japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — December 2010

Balloon Bench by Satoshi Itasaka of h220430

My kids would undoubtedly explode if they saw this Balloon Bench! Inspired by of the 1953 French film Le Ballon Rouge, the bench was intended to put a smile on the face of anyone who interacted with it, much in the same way the movie but a smile on the designer’s face. Mission accomplished!
(In case you were wondering, the illusion is created by sculptural balloons that are actually mounted to a ceiling.)

It was a designed by Satoshi Itasaka of H220430. It’s an odd name for a design-duo, until you realize it stands for the date of their inception – Heisei 22 (2010) April, 30.

via gizmodo

December 4, 2010   Comments Off

Tile Cowpet by Studio Note

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Norihiko Terayama, the man behind Studio Note, has unveiled his latest creation: Tile Cowpet.

The concept is really quite simple. We use tiles and carpets to cover surfaces of our homes, right? Carpets provide warmth and texture to our rooms while tiles offer durability and protection.

The innocent question, “so why not combine them,” led to the eventual development of Cowpet, a cowhide rug inserted into acrylic tiles. I love how the presence of the rug seeps out through the spaces between the tiles; slight evidence of its original form.

Photos: Kentaro Amatatsu | Model: Kyoko Takemura


December 3, 2010   Comments Off

Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Awards | Takagi Yoshichika Architects

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I was very excited to hear that one of my favorite homes of 2010, Takagi Yoshichika and Sekkei-Sha’s House K, had placed in The Architectural Review’s Emerging Architecture Awards. Personally, I think they should have won but instead took runner up. The coveted top nod went to a different Japanese architect, a Londoner and a Chinese firm.

Constructed in early 2010 – and subsequently making the rounds on many design blogs -  House K is a magnificent structure that embodies everything I could ever want in a home. It’s warm, wooden and structurally stimulating. It’s located in Hokkaido, the “snow country” of Japan, which is interesting because I always thought open-layouts and cold climates were mutually exclusive.

It turns out that the floor plan is a solution proposed by the architects in order to respond to their clients request for an outdoor-like environment, while still maintaining absolute habitable comfort. The clients  enjoyed being surrounded by other homes, particularly the look and feel of a village. The rather literal – and might I add fantastic – interpretation of this was to create house-shaped rooms, whose roofs could be used as additional space to climb on and sit on.

The entire home consists of a total of 6 house-shaped profiles underneath one roof. How fun and amazing would it be to live here?

December 2, 2010   2 Comments

DETOUR 2010: WATERFUL by Nosigner

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Nosigner will unveil his latest work, Waterful at Detour 2010, Hong Kong’s annual design event. Organized by the Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, and now a full 5 years old, Detour 2010 aims to showcase Hong Kong as a regional creative hub by featuring young and emerging creative talent.

Nosigner will present a table with 1000 glasses full of water – a prime example of “power in numbers.” A glass of water, standing alone wouldn’t make me blink an eyelid. But when amassed together in such multitude and such form… well, I’ve never seen anything like it.

This year, the event will be held in partnership with Japan and is slated to take place in a prison and, ever so appropriately, will run with the theme “Not Guilty.” Events will be held at Victoria Prison(16 Old Bailey Street)from November 26 to December 12.

Japan’s sub-theme, dubbed “Not Guilty – Pure Water Design” attempts to reconcile our current environmental concerns – resources, food, water, energy – with Japan’s perfectionist aesthetic, such as their delicate eye for materials, simplicity and balance in form and shape.


December 1, 2010   Comments Off