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Shippo tail chair at the 2014 Tokyo Designers Week

shippo tail chair

photo courtesy The Verge

The annual Tokyo Designers Week kicked off over the weekend with various events continuing through this week. There’s always a ton of stuff going on and it’s easy to get lost in all of it, but here’s one thing that caught our eye. “Shippo” (literally, tail in Japanese) is precarious-looking chair that appears to be balancing on a long tail. The chair is actually incredibly stable and it’s a cool illusion that also makes for a whimsical product. It was designed by Martin & Ocean, who seem to be a Japanese design unit but I can’t find any information on them. If you know anything let us know in the comments!

Here are some other cool things that The Verge spotted. If you do attend the festivities make sure you check out the Hokusai manga inspired exhibition.

this post is part of a series of posts on the 2014 Tokyo Designers Week. You can find them all archived here.

Kimono Artist Hiroko Takahashi’s New Studio and Gallery Space

Kimono Artist Hiroko Takahashi New Studio

photos by Shiori Kawamoto | click to enlarge

Discontinued and abandoned factories in Japan are being given a second life. Large companies like Toshiba and Fujitsu have been converting obsolete semiconductor factories into indoor gardens where they hope to turn lettuce into cash.

But it’s not only major corporations who can play this game. Earlier this month artist Takahashi Hiroko, a textile artist who has been broadening the boundaries of kimonos by incorporating geometric, black & white patterns into the traditional wear, announced that she had relocated into a renovated steel factory in Tokyo.

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A Slanted Home With A Hidden Garden on the Roof


“Want to go for a walk in the park? On my roof?” That winning question could be yours if you lived in “Secret Garden,” the latest home designed by architect Hisanori Ban.

It all started many years ago when the current homeowners went camping with the family one summer. They stumbled upon a ravine and decided to venture down into it where they discovered a beautiful yet secretive spot tucked away from the other swarms of campers. After the trip the family returned home only with memories of the distant spot. Never would they think it would be reincarnated into their home.

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Detailed Cross-section of the Kowloon Walled City Created by Japanese Researchers

Detailed Cross-section of the Kowloon Walled City

click images to enlarge (hi-res version of the file available here)

The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was once the most densely populated place on earth. And without a single architect or any oversight whatsoever, the ungoverned hive of interlinking buildings became a haven for drugs, crime and prostitution. This is perhaps why the surreal, M.C. Escher-like structure, where one couldn’t even begin to imagine what life was like, captured the interest of the Japanese.

When it was demolished in 1993 the Japanese public tuned in to national television where it was being broadcast. But what most didn’t know was that, up until the previous evening, a group of Japanese researchers, which included architects, engineers and city planners, and led by historian and cultural anthropologist Hiroaki Kani, had entered the deserted city and had been documenting every nook and cranny up until the bulldozers arrived.

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OK Go’s New Music Video Shot in a Single Sequence in Japan

OK Go latest music video I won’t Let You Down

2,400 dancers with umbrellas, a drone and an incredible 5-minute single sequence shot. That is, in effect, a quick summary of OK Go’s latest music video I won’t Let You Down. But to not watch the video itself would be an incredible disservice to you and your Monday morning. Trust me. They won’t let you down.

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Sponsor // Create Realistic Mixed-Media Waterscapes with a Free Guide from Craftsy


Do you wish you could recreate the wonder of the ocean on canvas? Learn how to draw and paint crashing waves with Craftsy’s free, exclusive guide, Secrets to Creating Realistic Waterscapes in Mixed Media, by artist Antonella Avogadro.

With 21 pages packed with step-by-step mixed media tutorials, tips and tricks, you’ll learn how to make beautiful waterscapes you’ll be proud to hang in your home. Enjoy foolproof techniques for drawing flowing water, painting crashing waves and painting a picturesque pond. Plus, gain the skills to draw water drops and much more. Download the free PDF guide instantly and enjoy it forever.

Watercolor Paintings of Animals with Ladylike Legs by Akiko Kobayakawa

animal legs watercolors by Akiko Kobayakawa

Akiko Kobayakawa is a young, Tokyo-based artist who creates sensuous, delicate paintings with watercolors and Japanese sumi ink. Her work often features animals, flowers and landscapes with slightly surreal elements mixed in every once in a while. In her latest series of “animal paintings” Kobayakawa takes her surrealism to greater heights by depicting animals posing while showing off their long, sexy legs.

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Introducing the Spoon & Tamago Tokyo Guide

tokyo-guide-spoon-tamago 3

Throughout all the years of blogging, one of the most common emails we’ve gotten is, “hey I’m going to Tokyo. What should I do?” And as guilty as we feel, we were simply unable to to respond to these many requests. But we felt like something needed to be done because it was clear that people wanted something a but more customized than your average tour guide. So today we’re happy to announce Spoon & Tamago’s Tokyo Guide.

The guide is divided into 2 parts:

  1. Custom, curated guides by long-term Tokyo residents. These guides are meant to be intimate, deep-dives into Tokyo’s many small neighborhoods. They’re created in Jauntful and are readable, shareable and printable.
  2. A continuously updated, interactive selection of hot spots and best-kept secrets. We’ve taken all the places we love (and think you’ll love) and divided them into 6 different categories: New, Eat, Shop, Relax, Play and Art Shows.

Play around with the Tokyo Guide and let us know what you think! We hope you like it.

EN ROUTE GINZA: fashion meets sports in this new Tokyo select shop

en route ginza

photos by Kenta Hasegawa courtesy Schemata Architects

en route ginza wearable tokyo“Wearable Tokyo.” That’s the concept of En Route, the new select shop and concept brand backed by Japanese fashion powerhouse United Arrows. “No cars, no taxis, no buses, no trains” reads the mission statement. Just walking, cycling and running.

And their new store that just opened in Ginza proposes a new metropolitan life that blends city casual with contemporary running wear.


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The Women of Osamu Tezuka

tezuka osamu women 1

The illustrator and manga author Osamu Tezuka was a visionary who single-handedly catapulted Japanese comics into a league of their own. Without the “god of manga,” the art form would surely have evolved differently. Tezuka proved that comics were not only for kids. Under his talent and imagination they could effectively tackle complex topics like immortality, religion and Hitler.

And those who were familiar with his nearly 700 series of works know that Tezuka wasn’t afraid to point his pen at the female body. On numerous occasions both slender and sumptuous nudes were incorporated into his work. And now, thanks to a titillating exhibition at Gallery Kai, the sensuous protagonists of Tezuka’s world will be on display for all to see. (Needless to say, there is some mild nudity after the link.)

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