japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — November 2007

NODE by Chiaki Murata


Check out the new prototype from Japanese product designer Chiaki Murata. Can you figure out what it is?
It’s actually an electrical outlet! By rethinking your conventional 2-hole outlet, the designer has created an aesthetically pleasing and functional new product that allows you to plug in appliances wherever you want (Horizontally, vertically, even diagonally)!!

Chiaki Murata is most known for these 2 highly acclaimed designs:

UZU is a cordless battery-operated vacuum cleaner (~$300)


hono.JPGHONO is an LED candle stick that can be used just like a candle, without the fire hazard. It comes with a special match that turns on the candle upon contact. It even goes out when you blow on it! (~$100)

Although in Japanese, all products can be purchased through his website!

November 30, 2007   1 Comment

Blatant Graffiti at Broadway and Lafayette

Earlier this week the Calvin Klein billboard in Manhattan (Broadway and Lafayette) got a big dose of pink paint.


But it was the next day that people really started to take notice. The pranksters had returned overnight with some more paint. They obviously must have felt that their work was unfinished.


It wasn’t until the 3rd day when the identity was revealed. A shape had emerged out of the paint and it was the silhouette of the New Museum that is poised to open this Saturday – December 1st!
The publicity stunt had been coordinated by the ad agency Droga5, with the permission of Calvin Klein of course.

Taking their cue from appropriation art (and artists such as the Chapman Brothers, Hans Haacke, Jeff Koons, etc.), in which the artist build on a previous work in the creation of a new work, Droga5 reinterpreted and remixed a visual ad from our pop culture and created something new. I thought that this process was very telling and appropriate in conveying what the New Museum is all about!

November 29, 2007   2 Comments


Have you heard of the Panopticons Project? Until the other day I hadn’t either! Well, a Panopticon means “a structure which creates a panoramic view.” It was an ambitious 4-year program of creative environmental art that consists of 4 artworks constructed at different scenic spots around East Lancashire Regional Park, UK. The project was sponsored by Mid Pennine Arts  and actually received a top award at art07, which took place last month! I think my favorite would have to be the “Singing Ringing Tree.”

 halo.jpg halo_night.jpg
(Photo courtesy of nwda.co.uk, panopticons.uk.net
Located in Rossendale, Halo is a steel sculpture propped up 5 meters above ground. At night the sculpture is illuminated, creating the perception of a halo hovering above the mountain. This was actually the last of the 4 works to be completed. It was unveiled in Sept. of ’07.

Singing Ringing Tree
(Photo courtesy of BBC)
Located in Burnley, the “Singing Ringing Tree” is made out of pipes that make music when the wind blows. Wow…what an awe-inspiring experience it must be to visit this site. Check out the YouTube footage HERE!

(Photo courtesy of panorama freedom)
Located in Pendle Atom, is  a unique, egg-shaped structure which can be a focal point from far away, but also functions as a shelter from which one can gaze at the landscape around them.

colourfields.jpg  colorfields.jpg
(Photos courtesy of BBC)
Located in Blackburne, “Colourfields” uses the base of the former battery, which housed two Russian cannons captured during the Crimean War. But the new site has been reworked and remixed to add new dimensions of space, height and color.

November 28, 2007   2 Comments

Rob Ryan Christmas Cards

FOR SOME UNCONVENTIONAL Christmas cards, check out UK-based paper artist Rob Ryan. You can purchase these delicate cutouts at his etsy shop.

brownladderkiss.jpg bellspark.jpg blueheartbell.jpg

I just recently discovered him because Japanese department store Daimaru invited him to design their show window for the holiday season! The display is going on through 12/25/07. (Photos courtesy of Rob Ryan)

window2bdisplay05.jpg window2bdisplay01.jpg

If you happen to be in Japan, you can also receive these shopping bags when you make a purchase at the department store.



November 27, 2007   1 Comment


ONE OF MY PERSONAL favorite designers, JACK SPADE, has teamed up with Tech-heavyweight Apple to create and Apple bag. Here is a quote from the website:

“The bag…features a removable padded laptop sleeve, an exterior zipper pocket for an iPod with a buttonhole loop for headphones, an exterior zipper pocket for an iPhone, an exterior magazine pocket…”
5 years ago I would have been rushing to the nearest apple store (because they are not being sold at Jack Spade’s store in SOHO), but today I was a bit disappointed. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has teamed up with apple, officially or unofficially, to create a product in hopes of somehow riding the iPod wave.

Conversely, I’ve always felt that the Jack Spade brand maintained an honorable obscurity; teaming up with underground designers and going against the mainstream grain. Well, I guess it was a good business move. You can read more HERE.

November 26, 2007   Comments Off


I recently came across this German website called Einzigart..The sad thing is I can’t read a word of German. But here at Spoon & Tamago we don’t believe in language barriers or any other form of border! With that I mind, I ventured forward and was actually rewarded with some spectacular finds. I just love the visual quality of some of these retro products.

This is one of the most stylish, well-packaged match boxes I’ve ever seen!
An advent calendar…

“Romeo and Juliet”…

…go nicely together with this illustration. Is it some sort of advertisement?

November 23, 2007   Comments Off

Floral Designer Emily Thompson

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! a special post for today…

LOOKING FOR AN UNTRADITIONAL wreath or flower decoration, or maybe just a little inspiration for the holidays? Turn to Brooklyn-based floral designer Emily Thompson. I came across here work recently and was enthralled. In all works of art I tend to favor the disheveled, the mysterious, and sometimes the out-of-this-world quality (some of the plants she uses really sound like they’re from another world!). Emily’s work shares some of those qualities, which is why I think they appeal to me so much. 

ramps, red currants

lady slipper, conch, plumosa fern

smokebush, roses, jasmine, scabiosa, viburnum

smilax, parrot tulips

November 22, 2007   Comments Off

Noa Bembibre’s 2008 Calendar

Spanish artist/graphic designer Noa Bembibre is back for a 3rd year with a 2008 calendar, available now! Not only is this an incredibly clever idea, the layout and typography is also fantastic.
I think the cover, “Cats Let Nothing Darken Their Roar” is my all time favorite. Email the artist if you would like to purchase a copy!


November 21, 2007   Comments Off

Dinner Party Ideas from Rockett St. George

ROCKETT ST. GEORGE, who I absolutely adore for some of their wallpaper, sent me an email about some new products just in time for dinner-party season. I’m always bored with the same old snowflake/reindeer designs so here are a few ideas that will give your party a unique twist.

Retro Mexican Corona Tray (£9.99)
A great contrarian approach to holiday partys would be to replace your wreath with this metallic tray and serve it up with some corona beer, rather than champagne! 

Champagne Glass Candle Sticks (£17.50)
While you’re busy inverting coronas for champagne (as suggested above), invert the glasses as well to create some unique ambiance.

Frozen Shot Glasses (£9.99)
Inspired by the Nordic Ice Hotel Bar, you are actually purchasing a silicone mold of 4 cups which you fill with your choice of liquid and freeze.

November 20, 2007   2 Comments

WOGG by Jorg Boner

I’M A NEW FAN of German designer Jorg Boner. Graduating in 1996, the designer founded his company in 2001 and has ever since been creating furniture and spaces with an emphasis on context, and how that space or product interacts with it’s surroundings. Although they have many many great products, I was immediately drawn to the Wogg table and chair (manufactured by Wogg). There is something about the simple yet unique designs that really make you want to interact with these pieces!



As you can see, The wogg 42 Chair and woog 43 Table were designed together. They were made out of the same wood, and compliment each other by mirroring their lines and curves.


November 19, 2007   Comments Off