japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — May 2011

North Farm Stock pasta sauce

click to enlarge

I absolutely love what Terashima Design has been doing with branding for North Farm Stock, a Hokkaido-based gourmet foods shop. Pictured above is what they did for their new pasta sauce. It’s a little after 10 and I’m already hungry. Check out some of their previous designs too!

source: Terashima Design website

May 31, 2011   Comments Off

United Arrows launches SNS-integrated virtual changing room

screenshots | click to enlarge

Last week United Arrows, a retailer of casual men’s and women’s apparel, announced that they were launching styling simulation website UA Style Share. Comprised of over 7000 items from their 7 primary store bands, users will be able to customize an avatar and then style it by using simple drag-and-drop functionality. Users will also have the option of saving entire wardrobes to a look-book, as well as sharing different looks on facebook, twitter or mixi.

It’s a cool idea. It’s been tried before but it feels like if there’s anywhere it could work, it would be in Japan.

source: fashionsnap

May 31, 2011   Comments Off

Alight by Nao Tamura

Japanese designer Nao Tamura has created a miniature LED light inspired by the fireflies she would see growing up in Japan. Consuming just 11W of energy and lasting for 20,000 hours, Alight is a reminder of our wasteful habits when it comes to energy consumption. It is also a signal to designers everywhere that these habits can be changed; and it can start with a responsible approach to design.

click images to enlarge

Alight can be dimmed or brightened. Lightweight in nature, it can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted on a wall, or simply placed on a desk

It’s quite fitting that Tamura chose the firefly as her source of inspiration because it’s well known in Japan that the insects prevalence is closely correlated to an eco-friendly environment. In fact, fireflies are often used as a (unofficial) barometer for pollution, or lack thereof. Alight was exhibited at Milan Salone Satellite 2011 back in March. However, no one could have guessed that the product’s message about energy conservation would be seen in the light of a national campaign to conserve energy due to the real-life disaster in Fukushima.

If you’ll recall, Nao Tamura’s “Seasons,” a functional kitchen and serving ware, won the Salone Satellite Award last year. Evident again by her work this year, Tamura certainly has a knack for poetically welding technology and tradition to create subtle and simplistically exquisite designs.

Source: Nao Tamura’s website

May 30, 2011   1 Comment


click images to enlarge

Instead of being passed off as a nuisance, the electrical cord is incorporated into this speaker system as an essential component of the design. Designed by industrial design firm caroinfo, the ARIKUI (anteater) tongue doubles as its electric cord. Love the concept and the design!

the original ARIKUI floor lamp

Originally designed in 2003 as a floor lamp, ARIKUI was recently redesigned as ARIKUI Swing, and is slated to go on sale (10,290 yen) at Lemnos in late June 2011.

source: caroinfo blog

May 27, 2011   Comments Off

Cocage Showroom by Suppose Design Office

images courtesy suppose design office | click to enlarge

Cocage Showroom is an architectural showroom for Kochi-based residential construction company Fukuya. The unique triangular structure is the most recent work by Tanijiri Makoto of Suppose Design Office. Also referred to as triangular home Suu, the showroom is intended to provide a deeper, more significant experience for potential homebuyers. The ground floor serves as café where visitors can order drinks and deserts. On the 2nd floor is a library where you can spend an unlimited amount of time reading or just relaxing. Together, the two floors provide an experience un-attainable from attended a traditional open-house. The space is also used for hosting seminars where locals are invited to come and learn about buying a home.

I love this idea because I think it’s absurd the way we shop for homes. A home is arguably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make and yet we spend a disproportionate amount of time actually experiencing the home we’re thinking of buying.

And how amazing is that climbable rood! We showcased a home with a similar roof in the past. It really is a neat idea. However, it wouldn’t work well in New York. I imagine it would attract a lot of undesirables.

source: suppose design office website | Fukuya construction


May 26, 2011   Comments Off

Shibaura House by Kazuyo Sejima

illustration by Jody Wong | click to enlarge

When Kazuyo Sejima – one part of the cutting-edge architecture studio SANAA – takes on a new project, people take notice. And rightly so. The duo, whose renown was sealed last year when they were named recipients of the 2010 Pritzker, are perhaps one of the most sought-after Japanese architects, both in Japan and abroad.

