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Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008

ON DESIGN

Designer wine racks, light bulbs, place mats and more


Northern hangers

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Started in 2003, the CREER line of furniture has always been produced at acclaimed craftsman Yukio Yoshida's Hokureikohsho atelier in Hokkaido. With the line's recently announced summer collection, it now joins to.mo.mi, a brand specializing in wooden products. Designed by Noriyuki Ebina, the entire CREER line maintains an elegant sense of restrained design that shows off the beauty of its materials. The newest additions to the series include the CREER Personal Chair, Ottoman, Hanger and Hanger Rack. The rack is a perfect example of everything the series gets right: hard lines mixed with occasional curves and a natural oil finish that exquisitely shows off its walnut body. The Hanger Rack retails for ¥189,000 and can be purchased along with other products from the CREER page at the to.mo.mi Web store or at the Asahikawa Furniture Center CREER store in Hokkaido.

www.tomonishop.jp; www.creer-jpn.com

Simple yet sophisticated

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Beautifully designed objects don't have to be expensive. Some designers, such as Gaku Otomo, try to innovate by producing reasonably priced products. Produced for the lovely Oishii Kitchen collection of kitchenware, Otomo's Wine Rack is a prime example of how good design can be affordable. A piece of white cardboard folds into a structure that holds up to five bottles of wine. The shapely design hides its modest material, turning the rack into an accessory anyone could be proud to show off in their home.

Priced at ¥1,980, the Wine Rack can be purchased from the Oishii Kitchen Web store.

o-kitchen.com

Post-Bulbism

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Designer Kouichi Okamoto, who works under the brand name Kyouei, continues to delight with his latest creation, the Bulb Lantern, a fun take on the traditional Japanese lantern. Originally created for Designboom Mart, the sales bazaar at the 2008 Stockholm Furniture Fair, Okamoto's new product is out now. Like Italian designer Ingo Maurer, who made a plastic lamp in the shape of a light bulb, Okamoto produces a visual pun that uses the familiar outline of an everyday bulb. The design nods to Japanese tradition, though, by being made out of lantern paper. The Bulb Lantern is now available through the designer's Web site, but as with most of Kyouei's other products, it will probably be displayed sometime soon at Tokyo's design boutiques.

www.kyouei-ltd.co.jp

Natural aesthetics

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The Japanese designer known as Nosigner uses his anonymous monicker to denote a philosophy of invisible design that accentuates the idea over the creator. Nosigner's latest creation is based on tradition, reintroducing the age-old custom of eating off leaves to contemporary dining rooms. "A Leaf x 10" is a place mat shaped like a leaf that replicates the detailed vein patterns found on leaves but is 10 times the size of a palm-size sample. "A Leaf x 10," available in three shades, can be ordered from the designer at a price of ¥2,980.

nosigner.com

Schoolhouse chic

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Every time September comes around, I can't help but feel traces of nostalgic longing for the back-to- school season — for the new clothes, new stationery and, of course, a new desk that you would call your own for the coming school year. No surprise, then, that I got excited when I spotted the Hi-X3 Gata chair and desk set from furnishings-manufacturer Houtoku. The title is unimaginative — sounding like some sort of long-lost element from the periodic table — but the design is smart: A tiny hook lets you hang a bag, or, for the naughty school boy or girl in all of us, provides the perfect launcher for elastic-band attacks.

www.houtoku.co.jp



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