Category — Industrial Design
Prototype 1000 is a site created by web designer Nezi Sato that functions as a database for all his crazy dream-like prototypes of products he wished existed. Some products seem like generally good ideas, while others are just outrageous or silly. But that’s perhaps what makes the site so interesting. Here a few of my favorites, which I genuinely wish existed.
Sato certainly has a vivid, playful imagination. His past projects include an app the gets kids interested in math by substituting boring exercises like counting crayons, with counting poop. He also created an Avian Flu twitter bot that randomly
infects follows users and then unfollows them in about 5 days.
March 7, 2014 No Comments
Okay, this is one of the most-fun designs for a water bottle I’ve seen in quite a while. You know those miniature fish-shaped soy sauce containers? The ones that usually come in bento boxes and are occasionally used in art installations.
Well someone at Ehara, a maker of small toys and chotchkies came up with a thermos in the likeness of those soy sauce containers so it looks like you’re chugging the salty condiment. But don’t really put soy sauce in the 17 oz bottle because it could kill you. There’s even a case of soy sauce overdose-induced suicide. Instead, use tea or juice.
The thermos retails for around 800 yen but unfortunately seems to be out of stock.
March 5, 2014 2 Comments
In what is their first collab with a Japanese design studio, Danish furniture retailer BoConcept has teamed up with nendo. At an event last week in New York, Oki Sato, who heads up the sought-after studio, was on site to introduce the origami-inspired line.
“Our objective was to add a distinct Japanese touch to the BoConcept collection,” said Sato, introducing his “fusion” line. It includes a sofa, chair, rug, tables, wall storage system and accessories. The collection will be hitting stores on April 1!
source: press release
February 11, 2014 No Comments
“Like huge Japanese lanterns, the harbors along Japan’s jagged coast sparkled at night last week with the blue fire of acetylene welding rods and the white glare of arc lights. The lights burned overtime as Japan worked to meet the greatest shipbuilding boom in its history. All 54 ways at Japan’s nine major shipyards are occupied; one ship is barely launched before a new keel is laid,” reported TIME Magazine in 1964.
Indeed, Japan used shipbuilding in the 1950s and 1960s to rebuild its industrial structure and the country dominated in the late 1980s, filling more than half of all orders worldwide. Japan has since lost its competitive edge to countries like South Korea but now, a group of artisans and designers are looking to revive shipbuilding but in an entirely different way – through furniture.
“The heritage of many of the woodworking techniques used by Japanese carpenters originates from Japanese shipwrights,” said Jin Kuramoto (previously), who recently teamed up with a group of Hiroshima-based woodworkers to create a new furniture brand, MATSUSO T.
The brand is debuting with 2 lineups; the first, designed by Kuramoto himself, is called Nadia. The collection features curved sections of wood for the back of the chair – an image reminiscent of the hull of a ship. Look underneath the chairs and tables and you’ll see frames of interlocked struts, a technique used by the old shipbuilders. In fact, Hiroshima is home to Tsuneishi, one of Japan’s larger shipbuilders. In a wonderful photo essay the Tokyo-based photographer Androniki Christodoulou documented the shipyard.
source: press release
February 5, 2014 5 Comments
The typeface Garamond was created specifically to improve the reading experience, while Helvetica was intended to be clean, useful and as unassuming yet necessary as the air we breathe. “In written communication, people choose type for how it can add meaningful layers of intent and expression to the words they write,” say the creators of TYPE, a new brand of glasses whose visual design is inspired by typefaces.
With the help of ad agency Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo, online eyewear retailer Oh My Glasses recently launched the new initiative. The first edition features glasses based on two typefaces known for their universality and individuality: Helvetica and Garamond. “The design of a typeface affects how a message is communicated. We use these subtle differences in the design of glasses’ frames to inﬂuence the impression of the person who wears them.”
Retailing for 24,150 yen (about $235), the glasses will go on sale at the end of this month.
source: press release
January 27, 2014 2 Comments
Your chopsticks can make your food taste better, claims Hashikura Matsukan, a chopstick manufacturer steeped in 400 years of history. But how can you improve on, or reinvent, something that’s been around for so long? Something that’s been refined so many times? It’s just 2 sticks that taper to a point, right? Well that’s exactly where Oki Sato from Nendo turned to, when he was asked to redesign a series of chopsticks.
“Chopsticks ordinarily come in pairs,” explains Sato, “but the rassen chopsticks are a single unit. They’re separated into two for eating, then rejoined into one form when not in use.” Rassen means helix, and refers to the DNA-like shape used to link the two together.
Another design in the series is kamiai, or interlock. “We put a gap on one of the four sides of the square shaped chopstick, and embedded a magnet, so that the two would snap together in one piece when they are flipped and fitted to each other.
We placed the magnets towards the outside of each chopstick, so that the chopsticks don’t come together accidentally while someone is using them to eat.”
In a related story, designers attempting to simplify chopstick etiquette.
You can read all our stories on Nendo right here.
source: press release
January 2, 2014 6 Comments
Absurd? Yes. Irrational? Of course. Do I want one? Absolutely. This umeboshi eraser (umekeshi) is utterly adorable. As the site accurately points out, I have the urge to put it in the center of my notebook, creating a hinomaru bento (essentially white rice with an umeboshi in the middle, representing the Japanese flag).
It was designed by Fuminori Motodani, a freelance designer who submitted it to the 2013 Midtown Awards and won. The item has yet to hit shelves but if it gets enough votes on the crowd-sourced commercialization website cuusoo it may become available.
source: SFC Design
December 19, 2013 1 Comment
Water and electricity: two elements that are never supposed to mix. Which is perhaps why this piece is so stunning. Taking their cue from the way water balloons inflate under a faucet, Torafu Architects (previously) have created a gorgeous light bulb accurately titled “water balloon.” The glass bulb is back-lit from an LED light source, which is then scattered and diffused by the air bubbles in the glass. The bulb itself is made from recycled florescent light bulbs.
The water balloon light bulb was a result of 9lass, a project which pairs artisanal glass makers with creative designers. The products were put on display during the IFFT trade show in Tokyo last month.
December 16, 2013 Comments Off
I’m in love with these picture frames by Takeshi Sawada (previously). The art director takes the relatively simple concept of graphical perspective, which we all learned in junior-high art class, and applies it to wall-mounted picture frames. The result is pretty spectacular, and made even greater when multiple frames are combined together.
December 9, 2013 Comments Off
When was the last time there was a groundbreaking innovation in umbrella design? Exactly. Japanese product design firm H Concept has unveiled their latest: UnBRELLA, an inverted umbrella. Why exactly would you want to invert an umbrella? Well, if you live in a crowded metropolis like Tokyo there are many reasons. When you jump on a crowded train after escaping a downpour your dripping wet umbrella usually brushes up against your bag, your clothes or – even worse – a stranger. But by inverting the design, the wet side of the umbrella faces inward when closed, exposing only the dry side.
And that’s not all: the innovative design makes it easier to open when coming out of a car or other covered area. And when not in use the UNBRELLA stands up on its own.
“It’s been nearly 10 years in the making since I originally conceived the idea,” revealed Hiroshi Kajimoto, the industrial designer who spent roughly a decade improving the umbrella. “I’ve finally created the UnBRELLA – an upside down umbrella truly required upside down thinking.”
The question is, will people be willing to pay for innovation? The new umbrella – slated to go on sale February 2014 – costs 9450 yen (about $95).
December 5, 2013 3 Comments