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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

ON DESIGN

OVO, DateBlock, VAPE No. 1 NEO and DECO LAMP


Eggish timer

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This column has been quite friendly to Issey Miyake's collection of watches in the past, and no wonder, with superstar designers like Naoto Fukasawa and Tokujin Yoshioka contributing designs that have fast become iconic and easily recognizable. It's time to revisit them because of Shunji Yamanaka's OVO, the sixth addition to the line, and the second watch from Yamanaka (his first was the INSETTO). The smooth bulbous lines — the watch takes its name from the Portuguese for egg — give it a stylish finish that fits the brand quite nicely yet offers a distinct form that we haven't yet seen. I think I've found my next timepiece.

www.isseymiyake-watch.com

Choose your day

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Despite the fact that we're well into the year, you can always add another calendar to the household or office, or even replace your current one. Especially when you are talking about the DateBlock from Fukuoka-based Aru, a calendar with true staying power. The DateBlock comes with movable blocks with which you construct each month yourself at the start of a new one. Its flexible, updatable format means it will never be out of date, and will help soothe those environmental concerns you may be feeling — think of the stacks of paper calendars that end up being thrown out year after year. Available in black or white, the DateBlock also comes in two slightly different forms, the horizontal Yoko and vertical TATE, with a promised wall-mounted version set for release sometime this year.

dateblock.com

Bug-free walkabout

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City-dwellers still have to contend with the annoyance of bugs — especially if, like me, you live in a part of the city that was built over a marsh (the ike, or pond, in Ikebukuro is quite literal). Sure, there are sprays, but this is the age of portability and convenience after all, and so in comes Fumakilla — I've been assured the Wu-Tang Clan-like moniker is just a coincidence — with its Dokodemo VAPE No. 1 NEO. Bringing insect extermination to a new level of portability, the NEO straps around your wrist, providing a barrier of odorless insect repellent; imagine those body defense shields from the Sci-Fi epic "Dune," but without the cool computer graphics. Sure, you're not going to wear it during regular urban outings, but it should make those sport days or even treks to Takao-san or Okutama that much more bearable.

The Good Design-winning NEO is available in four colors (white, gray, pink and blue), and retails for 1,155 yen; www.fumakilla.co.jp.

Retro modern

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Combine the forces of design unit Graf — their full name, Graf Decorative Mode No. 3 Design Products, shows just how seriously they take themselves — the lighting expertise of Flame and the manufacturing know-how of Maxray, and you can pretty much come to the conclusion that the result will be pretty damn special. Case in point, the DECO LAMP. With a striking convex yet blockish form that will enlighten any room, it's a beautiful object, really, and one that should become a top seller at Roppongi's Living Motif. Also try to catch the installation by Graf and Flame at the same shop, which runs till May 31.

Living Motif, 5-17-1 Roppongi; tel. (03) 3587-2784; www.maxray.co.jp

Tea from two

You may be surprised to see mention of the international superstar architectural duo SANAA — a unit made up of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa — in a column about products, but multidisciplinary productions in the world of design is all the rage these days and such odd pairings are less the exception than the norm. A fruitful collaboration between SANAA and Italian designer Alessi has given us the Fruit Basket, a stainless steel tea service that isn't so far removed from the architectural lines seen in the pair's work. The mirror-like shine of the collection — which includes a tray, teapot, sugar bowl, creamer, coffee spoons, mocha cups with saucers and two all-purpose containers — should add class to any table it adorns. Available as a set or sold separately, you'll find the various pieces at the Cassina IXC store in Aoyama.

2-12-14 Minami-Aoyama; tel. (03) 5474-9001; alessi-by.cassina-ixc.com


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