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Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2007
MoMA store in Tokyo, plus stylish New Year cards, cat toys and vacuum cleaners
By JEAN SNOW
MoMA Design steps in
There are many reasons to check out the recently opened GYRE shopping complex designed by famed Dutch architectural firm MVRDV in Omotesando: great cafes plus a couple of gallery spaces and some luxurious shopping destinations. But most importantly, the building contains the first international branch (the other three shops are all in New York), of the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) Design Store. The store itself, a collaboration with Japan electronics maker Sanyo (they first collaborated on the shop's online store, which now includes a version for mobile devices), occupies more than 405 sq.-meters, and inside you'll find all the stylish goods — from home and personal accessories to a wide range of books and stationery — that you'd expect to find in a top select shop. Ready to tie the knot? The store also has a wedding gift registry for which soon-to-be newlyweds can sign up.
GYRE 3F, 5-10-1 Jingumae; (03) 5468-5801; www.momastore.jp
The art of privatization
One of the more exciting byproducts from the privatization of Japan Post has been this year's collection of new year cards. Bringing in a big-name designer such as Kashiwa Sato is certainly a surprise, and the resulting collection sure beats the usual assortment of kiddie characters and traditional imagery we're all used to seeing come Jan. 1 (although for fans of those, worry not, as they are still among the various series on offer). The Sato-produced collection includes 35 individual cards, divided into seven sets of five cards each — from "Traditional Red" to a typography-inspired series. The sets will cost you ¥3,500, and not only are they available at post offices and the organization's online store, you'll also find them sold in Tokyo's various branches of LOFT, Aoyama Book Center, Jusco and Ranking Ranqueen.
For cool cats
Pet owners are more than likely going to share some gift-giving love with their precious household companion during the holiday season. If that companion is of the feline persuasion, consider the Arch, a cat toy produced for the interior homeware line Everyday for Collex. The structure, produced by Japanese design unit Ima as part of their JOY collection, is a playhouse that features graphic stylings created by Swedish designer Nina Jobs. The Arch continues the very Swedish aesthetic that Collex specializes in, the likes of which a human will probably appreciate more than a cat. Made of cardboard, it's easy to put together and includes all the holes and multilevel access that even finicky felines are sure to enjoy.
The Arch (¥4,935) is available at the Everyday by Collex store (78 Kyomachi;  391-6530; www.collex.jp). For more from Collex, visit Daikanyama for Collex Living (1-1-4 Aobadai; (03) 5784-5612) and Collex Speakfor (28-2 B1F Sarugakucho;  5459-6378).
Fashion loves a vacuum
Vacuums and fashion? Sure, why not? Especially when those collaborating entities are industrial designer James Dyson of the Dyson vacuum company and fashion authority Issey Miyake. It all started when Miyake used Dyson technology on the catwalk for what later developed into "The Wind" project with Dai Fujiwara and his team at Miyake's A Piece of Cloth. A-POC is a clothing line that forgoes any sewing, with individual pieces produced as one sheet that can later be cut and customized. Fujiwara created outfits included in the Issey Miyake Spring/Summer 2008 collection that were inspired by Dyson. Dyson's response? The DC16 Limited Edition, a cordless hand-held vacuum inspired by the line. Who would have thought that vacuuming could get so fashionable?
Powering the network
When it comes to bringing connectivity to the electronic devices in your home, a wireless network is not always a perfect solution. Those who have had to deal with lost signals in their homes are well aware of the interference issues that can crop up. Consider, then, a power-line communication (PLC) adapter, based on a technology that allows you to piggyback network connectivity over the power lines that already provide electricity throughout the home. Using adapters like Sharp's HN-VA10S and HN-VA40S, you plug in the device you want to hook up to a network — these days not only computers, but anything from game consoles to audio/video gear — into the PLC adapters, which are then plugged into the nearest wall socket. Even better, the smooth silver finish on the Sharp adapters should nicely complement the rest of your gear.