japanese art, design and culture
Spoon-Tamago

Posts from — December 2010

ie-tag by Naruse Inokuma Architects

A fascinating exercise in the visualization of memory and time in product design.

Ie-Tag (House-Tag) was part of the exhibition, “Earth: materials for design,” which took place at the Miraikan in Tokyo over the summer. The post-its, created by Naruse Inokuma Architects, are made from the recycled wood of homes and buildings that were torn down. Once used as the material of a home, the wood was recycled into stationary, maintaining it’s original shape but in completely different form.


click images to enlarge

They are apparently in negotiations now to commercialize the product and are shooting to get it on shelves by sometime next year.

Related:

December 22, 2010   1 Comment

Yukihiro Kaneuchi’s Tiny Landscapes In The Coffee Cup

Japanese designer Yukihiro Kaneuchi’s latest design is a ceramic cup that comes with pre-coffee-stains of graphic quality. It’s actually an interesting meditation on the passage of time as layers of coffee slowly distort the original image.


click images to enlarge

Tiny Landscapes In The Coffee Cup (Juy 2010) can be purchased for 25 EUR.

via Design Milk (thanks Paulene!)

December 21, 2010   Comments Off

Louis Vuitton Tokyo City Guide

Louie Vuitton has released a 2nd edition of their series of 11 city guides ($34 each) including 2 of my favorite cities, Tokyo and New York. The 2011 version is updated with hotels, bistros, museums, fashion boutiques and other notable locations as seen through the LV lens. It’s an acceptable, yet obviously much inferior, alternative to our Tokyo Design Guide.

December 21, 2010   Comments Off

House In Ookayama by Torafu Architects


photos by Daici Ano | click to enlarge

Working within the confines of an extremely narrow site, and within the guidelines imposed by regulatory restrictions, Torafu Architects were forced to come up with some creative solutions to design a functional yet lofty space.

more after the jump
[Read more →]

December 20, 2010   Comments Off

Spoon & Tamago 2010 year in review

I’ll be heading to Japan shortly so expect posts on S&T to slow down as we enter the holiday season. And by slow down, I mean, come to a grinding halt. I’ll be in touch on twitter, but with a wedding to attend, family to visit with, good food to enjoy, onsen to relax in, and all with 2 jet-lagged children, I doubt there will be much time for blogging. 2010 has been a really fun year and I’ve enjoyed having you all as an audience. Happy Holidays and all the best in the new year!

Here are our most popular posts of 2010:

A Room in the Glass Globe by Hideyuki Nakayama
Hideyuki Nakayama’s interior-reflecting doorknob captured the hearts of everyone (including a few serial killers and pervs).

Mast Humidifier by Shin Okada
Shin Okada’s hinoki humidifier seems to be the perfect solution for cold, dry winters.

Student Work | Kyoto University of Art and Design
There is a lot of up-and-coming talent, as evidenced by the amazing work showcased by the students of Kyoto University Art and Design. Professionals, beware.

Wipe Shirt by design unit FIFT
Design unit FIFT’s button-down with built-in microfiber is high-fashion with just a hint of geek.

Green Marker | Yuruliku
Those who have not yet migrated fully to eBooks appreciated Yuruliku’s book weeds. The grass-shaped post-its serve as page markers and the accumulation of  interest or curiosity creates a blossoming tuft of grass.


December 14, 2010   3 Comments

Tetorigarden by Case-Real


Photos by Shiraki Yoshikazu | click to enlarge

Tetorigarden is a hair salon in Kumamoto that was completed this fall by Koichi Futatsumata of architectural studio Case-Real. I love the use of wood and how the architect incorporated the design into the concrete building.

The salon is situated next to a path leading up to a Shinto shrine and I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the architecture of the salon and the path leading up to the shrine.

Typically the function of the pathway is to provide a time and space for visitors to clear their minds and prepare for worship. And without assigning too much value to the act of grooming, following the structure of the shrine, there is a deliberate separation between the entrance of the salon and the actual space where the transformation is set to occur.


December 13, 2010   Comments Off

SOUR new music video directed by Masashi Kawamura

Japanese band SOUR and director Masashi Kawamura have just released their latest music video titled “Mirror.” After a successful kickstarter campaign to fund the programming-intensive video, a few months of teaser tweets and several hours of technical delays, the video went live yesterday and, in my opinion, did not under-deliver.

SOUR - mirror screenshots (2)screenshots | click to enlarge

SOUR - mirror screenshots (3)

The highly participatory video prompts users to connect via twitter, facebook, webcam, or any combination of the 3 (but you don’t have to). And without giving too much away, the video quickly whisks you away to a world of sound, visuals, multiple browser windows, social networking, global mapping and overall interconnectivity. It’s truly quite a unique experience and I would recommend you try it out. But if you don’t want to wait for it to load (I had to wait a good 5-minutes) there is also a non-connected youtube video you can watch below.

