japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — April 2010

Denden by Masahiro Minami

click images to enlarge  | above courtesy of masahiro minami

One of the centerpieces of my imagination as a child were Denden. The curiosity they would provoke, as they oozed up the side of a wall leaving a sparkling layer of slime behind them, tickled every developing sense I had.  They followed rainfall like rats followed the pied piper, never once disappointing my expectations, which – admittedly – more often than not ended tragically for the snail.

Denden is also the name given to these beautiful wooden hooks that mimic the wall-climbing motion of their model. Having a hole and a hook is such a great idea, and would work in any kids room. It was designed by Masahiro Minami and made from all-natural Beech wood.

The word denden originated from one of many games children would play with snails in which, essentially, kids would shout “derodero” (meaning come out, come out) in hopes that the snail would poke its feelers, and then its head, out.

By the way, next week is children’s day. To commemorate, they are taking 20% off, which gets you to 2,879 yen.

April 30, 2010   Comments Off

Aya Koizumi | Artist

“The inside of a scab” (2008) – click images to enlarge

Meet Aya Koizumi, a 29-year old sculptor with a vast portfolio of intricate, intimate installations (try saying that 3 times fast). Up until now she has remained largely under the radar due, primarily, to the fact that, up until last week, she didn’t have a website. But now that has changed and her curious creations have been opened up for all to admire.

“Room next to mine” (2009)

Aya Koizumi received her BFA in Scenography, Display and fashion design from Musabi. Upon graduation she immediately began showing her work, beginning with Gallery Tsubaki. She continues to actively exhibit in galleries across Japan.

“My home” (2003)

There is something very nostalgic about her work, and the titles of her work. Perhaps as children we dreamed up the abstract ideas that Koizumi has so eloquently translated. Her work conveys a certain sadistic warmth, a combination that perhaps only exists within the innocence of a child.

“Device to catch a bird” and “Device to catch a closed idea” (1994)

April 29, 2010   3 Comments

TUNEMOUNT | Bicycle mount for your iPod

Continuing on my search for iPhone accessories, I came across this neato bicycle mount (3,480 yen) that was designed by Focal, a Japanese company specializing in accessories of iPhones, iPads, etc. Now I can use my iPhone as a navigation device even on my bicycle! Apparently it was just released this week.

This took the wind out of my sails a bit, but I found it hard to believe that this kind of product wasn’t in existence. And sure enough, amazon has it for just $7.43

April 28, 2010   Comments Off

2501 by Sekino Architects

click images to enlarge

Last month Akiko Sekino, of Sekino Architects, launched their website. And although they currently have only one project showcased.

I love the luxurious use of space and volume.

You know what? There are too many images…
more after the jump [

April 26, 2010   2 Comments

Food for thought | intelligent design

A professor of design once explained to me that bananas are the most sophisticatedly designed fruit, for the following 3 reasons:
1) knob at the top and directional fibers for maximum peeling ease
2) skin acts as a glove so hands never need to touch the fruit
3) no seeds
It’s a design that screams “eat me!!”

Have a nice weekend.

via masahiro minami

April 23, 2010   10 Comments

Konica Minolta Art and Eco Awards 2010

click images to enlarge |  tree page marker by megumi takagi

Happy Earth Day! …what? You say that was yesterday? But every day is earth day, right? Ok, I’m just trying to make up an excuse for not posting this yesterday, which was my original intent. I wanted to share some work from the recent Konica Minolta Art and Eco Awards. I briefly covered this last year, but decided to pay more attention to it this year. And I apologize for the lack of consistency in images but they were scarce and I had to dig them up from multiple sources.

The first place prize went to Remo-Kuma, a polar bear that controls the use of electricity in a household. Created by Shozo Kuze and Mariko Sakamoto, the polar bear responds to head petting, back rubs and butt pats. Check out the cute video below!

Although they lost out, I was fascinated by some of the other entries such as this Knot chair by Miyashita Tomoya. It can be configured to accommodate almost any kind of position.

Image courtesy of legiter

One of the most gorgeous entries, in my opinion – hence the numerous images – were these Tree Page-markers by Megumi Takahashi, an editorial designer. They function almost identically with those grass pagemarkers except these, as curiosity mounts in a certain book, a forest grows, rather than a yard of grass.

Images courtesy of tsui design

The markers depict several varieties of trees and each blade of paper is made from its respective tree. Lovely.

One other piece that caught my eye was Icicle by Fujita Manabu and Takuma Yamamoto, of design unit PLUS. It was made from thow-away straws that are plentiful in any fast-food joint.

Image courtesy of mycom journal

April 23, 2010   Comments Off

iStand – an overgrown protruding wart for your iPhone

Now that I may finally be getting an iPhone, I’ve been constantly looking at peripherals to compliment it. This iStand (630 yen), from IDEA Lable looks interesting.

The suction cup protrusion, which I can’t help perceiving as a large wart, is a simple way to keep your iPhone – or any other similar device – upright. It could also be useful when taking pictures, or as a fortified grip.

April 21, 2010   1 Comment

Bloccon watering can

IDEA International, under their in-house design brand Idea Label, will release Bloccon, a  colorful and compact watering can next month.

A portmanteau of the words “block” and “icon,” Bloccon was actually a runner-up in their id design awards. Although, in the end, it lost out, a review of the entries triggered a renewed interest in the design, which will hit stores on May 6th and retail for 945 yen.

I love the idea of a rectangular shaped watering can. Although difficult to clean, it would probably fit right into a book shelf!

via Nikkei Design


April 20, 2010   Comments Off

My Famicase Exhibition

Gamers listen up! Beginning May 1st and running through the end of the month, My Famicase Exhibition will return for it’s 3rd year. The exhibition, which was open to everyone from designers and illustrators to housewives and businessmen, invites you to relive your childhood by designing your very own Famicom game label.

Last year’s entries included some humorous titles (see below). And with some pretty well known illustrators joining the mix, such as Yukiko Yokoo – who created the characters for Mizuiro Blood and Taiko no Tatsujin – this year probably won’t dissapoint.

above: from 2009, a game title that reads “Oh, how nostalgic.”

Also participating are Adrien Dufond, flocke design, Tokyo Pistol and Nozomu Furuya. The show will once again be held at Meteor in my home town of Kichijoji! (Gmap)


April 20, 2010   1 Comment

Seasons by Nao Tamura wins the Salone Satellite Award

click images to enlarge

Seasons, a functional kitchen and serving ware designed by Nao Tamura, has won the Salone Satellite Award at Milan Design Week 2010.

The plates are inspired by Japanese customary traditions of using leaves as decorateive objects in the presentation of food. In the Spring, cherry tree leaves are used to wrap sweets. In Autunm, fallen folliage is used to decorate the table. Leaves are also used as dividers when presenting an assortment of dishes.

image courtesy of designboom

Snow Magazine via Designboom


April 19, 2010   2 Comments