japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — July 2011

Booooon! by D-bros

click to enlarge

Leave it to Japanese graphic design studio D-Bros to make opening an envelope even more fun than reading what’s inside. “Booooon!” (an onomatopoeia often used by children to imitate the sound of vehicles) comes with an illustration of an automobile, locomotive and airplane. When torn open they create trails of exhaust plumes!

For 945 yen you can purchase the set of three. If you’re not in Japan, you can use an export service like white rabbit express.

source: colossal | matomeno


July 29, 2011   1 Comment

Data Clip and Data Hook by Nendo

photos by Hiroshi Iwasaki | click to enlarge

Nendo, who, earlier this year, I officially dubbed the busiest Japanese design office, has designed 2 new USB memory sticks for Elecom. This is the 4th installment in a series of designs for the company (see first, second and third installments). Data Clip, which was fashioned to look like a paper clip, allows you to leave USB sticks for your colleagues with notes attached. Love it!

If you’re heading into the wilderness, or just clipping things on to your cargo pants, their other design – Data Hook – may be perfect for you. The 4GB USB sticks are going on sale this month.

image courtesy Elecom

source: elecom press release | nendo

July 29, 2011   2 Comments

Thinking of You Through Diseases by Ai Okubo

“Thinking of You Through Diseases” 2010 Pill, capsule, text
(hives, eczema)

Misplace your meds? They may have ended up in the hands of Japanese artist Ai Okubo who – for her first solo show in 4 years – is presenting a series of sculptures created from medication and its respective packaging she found lost or discarded. Whether it’s old receipts, business cards or meds, the Tama Art University graduate has always been obsessed with reconstructing histories based on found objects.

For this show, which just opened at Galerie Tokyo Humanité, Okubo was inspired by the way we conceal our different ailments and conditions yet are forced to carry them with us as we engage and interact with modern day society.  Finding pleasure in the random clues that we consciously or unconsciously leave behind, Okubo literally reconstructs our diseases based on the various treatments and conditions associated with the medication she finds.

“Thinking of You Through Diseases” 2010 Pill, capsule, text
(rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain)

“Thinking of You Through Diseases” 2011 stuffed bear, pill, capsule, text
(epilepsy, manic psychosis)

Thinking of You Through Diseases” 2011 Jeans, Pill, capsule, text
(difficulty urinating due to enlarged prostate, increased urinary frequency)

source: Galerie Tokyo Humanité

Ai Okubo | Thinking of You Through Diseases
Galerie Tokyo Humanité (Gmap)
2011.7.25 – 8.6
10:30-19:00 (Closed Sun. Closes at 18:30 on last day)

July 28, 2011   Comments Off

Aeron with Art

Remember Makoto Azuma’s Herman Miller Aeron chair covered with Astroturf? Well Herman Miller Japan is now expanding the initiative to encompass 4 additional artists and their unique interpretation of the iconic chair. In collaboration with more trees, musician Ryuichi Sakamoto’s environmental organization, Aeron with Art will offer each of these one-of-a-kind chairs up for sale (500,000 yen) in a charity event in which all proceeds will go towards helping victims of the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami.

Swell-Aeron Chair by Kohei Nawa

Aeron Chair for Air by Yasuhiro Suzuki
(to be honest I don’t get this one)

Sit on the Green by Azuma Makoto

warp by Yuko Nagayama

Ancestor of Chair-by Yosuke Hayano
(Hayano worked at Zaha Hadid for 1 year before setting up shop. See the influence?)