For her latest project, Sejima has designed a community workshop space in the Shibaura district of Tokyo. Having been subject to massive redevelopment since the 1990s, the area, consisting largely of office buildings, has begun to take on a new face in recent years, attracting young professionals as well as families. Shibaura House, the 7-story, largely translucent structure, will attempt to position itself as a hub for the next step of creative dialogue. Slated to open in July of 2011, Shibaura House will have a rotating roster of speakers, as well as various events, all spanning the genres of business and social issues to art, design and lifestyle.

The project was commissioned by Kohkoku Seihan, a printing/publishing services company who has also been operating a series of workshops for kids. Shibaura House is presumably a step towards developing their non-profit arm, which was spun-out in 2010.

source: architecturephoto | Shibaura House

May 25, 2011   Comments Off

Carboard Shelter by Atelier OPA

images courtesy Atelier OPA | click to enlarge

Japanese architectural studio Atelier OPA has designed 2 types of temporary shelters than can be easily assembled using cardboard. It’s obviously not meant to be used indoors, but rather in gymnasiums where most of the evacuees are currently living without basic privacy. The designers, whom recently received a donation to deliver 300 units to the Tohoku region, released the blueprints under the Creative Commons license so anyone can build one.

The efforts compliment those being made by other architects in Japan such as Shigeru Ban and Yasutaka Yoshimura.

Source: Atelier OPA website


May 25, 2011   2 Comments

Johnny featured on The Inside Source

The Inside Source

Spoon & Tamago‘s very own Johnny Strategy was featured yesterday on The Inside Source, eBay‘s digital style magazine. Johnny’s interview, by Stephen Watson, covers a brief history of S&T, Johnny‘s inspirations, and several Japanese items that can be found on eBay.

S&T Inside Source

Read the full article…

May 25, 2011   1 Comment

Illuminating Tohoku| Rinko Kawauchi

Prominent Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi recently visited the Tohoku region following the devastating quake, documenting what she saw through her unique vantage point. Kawauchi is well-known for her ability to illuminate the every-day, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. The show, “Colloquy and Soliloquy,” which opens today at mountain fold gallery, represents a thematic divergence from the artists’ comfort zone. It will be interesting to see how Kawauchi interprets this very unordinary event.

from the series “Colloquy and Soliloquy” | click to enlarge

Kawauchi will be presenting her work alongside artist Taewon Jang. Sales from this show will be donated to the
non-governmental organization Peace Winds Japan. Coincidentally, Kawauchi is currently showcasing another body of work in New York. “Illuminance,” on display at Gallery Hermès through June 16th, provides the content for a new book of the same name.

from the series “Illuminance” | click to enlarge

Kawauchi first captured the spotlight in 2001 with her simultaneous release of 3 photo books – UTATANE, HANABI and HANAKO. I’ve heard her say that she derives her style from having the eyes and ears of a child. Despite living in crowded Tokyo, or perhaps the result of that very environment, Kawauchi finds herself transfixed by the small things – a patch of flowers or a snail on a rainy day. But her exquisite style should not be carelessly mistaken for insignificance. It’s the way she experiences the world around her that is of the utmost significance to us as the viewer.

Colloquy and Soliloquy
Mountain fold gallery (55 Fifth Avenue, 18th Floor)
Rinko Kawauchi and Taewon Jang
05.24.2011 – 06.28

Gallery at Hermès (691 Madison Avenue)
05.20.2011 – 06.16

source: tmagazine | mountain fold | my friend masako

May 24, 2011   Comments Off

Lace-like Kirie by Hina Aoyama

Hina Aoyama, born in Yokohama, Japan, now resides in Ferney Volaire, (Western) France. She creates these incredibly detailed and intricate lace like kirie (paper cutout) art work with a “simple pair of scissors.” Among the many exhibitions in both Europe and Japan, Hina’s work is on permanent display at the Museum of Miniatures Lyon France and Hotel Horloger Geneva Swiss.


Hina Aoyama is among many talented Japanese paper artists as featured before here and here, here and here,  and… (last but not least) here. See the rest of Aoyama’s works displayed on the flicker photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37051688@N00/
Source: Hina Aoyama

May 24, 2011   2 Comments