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Thursday, May 28, 2009
Design innovations that come naturally
By JEAN SNOW
A cool dry
Hairart Japan has just the thing to keep you hair dry and looking great during the up coming humid summer months. Its new, nameless hairdryer uses tourmaline crystals and negative ions to create a process that will dry your hair faster than most competing hairdryers while decreasing the chance of hair damage due to its low heat setting. Aimed at salons as well as home use, the dryer comes in three trendy collections, from the Modern and Pop series to the beautiful wood-pattern exterior of the Natural series (each model ¥28,000).
So treat your hair to the same kind of attention at home that you would expect from your regular visits to the hair salon. (Note, even though Hairart the company has an American counterpart, the hairdryer — developed in Tokyo — is currently only available in Japan.)
Japanese designer Nosigner continues to rack up the awards, recently with prizes from the Japan Sign Design Association, Japan Commercial Environment Designers Association, and Design for Asia competitions. There's no doubt that his latest project, a collaboration with woodcraft workers from Tokushima Prefecture, will add to his growing collection too.
Nosigner is both the designer of all the products and creative director of the new brand that goes by the name of Tokushima, AWA. The line so far includes four pieces: Truss, a shelf that takes its design cues from triangles (¥196,000); Tr/Sq/Rh, a series of accessory cases and pen stands in three shapes that have magnets so that they can be combined (¥2,980-¥4,800); Hex, a sofa wrapped in plywood that turns the armrests into side tables (¥210,600); and Squares, a mathematically inspired collection of drawers (¥450,000).
All pieces are currently on show at the Claska hotel's Mix Room exhibition space in Meguro.
The mists of time
Celebrated product designer Masayuki Kurokawa has followed up 2006's Kiri Watch with the Kiri Clock. Kiri is Japanese for "morning mist," and as with Kurokawa's original design, the clock plays with the idea of "fuzziness" by featuring a frosted glass cover. Such minimalism is not only delightful in its simplicity but also promotes the idea of slowing down — even breaking free — from one's dependence on rigorous schedules. The angled rubber base rotates independently of the face, providing varied levels of textures when viewing the time.
The Kiri Clock was released this month and sells for ¥7,350.
Grass for drops
It's turning into an annual tradition: With Japan's rainy season just around the corner, it's time to take a look at a new umbrella stand for the home. Di Classe, an 18-year-old Japanese company better known for lighting products, is expanding a recently launched line of accessories with the G-Umbrella Stand. Unlike designer Kyouei's Umbrella Pot, that used raindrops dripping from umbrellas to water a plant at the base, the short steel and aluminum stand of the G-Umbrella opts for a chunk of artificial turf in producing the same appearance of greenery. Thus the G-Umbrella is easier to clean up — simply pull out a tray to drain accumulated rain water. The stand comes in black and white versions, each priced at ¥9,975.
The AC Adapter MIDORI has graduated from being a prototype — that was first shown publicly when it was known as VINE — to becoming a production model that joins mobile-phone service-provider KDDI's new stylish iida (innovation, imagination, design, and art) collection of phones and accessories. Produced by Shunsuke Umiyama under his MicroWorks design label, the MIDORI is an adapter for your phone that camouflages the boring black cables we're all used to with a covering of green and plastic leaves. The first accessory released for the iida brand, consider it a sign that future releases will be worth a look.
Limited to to a production run of 20,000, the AC Adapter MIDORI is sold for ¥1,365 at all KDDI stores and the company's online store.