The chairs will be on display tomorrow (July 28, 2011) at Art Fair Tokyo, subsequently being moved to the Herman Miller Store in Marunouchi. (see details below)

source: Rightning press release


Aeron with Art
Art Fair Tokyo preview – B2F Exhibition Hall
16:00 pm

Herman Miller Store Marunouchi
07.29.2011 – 08.07

July 27, 2011   1 Comment

Metal Shutter Houses by Shigeru Ban Architects

Metal Shutter Houses - Shigeru Ban (2)

images © shigeru ban architects | click to enlarge

It’s been several years in the making but – as I tweeted earlier this week – Shigeru Ban’s Metal Shutter Houses in Manhattan are finally complete. Although the famed Japanese architect has been busy providing temporary partitions to evacuees of the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, 6000 miles across the planet workers were putting the final touches on his first ever residential project in New York.

Located at 524 West 19th Street near iconic architectural structures like Frank Gehry’s IAC building and the High Line, the minimalist condo is equipped with adjustable shutters that provide full sunlight exposure, complete privacy or anywhere in-between. The condos sold out during the initial offering but a penthouse recently resurfaced for a whopping $13 million.

Metal Shutter Houses - Shigeru Ban (3)

Metal Shutter Houses - Shigeru Ban


source: inhabitat | curbed

July 27, 2011   Comments Off

W1200xD380xH480 by Kana Nakanishi

Another simple yet stunning piece of furniture from Kana Nakanishi. Named simply after the dimensions of the stool itself, the seats backing doubles as its legs. If we’ve learned anything from some of her previous work it’s that Nakanishi possesses a mastery of getting the most out of the least amount of materials.

July 26, 2011   Comments Off

Sheet by Kana Nakanishi

Some bookshelf porn for your Tuesday. Designed by Kana Nakanishi during her days as a student at University of Art and Design Helsinki, Sheet is crafted out of a single piece of birch plywood. So nice.



July 26, 2011   Comments Off

5 Apple Table by On Design

click images to enlarge

What a visually dynamic meeting room table!
On Design, a Yokohama-based group of young creative-types, custom designed this table for one of their clients by substituting the legs for 5 gigantic wooden balls.

found while snooping around their website.

July 26, 2011   1 Comment

Mikiya Takimoto | Land Space

images courtesy MA2 Gallery | click to enlarge

Photographer Mikiya Takimoto has some new work out and I’m a bit mesmerized by it. “Land Space” refers to the contradictory concepts of land – as in a continent – and the lack thereof. The two, understandably, began as separate projects. Takimoto’s genuine fascination with the space shuttle prompted him to make 4 separate trips to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida over a span of 2 years. There, Takimoto was able to gain access to typically restricted areas where some of his most fantastic shots were captured, such as the one above of the dark orifice of the Apollo space shuttle. (it reminds me of these shots by Richard Gubbels of an abandoned power plant. )

His Land series are simpler in terms of process and subject matter – volcanic rock or a forest – but nevertheless maintain a larger-than-life presence. Gazing at them, one suddenly realizes that what they are looking at is the crust, or skin, if you will, if this gigantic planet we inhabit.

Land Space is on display at MA2 Gallery in Ebisu, Tokyo through August 14th.

Mikiya Takimoto | Land Space
MA2 Gallery (Gmap)
2011.7.16 – 8.14
12:00-19:00 (Closed on mon, tue & holidays)

source: MA2 Gallery



July 25, 2011   Comments Off

Life Stripe exhibition by SPREAD

click images to enlarge

I’ve been mildly obsessed with strips recently so you’ll understand why this fantastic idea caught my eye. SPREAD, a creative team set up by Hirokazu Kobayashi and Haruna Yamada, launched a project called Life Stripe in which they assign a single color with certain daily activities and express a 24-hour day using different color bands.

The project, which is now in its 6th year, has received roughly 15,000 Life Stripes from a wide cross-section of society including a pregnant woman, a baby, a taxi driver, a private detective and on Okapi. 114 different Life Stripes will be on display through August 7th at Traumaris Space, located inside NADiff in Shibuya.

Life Stripe
Traumaris Space [NADiff 3F] (Gmap)
07.14.2011 – 08.07
16:00-24:00 (Sundays 14:00-22:00; closed Mondays)

July 22, 2011   Comments Off