Lacquer has been used traditionally in Japan as a varnish coating for thousands of years. It’s adorned everything from Buddhist artifacts to tableware. But Kyoto-based artist Genta Ishizuka has been exploring the sculptural qualities of lacquer, known as urushi in Japan, proving that old traditions of making can still surprise us as being radical and contemporary.
Between the years 1987 and 1993, the fashion designer Kenzo Takada built a 1,300- square-meter (14,000 sq ft) residence on the border of the Bastille and the Marais neighborhoods. Kenzo lived in the home for a little under 20 years before deciding to put it on the market in 2007. At the time, the asking price was €12 million, or $17.7 million.
In November of 1969, Japanese stationery company Tombow released what would go on to become one of the country’s most iconic stationery items: the MONO eraser. Designed by the company’s in-house designers, the simple striped design, reminiscent of a flag, has remain unchanged for the last 50 years. And to celebrate the half-century mark, the company is running several fun promotions this year.
Travelers looking to stay in traditional Japanese ryokan, or inns, usually have to venture out of major cities and into less-populated areas. And while that’s definitely part of the allure, the newly established Yuen brings the tranquility of an urban oasis to one of Japan’s most densely populated areas: Shinjuku.
Stories about the collapse of civilization and order—apocalyptic stories—endlessly seduce us. As terrifying as the real thing would surely be, we love imagining our world destroyed. And Japanese illustrator Tokyo Genso excels at painting that picture for us. He creates lush CG illustrations of notable Tokyo landmarks that are in ruins and, in many cases, have been reclaimed by nature.
Eighteen years after the release of Spirited Away in Japan, China is getting an official theatrical release next week. And just as he did with the release of My Neighbor Totoro late last year, Chinese designer Huang Hai has worked his magic once again, creating a series of absolutely breathtaking posters that make us want to watch the film all over.
June 13, 2019 / Johnny / Comments Off on Delicate, Miniature Sculptures Made From Dandelion Seeds by (euglena)
Blowing the white fluffy seeds off a dandelion is a universal childhood experience. Who hasn’t delighted in watching a gentle breeze carry the bristles off into the distance. But for this Tokyo-based artist who goes by the name “(euglena)“, the fluff serves a different, artistic purpose. She harvests them to create impossibly delicate sculptures that beg to be observed up close. Just don’t sneeze.
We’ve never wanted to peel off the lid of a building as much as this one: Nissin’s new Cup Noodle Factory in Shiga Prefecture of Japan’s Kansai region. This is the company’s first new factory in 22 years and at 100,000㎡ (approximately 24.6 acres) it stands as one of Japan’s largest food factories.
June 10, 2019 / Johnny / Comments Off on Japanese Architect Finds Ultimate Happiness in Ultimate Small Home
After purchasing a tiny plot of land in Tokyo, architect Takeshi Hosaka (previously) began creating the blueprints for a home for his wife and himself. Originally intending to build up, the architect pivoted after he and his wife were inspired by a book about Edo-period families who lived in a single floor, in a single space. Hosaka then redrafted his plans, which included only the raw ingredients for happiness.
Before eateries had English menus; before selfies were snapped at the Robot Restaurant; before tourists in Mario costumes zipped down the streets of Shibuya in go-karts there was a grittier Tokyo. One that photographer Greg Girard describes as “post-war scruffiness combined with a transitional modernity.”