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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

ON DESIGN

Hanabi light, Kai series of pots and kettles, 60VISION bags, Sharp cordless phones


Special to The Japan Times

Anyone who follows this column regularly might accuse me of being a slave to all that is white -- and with a name like "Snow," that criticism does seem justified. So in order to get it all out of my system (at least for a few months), this month I'm covering all things white. There is a zen-like satisfaction in a white product -- instead of imposing a particular chromatic texture that, in the end, has a great deal of influence on how the product is viewed, white lets the industrial design shine through.

Hanabi

Hanabi light

Let's kick things off with a lighting accessory, something that quickly comes to mind when thinking of white, in the form of the Hanabi light from Nendo's Oki Sato. I swear that its color wasn't the first thing that attracted me to it (but it didn't hurt). The Hanabi -- Japanese for "fireworks" and made up of the characters for "flower" and "fire" -- lives up to its moniker by quite literally "blooming" as it gets switched on, taking on a shape that lets it spread its luminosity.

I'll also point out that Nendo is behind the interior of one of the brighter spots of the so-far disappointing Omotesando Hills shopping complex, the design-friendly select shop Idea Frames. It's just a shame they had to make it next to impossible to find the store, burying it in the lower levels with no direct connection to the rest of the complex.

For more information, see nendo.jp or call (03) 3954-5554

Kai

Kai series of pots and kettles

This time, I wholeheartedly admit that our lust for all things white was front and center when it came to selecting the Kai series of pots and kettles from Kyowa. Designed by Makoto Koizumi, the Kai series provides a beautiful blend of white exterior with natural wood handles, and is just the kind of thing I need to add a sense of style to my kitchen (to put alongside last month's electric kitchen accessories I featured from Amadana). Already getting mentions in plenty of style magazines, there seems to be a clear concensus that this collection is a hit. With the different pieces averaging 5,000 yen, I'd say it's a fair price to pay -- consider me sold.

For more information, see www.kyowaweb.co.jp/

In the bag

60VISION bags

Launched last year by D&Department, the 60VISION brand has a simple mission: bringing back classic '60s Japanese designs by way of the original makers. To do so, they've managed to get those original makers to not only start manufacturing the original products again, but to also offer some news twists, mostly through added colors or patterns. Covering all aspects of interior decor, the brand goes one step further by also incorporating lifestyle-related items, as in the luggage and bags of Ace 60 (from original maker Ace). All bags from the Ace 60 collection come in a variety of colors, but of course, I'm favoring the white ones, which I think offer just the right amount of simplicity and stylishness to an already elegant product. And besides, white goes well with pretty much everything, so it's easy to accessorize. For the best look at all the items and different collections of 60VISION, we recommend checking out the special space devoted to it at Shibuya's Loft (and of course D&Department's own stores in Tokyo and Osaka).

See www.d-department.jp/ or call (03) 5758-3851.

Denwa

Sharp cordless phones

A product roundup wouldn't seem complete without some sort of electronic presence -- this is Tokyo after all -- and my pick in that category goes to the new digital cordless phone (JD-S10CL/CW) from Sharp. Start with a simple form and compact shape, add a wide range of functionality through a display screen -- it almost feels like a paired-down mobile phone -- and finish off with a base that lets you easily reposition the phone facing any way you want (the charging base rotates 360 degrees). We could point out that the phone also comes in black and red, but by now you must realize where our true loyalties lie.

See www.sharp.co.jp/ products/jds10cl/index.html


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