the True Wetsuit is a business suit and wetsuit
You’ve heard of Cool Biz right? The Japanese government’s initiative to conserve energy by encouraging their labor force to dress down? Well meet Surf Biz. Developed by the team at Quiksilver Japan, True Wetsuits are high spec waterproof wetsuits that “can be worn from home, to the beach, and from the beach to the office with no need to change at all.”
Dubbed as Japan’s 1st runnable shopping center, the Morinomiya Q’s Mall will open its doors to shoppers and runners alike next week on April 27, 2015. Inheriting the legacy of it’s original site, the now-defunct Nissay baseball stadium in Osaka, Q’s Mall boasts a 300 meter running track that sits atop the mall. The AirTrack will have 3 different lanes and will be free for anyone to use.
Kumu (written 組む, in Japanese) means to connect or unite. And it’s the name of Noriko Konuma’s new gallery space nestled in the Bakurocho neighborhood Northeast of central Tokyo. True to their name, the retail and workshop space is meant to function as a small village where like-minded individuals from all over the world can come together.
photos by Keishin Horikoshi / SS Tokyo courtesy kkaa | click to enlarge
the old book warehouse
The Shinchosha publishing company has maintained a warehouse in the Kagurazaka neighborhood of Tokyo for the last 50 years. But feeling a need to better utilize the space and, more importantly, involve the local community, the publisher decided to renovate the building and turn it into a multi-purpose space that functions not only as a café and lifestyle shop but also as a community space for lectures and workshops.
Shinchosha hired architect Kengo Kuma, a long-term resident of the neighborhood to spearhead their vision. La kagu opened late last year.
the new branding and identity for Hidakuma (Creative Director: Shoma Terai, Designer: Atsushi Honda, Illustrator: Toshiki Nonaka)
It’s rare to hear the words “investments” and “forests” mentioned in the same sentence. But that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when 3 organizations announced a joint-collaboration to promote the woods and craftsmanship of Hida.
The northernmost city of Gifu, over 90% of Hida is occupied by heavy forestation. But with older generations left without successors the forests are at risk of falling into disrepair. And local woodworking techniques like kumiki face being forgotten. What they needed was a sustainable strategy to maintain the usage of Hida’s rich resource and “the forests represent an investment in our future,” proclaimed the city of Hida.
unless otherwise noted, all phots by Erieta Attali | click to enlarge
Kichijoji is a suburb in Western Tokyo that’s gained popularity in recent years for its hip boutiques, convenient department stores and large park. (The author grew up in the neighborhood, which earns it extra brownie points)
A unique feature of Kichijoji is Harmonica Yokocho, a retro-style stretch of tiny shops, eateries and bars. There, one of the most popular spots with locals is Tetchan, a yakitori (grilled, skewered chicken) shop that recently underwent a vibrant facelift.
It’s that time of year again: Milano Salone, often simply referred to as Milan Design Week. Each year we cover various Japanese designers who are showcasing new work. But this year feels like Japan – from solo exhibitions to behind-the-scenes staging – has a larger presence than usual.
So we thought we would round up all the Japanese design that’s on display this year. We’ll be posting individual items of particular interest but here you’ll find it all: everything from inflatable bonsai to groundbreaking toothbrush technology.
Borrowing from the concept and technique of Russian matryoshka nesting dolls, designer Masahiko Yoshihara has created a doll with a surprise inside. Mato Ryoko appear to be a regular peasant girl but when the top comes off there’s a bikini-clad woman inside.
“A person’s outer appearance, words, reputation and position gives us preconceptions, and we often fail to see the essence (the middle) of a person,” says Yoshihara. “This shape-transforming figure expresses that situation.”
He designed the doll in hopes that we can be more aware of how we perceive people and focus on the essence rather than external appearances. Yoshihara’s design won the excellence prize at a Tokyo Midtown Design Awards 2 years ago. It’s now part of a self-titled exhibition at Milano Salone.
photos by Hiroki Kawata courtesy Ninkipen | click to enlarge
This month Kyoto Gakuen University welcomed students into their new Uzumasa campus. Amongst the sparkling auditorium, the medical training site and the library, undoubtedly one of the most anticipated facilities is the cafeteria. Because, after all, who can study on an empty stomach?
photos by Giovanni Giannoni courtesy Fairchild Fashion Media
Fashion, according to Takafumi Tsuruta, shouldn’t just be about the runway. Whether you’re in a wheelchair, have only one arm, are on your way to a funeral, or simply going to work on a rainy day, fashion should encompass all walks of life. So in 2013 Tsuruta founded the fashion label HaHa.