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Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009
Designer standouts perfect for holiday gifts
By JEAN SNOW
With another Tokyo Designers Week now behind us, this month we take a look at a few of our favorite items from the event, some of which might just make the perfect Christmas gift.
Great box sets
Produced by Takashi Tsunoda (Twelvetone), Pneuma Box offers paper-craft lovers something that most paper models don't: the power of transformation. A simple but effective idea, Pneuma Box is a set of four U-shaped blocks, which you fold into shape yourself. You don't even need to cut out the pieces or use glue. Each block has a different colored pattern and they slot together to form all manner of designs: an octopus, dog or deer; a man with a hat or even a slightly comical "angry stone statue." The sets were sold at DesignTide Market for ¥1,260 and both the colorful "Animals" and the monotone "Original" are now available online. They should also be popping up in gift stores in time for Christmas.
Can't stand the rain
It's been a very wet fall season in Tokyo, and the quest for the perfect umbrella stand — an obsession of mine — continues. Prato, designed by Naoki Terada (Teradadesign) for the R.F. Yamakawa company, is simple in form, rather like a small patch of oversize blades of grass. Made of polyurethane, the spikes are solid, yet flexible enough to support any size of umbrella, and, despite its compact size, one Prato can hold up to 21 umbrellas. Pratos costs ¥4,200 and are available in black, gray, white, pink, purple, light green and dark green.
Peace and good will
"Typography meets fashion" in Berlin-based designer Ryotaro Bordini Chikushi's Peace Sweater project, which aims to promote the universal message of peace. The sweater is designed by Erika Ohashi from Tokyo-based Issey Miyake and the peace-message composition is provided by graphic designer Ian Lynam. The words for "peace," written in various languages, were created by the following international who's who of design: Stefan Sagmesiter (Latin), Ahn Song-Soo (Hangul), Oded Ezer (Hebrew), Dainippon Type Organization (Japanese), Alexander Gelman (Russian), Behrouz Hairiri (Farsi) and Da Wang (Chinese). A limited edition of 1,000, the sweaters are available in both men's and women's styles and in four color combinations, each selling for 110 euro.
Lighting on the edge
&design's latest batch of prototypes shown during Tokyo Designers Week continues the team's trend of aptly named, fun products. Our current favorite is the Edge Light. Though not available to buy yet, it's so sleek that we just have to mention it. As the name implies, it's a lamp that slides under a corner edge of a carpet where it gives off subdued lighting. anddesign.jp
The design force of Gravity
Designer Atsushi Sakai, working under the name Gravity, has created an unusual-looking and useful portable stool. Made of a hardened felt material — both comfortable and sturdy — the 360° collapses into a block for storage and opens accordion-like into a cylindrical stool. Again, this is still a prototype, but we hope the 360° will be in production soon.
Isolation Unit's Teruhiro Yanagihara — an "On Design" favorite — has art-directed Karimoku New Standard, a new line of contemporary furniture for Karimoku. The collection's team of international designers not only take Karimoku into a new creative direction, but they also promote forest conservation by creating all the pieces from wood thinned from tree plantations, something usually considered as a waste product. Yanagihara himself has contributed some designs, our favorite of which is the Nook, a treelike coat stand that "grows" with additional units.