SOUR rose  to Internet (more specifically, YouTube) stardom last year with their low-budget, high-impact music video “Hibi no Neiro” (3mm + hits and counting!) which was made simply from global fans and their webcams. The video went on to win several awards including Best Animated Music Video at Animanima Film Festival and the 2009 YoutTube Video Awards in Japan. Masashi Kawamura, who has worked with SOUR on almost all their videos, is a senior art director at BBH in New York. Some of his side projects include NHK’s highly acclaimed PythagoraSwitch, and some of my personal favorites, Calculation in Motion and Rainbow in Your Hand.

SOUR - mirror screenshots

December 10, 2010   Comments Off

CLASKA | TOKYO BY TOKYO iPhone App

CLASKA hotel has just launched an iPhone app version ($2.99) of their bilingual Tokyo guide book. If you’re not familiar with the original analog version, the guidebook tapped into the collective knowledge of the Tokyo creative scene by interviewing over 60 “savvy Tokyoites” for their favorite local destination.

Contributors include Masamichi Katayama (Wonderwall), Akira Minagawa (mina perhonen), Hideki Inaba (graphic designer) and Marxy (neojaponisme)

I actually just tried out the app and loved it! Very easy to navigate the app itself, and all the different locations, which can be accessed via map (which makes it easy to identify nearby locations), or by contributor. I also like the bookmarking feature so that you can remember any locations that peaked your interest.

Related:

TOKYO BY TOKYO iPhone App

CLASKA hotel has just launched an iPhone app version of their bilingual Tokyo guide book. If you’re not familiar with the original analog version, the guidebook tapped into the collective knowledge of the Tokyo creative scene by interviewing over 60 “savvy Tokyoites” for their favorite local destination.

Contributors include Masamichi Katayama (Wonderwall), Akira Minagawa (mina perhonen), Hideki Inaba and Marxy (neojaponisme)

I actually just tried out the app and loved it! Very easy to navigate the app itself, and all the different locations, which can be accessed via map (which makes it easy to identify nearby locations), or by contributor. I also like the bookmarking feature so that you can remember any locations that peaked your interest.

December 8, 2010   1 Comment

Pick A Jewel by fift


click image to enlarge

Remember as a child, walking through the wilderness, you would find some astonishing artifact that blew your mind? Whether you had found a leaf in its stunning transformation from green to red, or a berry whose shape and form convinced you that there wasn’t any other like it on the planet, these objects became our treasure; treasure that could not be assigned any monetary value.

Pick A Jewel, one of the latest creations to come out of design unit fift (husband and wife design-duo Katsunari and Asami Igarashi) is an attempt to revive that childhood notion that the most valuable jewels are the ones we find; the ones that carry sentimental value.

You can buy it as a necklace or as earrings, both which go for 2800 yen. If you live overseas you can request a purchase.

December 7, 2010   1 Comment

Consider One’s Place | the ultimate productivity desk

Where do go when you really want to get work done? This is one of the questions posed in Jason Fried’s TED talk in which he outlines the prime culprits of the impoverished office. In essence, the problem is one of uninterrupted streams of concentration, or lack thereof, and how to create a more productive work environment. One such solution, if you are a writer, is to use Information Architect’s brilliant iPad app writer. The app offers a simple and elegant function known as “Focus Mode,” in effect, removing all the auto-correct, toolbars and scrolling, which otherwise cause distractions.

The limitations of the app are that 1) you have to own an iPad (although they are developing it for other platforms) and 2) your profession must be largely dependent on the act of writing. So how do we take Information Architect’s concepts of uninterrupted focus and expand them to other realms?

Japanese creative office fift – you may remember them from their shirt with built-in microfiber cloth for wiping down glasses or cell phones – have proposed a solution that I can only describe by using the age-old idiom: just crazy enough to work.


click images to enlarge

It’s a ladder. Yes, a ladder…. with a seat and laptop holder at the top. “Consider One’s Place” is a quite literal answer to a conceptual meditation on the proper place for something, whether it’s a human, an object or a phenomenon. The ladder creates an invisible partition, removing  one from the eye-level of others and creating distance – in effect,  seclusion – within a defined space.

But what I think is brilliant about this piece of furniture (yes, let’s call it furniture) is the investment one must make to sit down and begin working. Once you have climbed up those precarious steps, it’s going to take more than a text message or a that cup of coffee to get you to come down from your perch.

Beautifully crafted in Japan, and made from solid oak (as well as a touch of fabric and urethane foam for comfort), “Consider One’s Place” is set to go on sale for 160,000 yen (about US $2000) at the online store novelax. Not to undermine the designer’s work but rather to preempt any predictable sarcastic comments, yes, I suppose you could also build your own.

December 6, 2010   Comments Off