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Thursday, July 30, 2009
Summertime designs run hot and cool
By JEAN SNOW
Thailand-based designer Craig Anczelowitz has been on an amazing mission to modernize the traditional hand-made stationery from Japanese maker Awagami, fusing a Western aesthetic with the company's traditional craftsmanship through the "Awagami +1" line. The latest addition is Kamon, a collection of products adorned with one of four gold Japanese family crests found by Anczelowitz. Kamon (crests) were used by families to identify possessions and date back to the Heian Period (794-1185). The collection includes a geometrical pencil box (¥1,365), a compact memo pad (¥1,575), an open-spine journal that can lay completely flat (¥1,575), each available with the four crests/color combos.
Idea International's Solar Ball Light is an outdoor light that gets charged up from solar energy during the day. A sensor turns on the light at dusk, so there is no need to remember to turn it on or off. The shape and size maximize absorption of the sun's rays, with between two to five hours of exposure providing eight hours of use. The ball shape also reflects rain (the light is waterproof). A tripod stand for the light can easily be mounted over any surface. The Solar Ball Light is available in four colors (clear, yellow, orange and pink) and sells for ¥1,575.
D-BROS — a spinoff of Japanese creative studio Draft — has garnered a well-deserved reputation over the years for fun and whimsical products, and it's not a stretch to say that the Kudamemo is the line's best release to date. The fruit-shaped memo pads (kudamono means "fruit" in Japanese) are just as functional as they are mesmerizing to look at. The problem really is that you might not want to actually use them so as not to destroy their shape. Luckily, Draft is offering the Kudamemo in crates that include six of either the apple or the pear design and even come wrapped up as you'd see in a grocery store. Kudamemo are sold individually for ¥1,890 or by crate for ¥11,340.
A fan of summer
Idea International has just the prescription for those summer heat woes with the new Circulator Fan. The device circulates air to cool your home (during the winter, it can also be used to circulate hot air). The low energy consumption of the Circulator Fan helps save on energy costs by enhancing the effects of air conditioning. Compact, it fits nicely on top of a desk, or works just as fine on the floor, making it perfect for a futon set. It's also easy to carry around, and fits neatly in any closet for storage. The Circulator Fan is available in white, black, light blue, and light pink, and sells for ¥4,725.
For its latest initiative, Japan Brand — a project to promote traditional industries and crafts in support of regional makers and companies — has collaborated with a foreign design team, the celebrated French duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Named after the region renowned for its lacquer, the Wajima collection is comprised of home accessories that feature the traditional finish. The brothers not only wanted to find inspiration in the techniques of studios found in Wajima, but to also work with the artisans to develop new takes on the traditional art. They will soon offer four pieces for international sales: an LED lamp, a desk light with a tray, a double lunch tray that stays closed with magnets, and a pocket mirror.