers that, when worn – presumably by large-breasted women – the figurines appear to be descending into the unknown depths of cleavage. There’s the salaryman diver, the skydiver, the astronaut, and the canyon climber.

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Adorable Characters Crafted From Recycled Japanese Cardboard Boxes

Takako Handa cardboard characters

Takako Handa cardboard charactersTakako Handa cardboard characters

The illustrator Takako Handa is usually busy creating logos and illustrations for a multitude of editorial publications. However, in her spare time she enjoys cutting up her old Japanese cardboard boxes – usually snack or stationary boxes – and transforming them into adorable, imaginary characters. Although the boxes are cut-up and reconfigured, Handa always makes a point of leaving something recognizable. Can you identify them all?

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A Grotesque Three-Dimensional Oral Alphabet by Takayuki Ogawa

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Oral Alphabet by Takayuki OgawaOral Alphabet by Takayuki Ogawa

Typography and illustration have long been combined to create humorous displays of expression. The French graphic designer Massin, for example, was well-known for his innovative experimentation with typographic forms that often involved animals. But in its latest, rather disturbing iteration, graphic designer Takayuki Ogawa has created “Oral:phabet,” a grotesque, three-dimensional typeface modeled after the mouth, frozen in time while enunciating each letter.

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Studio Visit With Model Maker and Special Effects Designer Makoto Aoki

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unless otherwise noted all photos by kaori sohma. Copyright Spoon & Tamago

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It was about 1 year ago that I found myself at a 4th of July party. It was, you might say, a most un-American party with platters of sushi, vinegar-seasoned rice, vegetables simmered in sweet soy sauce and a dizzying array of Japanese beers and sake. But the most memorable fixture was an elaborate nagashi-somen contraption. It had been fashioned out of several pieces of interlocking bamboo chutes that were cut in half to create aqueducts. A water pump allowed for a continuous flow, which, much like a water slide, carried cold noodles as they zipped through and down the bamboo chutes. (Here’s a photo of it I captured at the time)

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A Travel Library Designed to Inspire Wanderlust

wonderwall hyundai card travel library

If you live in Seoul and love to travel, consider yourself lucky. Japanese design firm Wonderwall just recently completed the Hyundai Card Travel Library. Centrally located in Gangnam, this “stock of curiosity” is a traveler’s dream come true: “a thick accumulation of information, experience, and objects” that includes a floor-to-ceiling bookcase with roughly 15,000 books dedicated to travel, architecture, and photography.

wonderwall hyundai card travel library

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Makoto Azuma Launches Bonsai Into Space

makoto-azuma-EXOBIOTANICA -BOTANICAL SPACE FLIGHT (1)

The botanical artist Makoto Azuma (previously) is no ordinary flower arranger. He’s sort of the rock star of the floral world. And I’m not just talking about that time he stomped all over hundreds of flowers during a musical performance. He’s also uprooted bonsai and suspended them in mid-air in a piece titled “Shiki.” Another time he stuffed flowers into glass jars and filled them with water like sardines.

But earlier this week Azuma took his avant-garde floral art a step further by launching his work into the stratosphere. Titled Exbiotanica, Azuma and his crew, along with help from JP Aerospace, launched “Shiki” (a Japanese white pine) and an untitled arrangement of flowers, into space using a helium balloon.

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a gigantic kaleidoscope within a shipping container by Masakazu Shirane

garden kaleidoscope by Masakazu Shirane

garden kaleidoscope by Masakazu Shirane

For the Kobe Biennial’s Art Container Contest, numerous designers were challenged to create an environment with the confines of a standard international shipping container. Designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki decided to create a gigantic kaleidoscope that people could walk inside and experience (sort of like the entrance to Tokyo Plaza).

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