japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — February 2011

Yowayowa camera woman aka Natsumi Hayashi

click images to enlarge

Natsumi Hayashi is a Tokyo-based photographer who goes by the name of yowayowa (weakling) camera woman, poking fun at herself that she can barely carry her own camera. She began publicly documenting her work in 2009, which began with mundane shots of food and her two cats. In 2010 the photo-diary took an unexpected turn, morphing into a showcase of a series titled “today’s levitation” where, intermingled with photos of her cats (not levitating), she would post photos of herself frozen in mid-air.

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February 15, 2011   1 Comment


Lead stylists at Japanese men’s fashion magazine MEN’S NONNO have collaborated with multi-brand retail chain BEAMS to design 4 t-shirts based on the popular manga One Piece. This isn’t the first time that One Piece and MEN’S NONNO have collaborated. If you’ll recall, Luffy, the protagonist of the popular manga series, graced the cover of the magazine’s January 2010 issue.

The “Baratie” (above) is probably my favorite. It’s like a souvenir one would purchase if one visited the fictional floating restaurant frequented by rowdy pirates.

Each t-shirt retails for 5,040 yen in their online store but they’re selling out fast.

February 15, 2011   Comments Off

Midget & Giant by Ryuji Nakamura

Architect Ryuji Nakamura proposes an elegant, simple and adorable DIY project to create the illusion of being a giant without the use of special effects, funny camera angles and tons of props. Imagine doing all your skype calls this way! Fun.

The paper house was part of a workshop Nakamura did for DESIGNEAST 01 back in late 2010.


February 14, 2011   7 Comments

Atelier Book Chair (ABC)

Photos by Asaco Suzuki

Product development and production agency Oiseau (pronounced oazo) has created the Atelier Book Chair (ABC), the first in what is to be a series of sustainable, long-lasting products under the brand name “Mother.”

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February 11, 2011   1 Comment

NAGI by Mikiya Kobayashi

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Mikiya Kobayashi has designed a new line of furniture for Tokushima-based furniture company Fuji Furniture. The first items to appear in the new NAGI line are a set of chairs and dining room table, which were on display at their Tokyo showroom through yesterday and are currently making their way to the Osaka showroom where they will be on display on February 16th and 17th.

Fuji Furniture is known, stylistically, for their Scandinavian-inspired modern furniture and, technologically, for their capabilities in molding plywood. I love how Kobayashi has preserved and taken advantage of those characteristics while adding another layer of retro style. While the table and chairs obviously go well together, I would also be interested in seeing how they interact with some vintage furniture.


February 10, 2011   3 Comments

CHICO by Atelier KUU


Nobuo Kumazara, of Atelier Kuu, is the architect and designer behind many serene and modern spaces from beauty salons, chapels, dentist offices and CHICO – a store created for people and their design discerning pooch. Created with dogs in mind, the dog house motif is incorporated throughout the store located in Shizuoka, Japan.

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February 10, 2011   2 Comments

piece peace FRAME by Dessence

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Inspired by the rich expressions and the beautiful diversity that he found as he stared at a heap of wood scraps beside him, Kazutoyo Yamamoto – chief designer and founder of Dessence – created the piece peace picture frame.

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February 9, 2011   1 Comment

Shiro Kuramata and Ettore Sottsass

Two design heavyweights of the late 20th century get mashed up in this latest show, which opened in early February at 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo.

Ettore Sottsass-Shiro Kuramata
“Miss Blanche” (1988) by Shiro Kuramata

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February 8, 2011   2 Comments

Café Recipe by Teruhiro Yanagihara

click images to enlarge | images courtesy Isolation Unit

Late last year Teruhiro Yanagihara of Japanese design practice Isolation Unit designed an installation for Rokko Meets Art, a 2-month long arts festival that invited 41 artists to install artwork throughout the lush wilderness of Mt. Rokko in Hyogo prefecture. Teruhiro Yanagihara chose to install a temporary café within a green house.

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February 3, 2011   Comments Off

New York International Gift Fair Winter 2011 | japan edition

I made my way over to Javits Center this week for the New York International Gift Fair to check what what some of the Japan-related booths are offering. It’s always an interesting exercise to see what other people think other people will like. The center – if you’ve ever been there you know – is so massive in size that it’s daunting to even consider making the full round. So if I missed you, and I’m sure I did, I apologize. But here are a few items that caught my eye.

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February 2, 2011   1 Comment