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Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009
Designs about simplicity, shredding and shedding light
By JEAN SNOW
Back to basics
When Naoto Fukasawa collaborated with furniture manufacturer Maruni earlier this year, they created two new series: the wood-based Hiroshima and Tradition, a modern take on some earlier Maruni collections. Both series present furniture that truly showcases Fukasawa's pared-down aesthetic. This autumn, a few new pieces join the Hiroshima series: the Sideboard 160, an extendible Rectangular Table, and the Coffee Table 80, all available in beech, matte-black beech and oak. The update also introduces new fabrics for the series' sofa and lounge chair available in ivory, dark brown, and black. All these are currently on display at Isetan Shinjuku, in the 5th-floor furniture area.
Keeping doors open
Tired of having doors slam in your face? Japanese maker Teramoto and design brand H Concept have the solution in the form of the predictably named DoorStop, This rubberized doorstopper is attached to the bottom of the door and activated by being pushed down with your foot — you don't even have to bend over. The one caveat is that the DoorStop is magnetic and can only be used on steel doors. Available in stylish green, red, brown and gray, a DoorStop costs ¥3,990.
Shredding paper with paper
Have an embarrassing letter? A dreadful first draft of your novel? Or just a giant pile of old bills? Paper shredding isn't just for spies and corporate management. Ryoji Takahashi's Paper-Pipe Shredder, winner of the 2009 "Excellent" category of the id Design Awards, turns what is traditionally a dull piece of evidence-shredding hardware into something quite stylish.
Unlike the usual bulky office device, the Paper-Pipe Shredder is a compact hand-held unit that can be easily hidden in a drawer. It not only looks good but being made from a paper tube, it also has an ironic twist. Now in production, expect the Paper-Pipe Shredder to hit stores soon at what Takahashi promises to be a very friendly price.
The little black box
Teaming up with Japanese manufacturer IOTC — a company that exclusively produces charcoal-based products — design studio Mile has come up with an incredibly simple but useful invention. The Sumi Bako is exactly what it says it is: a charcoal box (sumi means "charcoal," bako, "box").
Made of a nonwoven fabric, it's a bag-like box that contains a few charcoal bricks. The charcoal helps control moisture and combats unpleasant odors, making the Sumi Bako useful as a storage container or even a trash can. It won second prize at last year's Toyama design competition and is now available to buy in three sizes — 3 liters at ¥945, 10 liters at ¥1,575 and 30 liters at ¥2,730. You'll find them at the Maturite interior shop in Aoyama and Mitate's Le Bain in Roppongi.
Bright lights, green city
Eneloop — launched back in 2005 by electronics manufacturer Sanyo — is best known for its rechargeable batteries, but it has also brought to the fore a whole host of other energy-efficient "Eneloop Universe" products. These have included portable solar panels, neck warmers, air fresheners and even a bicycle. The latest addition to the growing product line is the Eneloop Lamp. The cordless, bulb-shaped lamp can be used in three ways: As a general lamp, the whole body gives off a soft white light; it can also produce a "healing" blue light; and turned at 90 degrees, it becomes a flashlight, with two beams shooting out from its base. Since it is rechargeable (its charging base also doubles as a stand) it is also cordless, giving it a smooth and almost organic appearance. The Eneloop Lamp sells for ¥14,800.