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Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005
Spore's lighting solutions, Kenichiro Ohmori's Ice Partition, My Shade chair, Ryu Line Black Series, Metaphys' Factory
By JEAN SNOW
Special to The Japan Times
The Japan debut of 100% Design, an event held during Tokyo Design Week earlier this month, was a strong one, which emphasized cutting-edge interiors. The show already has a well-earned reputation in London as one of the top events on designers' calendars. Although most of the big manufacturers in the field were well represented, we're turning our spotlight on a few of our favorite picks from some of the smaller, mostly independent creators.
As far as names go, Spore doesn't really conjure up visions of attractive products for your home's interior, but Chihiro Tanaka's malleable materials and odd shapes make the Spore lamp a pleasant, if surprising, lighting solution. His use of fabric reflects time spent working under Issey Miyake, as well as an educational background in the field of fashion technology.
A glacier front
The three designers that form Bridge, a Japanese-Korean unit working in "new experimental product design," made a good showing with their intriguing and creative interior items. One such piece is Kenichiro Ohmori's Ice Partition, an attractive way to "divide" the space in your home. A walnut frame holds up an array of white plastic that creates an ice-like wall that is neither too obtrusive nor overly opaque.
The home turf
The booth of Izumi Hamada and Hideo Hashimoto's PD Design was a treasure trove of playful products, such as the My Shade chair (using reflective material, it can appear as different shapes, depending on the angle of light) or a squeezable light bulb. But the hard-to-miss item was their Green Day collection, made up of a rug and multipurpose mats covered in synthetic green grasslike fibers, creating an interior lawn environment that you don't ever have to mow.
Spooned by the moon
A pleasant discovery on the show floor was the Ryu Line Black Series collection of elegant yet simple wooden chairs, produced through the Japan Design Made China project, which brings the traditional manufacturing talents of China together with Japanese design. Each chair in the series has is its own strong identity. The Moon chair in particular has an interesting take on armrests, taking its name quite literally from its crescent shape.
It's our nature
In terms of sharp, simple design, Metaphys certainly offered one of the most irresistible showcases: a line of striking white products, ranging from stationery and furniture to games and gardening accessories. Of particular interest was their collection of interior grass-display bases collectively known as Factory. Available in square, rectangular and circular shapes (and even one that looked like a light stand), these beautiful framelike items help bring a touch of "natural" green into any home or office.
To hide and protect
A futuristic parking station, the Bike Protector serves as a great reminder of how collaborations -- here Yukiharu Takematsu's architectural design office E.P.A and the artist group GELCHOP (Ryota Morikawa and Tetsuya Ozawa) -- can help find creative solutions to old problems. Japanese cities would do well to look into equipping their municipalities with these.