japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — January 2010

Sandwich on Rye by Design Office Switch

Sandwich on Rye (3,000 yen) is a desktop accessory that takes its name from the versatile characteristics of, you guessed it, a sandwich. You can put whatever you like in-between. It’s the latest brainchild of Haruka Nakai of Design Office Switch.

January 28, 2010   1 Comment

Frames by Shigeki Fujishiro

Catching the wave from my last post I’m going to take the day to post about a few other accessories I’ve been eyeing lately. First up is Frames, a mobile made from hinoki, or Japanese cypress.

click images to enlarge

Taking its cue from the work of Alexander Calder, the minimalist/cubist structure uses transparent strings to create the illusion of levitation.  It also presents itself with a 2nd element of joy; the shadows it projects onto a wall. It was designed by Shigeki Fujishiro, who left the design firm IDEE in 2005 to start his own studio.

The mobile debuted in 2008 at an exhibition at Tortoise in LA. They then traveled back to Japan where they resided for 3 months at an exhibition at NACT (National Art Center Tokyo) in early 2009. And finally, after their long pilgrimage, they are available for purchase (36,750 yen) at Scope. You can even watch a small video here if you scroll down towards the bottom.

, who left the design firm IDEE in 2005 to start his own studio.

January 28, 2010   4 Comments

Awasefu Cacao Case by Rie Isono

Kid-friendly designer Rie Isono recently designed Awasefu Cacao (3,800 – 4,800 yen), a multi-pocket carrier to help keep moms, or anyone, really organized.
UPDATE: my bad. I thought it had multiple pockets but the designer pointed out that in fact it’s a single pocket carrier that comes in different sizes. Each size is designed for a specific purpose. I still think it’s neat.

Made out of awasefu, an artificial leather that is gentle on hands and small accessories, the holder takes its cue from the cocoa pod – before it’s processed into chocolate, of course – that houses all its little beans in different pockets.


January 27, 2010   Comments Off

Wasara has arrived!

A big surprise on my doorstep when I got home yesterday! My friends at Branch sent over a care package of the beautiful Wasara disposable tableware, fresh off the boat from Japan (read the story here). The actuals are even more stunning than they appeared on screen. My only dilemma now is, what kind of shindig do I need to throw to justify the usage of these beauties. Purchase Wasara HERE!

January 27, 2010   3 Comments

Watashi no Heya Ceramics

Whenever my wife and I go back to Japan we go binge shopping at, well, a number of stores, but one of them is Watashi no Heya. There are only 3 stores in Tokyo and one of them happens to be in Kichijoji. Their not-too-over-the-top Japanese style appeals to me and we always end up accumulating several pieces. However, when we are not able to go back we like to torture ourselves by canoodling with their online catalog. Last night we did just this and found ourselves drooling over their new line of kiddy ceramics, as well as some of their basics.

January 26, 2010   5 Comments

pers magazine

It’s no secret that one of the hardest hit industries last year were the magazines. No matter where you were, titles were dropping like flies amidst a hemorrhaging of advertisement budgets and consumer belt tightening. So who is going to fill the cultural void left by luminaries such as Studio Voice, asked many. Stepping up are Hiroki Shinkawa (of Shoten Kenchiku) and Taikyo Sakano (of Pen) who have teamed up to start pers, a new periodical focusing on Japanese architecture. Stunning design! Volume 0 (840 yen) is currently available at NADiff, Utrecht, and other artsy shmartsy bookstores.


January 25, 2010   4 Comments

work in progress | Tokyo Sky Tree

Thanks to @shintajiri (my old roomate) for pointing me towards this awe-inspiring shot of the Tokyo Sky Tree going up. I didn’t think places like this in Tokyo still existed.The Tokyo Sky Tree is on schedule to be completed in 2011.

Kind of related:

January 25, 2010   Comments Off

MS4D | Just Moved

click to enlarge

Architecture firm MS4D, led by Keiji Ashizawa and Katsuhiro Shimizu, created this awesome depiction of their new studio to tell people they had relocated. I’m totally snagging this idea.


January 25, 2010   2 Comments

Eco-Breathing Architecture | Shanghai EXPO’s Japan Pavilion

Earlier this week the 100-day mark was breached, counting down to the start of the 2010 Shanghai EXPO. Japan unveiled their pavilion awkwardly titled “Eco-Breathing Architecture.” I twittered about my dislike of the structure and received a bunch of feedback confirming that I was not alone in my thoughts. So I thought I would post the pictures here to see what others thought. In short, I think it looks like a blob of protoplasm, greedily consuming everything in its path. Not a very sustainable vision. More pictures over at Nikkei Kenplatz.(login required)

Images © JETRO

It was designed by Yutaka Hikosaka, of Space Incubator, an architectural and environmental design firm. He was responsible for the Nagakute Japan Pavilion (Aichi EXPO 2005) and the Dairinkai Water Fantasium (Osaka EXPO 1990).

January 22, 2010   2 Comments

Hammock | coming soon

In their first news item of 2010, Japanese furniture distributor E&Y posted this teaser image of a table designed by Koichi Futatsumata of Case-Real. The cat hammock doubles as a table because all us cat owners know our lives revolve around them. It will be available this Spring.

Ok, I can’t restrain myself any longer. CUTENESS!!!!

January 21, 2010   9 Comments