japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — June 2009

design interview

I`m sorry that posting has been a little slow but I`ve been sick for the past couple days. In the meantime check out this interview I did for DavisonCreators. It was fun talking about growing up in Japan and my experiences that led up to the founding of Spoon & Tamago, something I don`t get to do on this blog. Read the full interview HERE.

June 30, 2009   2 Comments

Setouchi International Art Festival

A kind Gentleman from the Kagawa prefectural government in Japan emailed me the other day to tell me about their Setouchi International Art Festival in 2010. They’re accepting proposals through August 31st! If selected your work will be joined by the likes of French artist Christian Boltanski, Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, hermetic – yet renowned -  Japanese artist Shinro Ohtake (who’s major retrospective I was lucky enough to attend back in ’06), as well as some emerging artists such as Chiharu Shiota, who I wrote about HERE.

So enter your work in the festival and hopefully you will be able to take a trip down to Kagawa, home of some pretty great site-specific work such as Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin and Ando Tadao’s Chichu Art Museum!



June 25, 2009   3 Comments

Noriko Ambe

Japanese paper artist Noriko Ambe will be showing her fantastic terramorphic (is that a word?) topographic sculptures at Scai The Bathhouse Gallery in Tokyo beginning this Friday. Ambe goes about her work by making precise cut-outs in books, magazines and other forms of paper. In these selected works she uses a synthetic paper called YUPO, made of 100% recyclable materials. Fear not terra firma-friendly New Yorkers – Ambe will be showing at the 10th anniversary group show at Mixed Greens in Chelsea starting July 9th.

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If you find that this appeals to your senses you may consider picking up some topographically inspired stationary by Drill Design.


June 24, 2009   8 Comments

minä perhonen arkistot

Today’s interior inspiration comes from minä perhonen’s latest shop, arkistot, which opened its doors just a couple weeks ago in Kyoto. According to the website, arkistot means archival in Finnish, which sets the stage for their archival-themed clothing, accessories, and stationary. I especially like that shovel as coat hanger! It looks like something you would see in anthropologie.





June 23, 2009   4 Comments

Pop Cup Holders


This really made my Monday morning! Another find from my latest treasure trove, the Mitsubai Tokyo shop. The Pop Cup Holders fit around 205ml paper cups and even include a coaster! And the best thing is they’re made of cloth and wood so 100% reusable. How fun would these be for a home party , or around the office? They were designed by SALCO, a 2-person design team. Given the material they run a little pricey; about $12 each.

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June 22, 2009   Comments Off

DIY: honbachi book flowerpot

Got some books piling up in the corner just collecting dust? Turn them into flower pots! The honbachi, or book pot, was designed by graphic design agency Tokyo Pistol. I love how the moisture corrodes the pages and the book takes on a life of its own! You can also purchase one at Mitsubai Tokyo.
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book pot 3

June 19, 2009   8 Comments

Canvasworks by Noto Fusai


The multitalented husband-wife design duo Noto Fusai have released a new line of products titled Canvasworks. The idea was to create a canvas that was both decorative and functional. This is actually a very futuristic concept. Take for instance this combo (pictured above); instead of putting a clock, dresser, picture frames, tack board and plant in your bedroom you put a picture of said items and call it a day. I think that’s a really rad idea and would be interesting to explore further!

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You can purchase them at CIBONE, Mitsubai Tokyo or Novelax.


June 18, 2009   2 Comments

Michael Beirut on the design of currency


Renowned graphic designer Michael Beirut discusses the design of currency. The Japanese Yen seems to score some high marks, as opposed to the “inelegant and clumsy” design of recent US currency. He writes:

Japan’s banknotes begin with the same basic ingredients as western currency. But these elements come together in a way that suggests contemplative minimalism. The images help: the ¥5000 note features 19th century female novelist Ichiyo Higuchi on the front, and a field of irises on the reverse. The result is elegant and restrained.

For those of us familiar with the design Beirut doesn’t contribute anything new, but I do think he succinctly sums it up pretty well.

June 17, 2009   Comments Off

Dear sir, I like your mustache

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This is Baku Maeda, an artist based out of Hokkaido, Japan. His work involves highly imaginative doodles and illustrations that typically turn to nature and wildlife for inspiration. It’s actually consistent with my perception of  the lush – and sometimes harsh – Hokkaido environment.  He just finished up his first solo show in April at this rad looking ping-pong bar in Sapporo. I really like his work and hope to see more of him in the future!

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images courtesy of mosslinkage

Via an interview in mosslinkage

June 17, 2009   Comments Off

Kamon by Craig Anczelowitz

Designer Craig Anczelowitz just informed us that Kamon, his new series for Awagami, has been released. Kamon is the word for family crest in Japan. Kamon are typically stylized plants or animals that are contained within a circle. It’s also interesting to note, from a design perspective, that Kamon are all monotone. In fact, historically color holds little, if any, significance. Anyway, it’s a neat subject and it’s nice to see it revitalized in such a refined form.

photo courtesy of behance


June 16, 2009   Comments Off