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Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Toothpaste tube chandeliers, eco-seats and other design highlights
By JEAN SNOW
A toothy light
Released last year (after first being shown at the 2007 edition of the Milano Salone design show), the TU-BE pendant lamp is a collaboration between German lighting master Ingo Maurer and famed international designer, Ron Arad. Arad came up with the idea when working on designs for a toothpaste brand. TU-BE is made of 30 steel and plastic toothpaste tubes, two halogen bulbs and four LEDs, which reflect off the metallic finish of the suspended tubes. The playful creation is being distributed in Japan by Tokyo-based Studio NOI — they also carry the lights of Chihiro Tanaka, which On Design has covered in the past. It certainly doesn't come cheap, with a price of ¥294,000, but a piece like this is just as much a work of art as it is a light source.
A ribbon to await
Mile — comprised of designers Bandai Matsuo, Kentaro Kai, and Kozo Shimoyama — showed a prototype of a new chair, the Crossing Ribbon, last month in Milan at the Salone Satellite exhibition. As the name suggests, the chair looks as if it's made from one continuous line, which the designers describe as being similar to the long obi that wraps around a kimono. The frame is made of iron to enable its unusual design, while faux-leather cushioning wraps around sections of the metal to make it comfortable to sit in. Let's hope Crossing Ribbon makes it into production soon.
Eco-themed designs are all the rage these days, but the Peddy line of products doesn't so much try to play nicely with the environment as literally become part of it. Tokyo-based landscape design office Mindscape has developed the "living furniture for outdoor spaces" — currently a pillowy stool and bench — to give the usual outdoor furnishings you find in gardens or on terraces a real coating of green. Eco Green Mat, a plant matter and soil covering from the Yamazaki Industry Corporation, makes the pieces have a grassy look. Unlike regular furniture, Peddy will require owners to do a bit of maintenance work — such as watering — just as they would for their garden or lawn, but that's a small price to pay for the luxury of such a unique product.
Unfolding a chair
Origami-inspired furniture with contours that replicate, or at least draw from, the folding of paper sheets is a staple of Japanese design, but that doesn't mean that new takes on the idea should be ignored. The ORIZURU by wooden- furniture maker TENDO certainly falls in that particular category. Even though the chair is constructed of maple, the geometrical complexity was created with TENDO's unique plywood-molding technology. The chair's comfortable seat features a gentle, springy cushioning. Priced at ¥102,900, the ORIZURU is available in black, dark walnut, cherry and red.
A vacuum on your back
Ah, the joys of vacuuming . . . wait, let's start this again. What could be "joyful" about having to vacuum your home? Not much, but any vacuum that works better than the norm means less time devoted to the act. Toshiba's compact new Escargot (VC-Z100L) vacuum, a collaboration with Swedish manufacturer Electrolux, can be strung over your shoulder, making it easy to walk around your room — or rooms should you be so lucky — without having to drag around the cumbersome body of a whirring machine. The Escargot is light, weighing in at 2.1 kg, with a 6-meter-long power cord that should be more than enough for the average Japanese apartment. Even better, the noise level stays below 65 dB — almost music to my ears.