japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — February 2011

Mishima House by Keiji Ashizawa

click to enlarge | photos by Daici Ano

Mishima House (2010) is a residential home in central Tokyo, recently completed by architect Keiji Ashizawa. What immediately stood out to me with this home is the voluminous structure. Considering the fact that it was built in condensed Tokyo, it’s as if someone inflated a balloon and stuck it in a jar of marbles.

[

February 28, 2011   Comments Off

PixCell | Bead-covered animals by Kohei Nawa

Kohei Nawa is a Japanese artist whose work walks a thin line between art and science. His name and works are one of the most recognizable in the contemporary art scene and he is a popular icon among art students. For his “beads” series he uses various animals as motifs, which he then proceeds to cover with small and large glass beads.

Here is the artist, talking about his work:

By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.

February 26, 2011   Comments Off

Cosine Nap Sofa

Here’s another find from Cosine’s new lineup of products. I was born a rug-rat and will die a rug-rat but, being 6’4”, I occasionally like to rise slightly. This Nap Sofa (87,150 yen) would be perfect for a go-between. It can be a comfy love seat but also turn into a table by removing the cushion. Oh, and did I mention it’s beautiful?

(click images to enlarge)


Cosine Nap Sofa
Here’s another find from Cosine’s new lineup of products. I was born a rug-rat and will die a rug-rat but, being 6’4”, I occasionally like to rise slightly. This Nap Sofa (87,150 yen) would be perfect for a go-between. It can be a comfy love seat but also turn into a table by removing the cushion. Oh, and did I mention that it’s a sheer work of beauty? 

Cosine Kids Clock

February 24, 2011   1 Comment

Cosine Kids Clock

In their latest catalog, Asahikawa (Hokkaido)-based furniture maker Cosine introduced this gorgeous kids clock (9,450 yen) to help little ones learn to tell time. This is something I’ve been struggling with recently (not, telling time, teaching to tell time) so this would be a huge welcome in our home. Allow me to walk you through some of the amazing details.

  1. Color-differentiated hands for hours and minutes
  2. Who needs a seconds hand? No one.
  3. 5-minute increments. This is so incredibly helpful to have in teaching the difference between minutes and hours. But eventually it becomes obsolete. That’s why they are painted in light brown – designed to blend in and disappear over time as the maple wood ages and turns darker.
  4. 8 is the magic number. To help kids visualize the concept of time, an emphasizing circle has been placed around 8 – the time when kids go to school in the morning and go to sleep at night. That’s a neat idea but feels a bit presumptuous. Then again, it works for my family!

February 24, 2011   Comments Off

Poteki by Kazuhito Ishida

Another great find from the Oyatsu Dougu exhibition is Poteki, a play on the Japanese word for potato chips (abbreviated as potechi) and the word for tree (ki). I love everything about this potato chip tree from the packaging design to the execution of the product. In fact, assumingly due to popular demand, the designer, Kazuhito Ishida, recently began offering them for sale (840 yen) on his website.

I love everything except the fact that it requires a disproportionately large amount of time to set up, compared to the time it takes to empty.


February 23, 2011   3 Comments

Glass Food Covers by Switch Design

click images to enlarge

Hiromi Taki and Tomonori Ohata, the design duo known as Switch, created these glass food covers. Each was designed for a specific type of snack – onigiri (rice ball), shu cream (cream puff) and a slice of cake – and debuted last year in the Oyatsu Dougu exhibition, a show dedicated to showcasing tools and accessories related to my favorite meal, snack time.  They were hand-blown by Sayaka Kanazu, a craftswoman based in Toyama.

I love how these covers elevate the simple snack to an almost sacred status. As if it’s on object of worship.

The Oyatsu Dougu exhibition was a show sponsored and curated by Codomonocoto, a group that organizes kid-friendly workshops and events, as well as commissions designers to create kid-centric products such as cowakka. The show originally ran in May of 2010, but then traveled on to Shinjuku Isetan department store in conjunction with DesignTide Extension.


February 23, 2011   1 Comment


click images to enlarge

NAM are a collective of creative individuals encompassing photographers and graphic designers to make-up artists and stylists. There are “about” 10 members and their reluctance to define an exact quantity of collaborators speaks volumes to their philosophy and overall aesthetic.

Beginning this Friday (2/25) A Fantasy In Life opens at Public/Image.3D a multi-purpose event space in Shibuya. For the first time ever a number of Nam’s previous works will be on display, as well as new work created specifically for this show.

[

February 22, 2011   3 Comments

One Push Case by Masakage Tanno

click images to enlarge

I’ve been meaning to shuffle through the results of the Takaoka Crafts Competition – announced in late 2010 and followed by a subsequent exhibition that closed last month – and I finally got around to it yesterday. I was very happy to see that Masakage Tanno, a young and talented craftsman hailing from Asahikawa city in Hokkaido, had won first place. You may be familiar with his work.

[

February 18, 2011   Comments Off

Maison Hermes Window Display by Paramodel

click images to enlarge

After working with Tokujin Yoshioka on their ever-evolving window display, Hermes Japan has taken on a new look. Their latest display, situated on the ground level of their Renzo Piano-designed building – on the ritzy Harumi-dori of Ginza – features somewhat out-of-place hanging chains, industrial electric wires and other accessories one might expect to find in a utilitarian workshop, not a high-end fashion boutique. The work is that of Paramodel, the artist duo comprised of Yasuhiko Hayashi and Yusuke Nakano.

[

February 17, 2011   3 Comments

New work by Nakano Design Office

On more than one occasion we’ve turned to the work of Takeo Nakano, of Nakano Design Office, for graphic design inspiration. In a recent new upload Nakano has given us a trove of new eye candy to admire. Here is a look at some of his latest work.

Visual identity and poster for Hiroaki Umeda’s “Holistic Strata”
more images

[

February 16, 2011   1 Comment