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The Second Aid | A life-saving disaster kit designed by Nosigner

the second aid disaster kit by nosigner

the second aid disaster kit by nosigner

Just 40 hours after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami struck in 2011, Japanese designer Eisuke Tachikawa launched OLIVE, a crowd-sourced wiki of tips and DIY advice to survive in a disaster. The response was overwhelming. The site was translated by volunteers into many languages and was also turned into pamphlets, which were handed out to evacuees.

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Toru Izumida Uses Screenshots to Create Artwork

toru izumida screenshot art

“universe // female” Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 11.35.13 PM

toru izumida screenshot art

“universe // female” Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 11.51.50 PM

Just like photojournalists have been using cameras to document events, the screenshot is a modern day archival tool that, anyone with a computer or smartphone, is equipped with by default. Screenshots create still images of whatever is visible on our screen, effectively relieving us of the burden of memory and acting as a testament to what existed in the perpetually fluid internet.

But for Japanese artist Toru Izumida, it’s an artistic tool used to create collages from web-based photos and videos. “I use selections of online media to create unexpected combinations that are finalized into a single screenshot,” says Izumida. The exact date and signature of the creation is recorded on every work.” All of his screenshots are actual layouts created on his Mac, which are then turned into prints.

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An Installation of 36445 Screws To Represent Japan’s Industrial Heritage

screw hamamatsu yuma kano

all photos by satoru ikegami | click to enlarge

In a post-war Japan one of the country’s growth engines that helped it rise from ashes was industrial production. Japan showed the world that, with the hard work and persistence of its dedicated labor force it could swiftly evolve from a nation that had lost a quarter of its national wealth to the second largest economy. To this day the land of the rising sun is still proud of its powerful auto, metal and glass industries.

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Japan’s Miroku Waterfall Painted in Excel by Tatsuo Horiuchi


The summer months are over and autumn has now begun. To celebrate one of Japan’s most beautiful seasons (and my personal favorite) we have an exciting announcement! We’ve teamed up with artist Tatsuo Horiuchi to bring one of his beautiful excel artworks to market.

If you’ll recall, the 74-year old artist creates traditional Japanese landscapes entirely in Microsoft Excel. This is the first time any of his prints have been made available outside Japan.

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A spiral apartment explores what happens when a building is divided by height, not width


When living in a Japanese city, it is not uncommon to spend one’s day going from one small space to another: waking up in a small apartment, going to work in a narrow office, and ending the day in a tiny bar. So when Japanese architects are given a wide lot on which to design a building, what’s more natural than dividing it into four narrow, vertical units? This is the basis for the unique project carried out by Be-Fun Design architects in Matsumaya, Ehime prefecture.

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Modern and Traditional Design From Across Japan Converges at the d47 Museum

d47 museum design bussan japan

all photos by oji masanori © spoon & tamago | click to enlarge

Japan is comprised of 47 prefectures, each with their own unique tradition of food and craft. And thanks to a new exhibition at the d47 Museum you can now get a flavor for design from across Japan under a single roof. Lined throughout the Design Bussan 2014 exhibition space are 47 tables that – you guessed it – represent each prefecture. And on display are carefully selected prime examples of both traditional craft but also craft that’s been merged with contemporary design. The result is an all-encompassing view of how Japanese design sensibilities are evolving.

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Maach Ecute | a renovated 100-year old train station reopens for business

maach ecute-gaikan

In 1912 the Manseibashi Station began operating as the last station on the Kobu Railways (now Chuo line). The station served as the lifeblood of the Kanda district in Tokyo but by the late 1920s it had begun to lose relevance as neighboring stations grew and developed. In 1943 it officially ceased operating and was converted into a transportation museum.

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Nendo’s New Furniture Collection is Softer Than Steel

nendo softer than steel for desalto

Nendo has created a furniture collection for Italy’s Desalto, known for their metal furniture. Turning the tables on metal’s typical hard and heavy feel, Nendo gives the material a light, flexible feel, “as though the metal has become paper or cloth.”

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A Forest Made From Washi Paper by Takashi Kuribayashi

Wald aus Wald by takashi kuribayashi (2)

I’m in Sapporo this week exploring the 2014 Sapporo International Art Festival. The theme of this year’s city-wide art show is “Nature and City” and is curated by the great Ryuichi Sakamoto. I’m documenting a few of my favorite installations. The art festival runs from July 19 – September 28, 2014.

Japanese artist Takashi Kuribayashi staged his paper installation “Wald aus Wald,” German for Forest from Forest. The installation, which features a single room ensconced in a white forest made from washi paper, has traveled to museums around the world: Tokyo (in 2010), Singapore (in 2011) and, most recently, Germany (in 2013). But it has now returned to Japan where it’s on display at the Sapporo Art Museum. These photos, taken from the artist’s website, are from previous installations.

Wald aus Wald by takashi kuribayashi (1)

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A Wooden Cabin in Kyoto Overlooks the Mountains

kyokkyo wooden cabin in kyoto (6)

I have total log cabin envy right now. UZU architects created “cross house,” a timber home nestled near the hills outside Kyoto. The home was designed around the nationalities of the husband (French) and wife (Japanese) who will live there. The husband, a chef, wanted a pleasant and open kitchen and brightly colored walls. The wife insisted on preserving a Japanese aesthetic by utilizing wood throughout the home. Indeed, the best of both worlds.

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