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Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
Warm hearts and home comforts
By JEAN SNOW
Niimi stand goes to pot
If there's one thing the current cold weather streak has us begging for it's a steaming hot meal, and nothing works that magic better than a big old nabe (hotpot). The perfect accessory for such a dish would have to be Niimi's Fire Pot Stand. The design duo — made up of Takuya Niimi and Yuki Niimi — were winners of a gold prize award at the second annual Muji design awards with their multipurpose "Towel with Further Options" (which was later manufactured by Muji). This time it's a stand for pots and kettles that bases its aesthetics on the flames of a gas stove. In keeping with Niimi's multipurpose theme, the grooves in the stand mean it can a double as a chopstick rest. The stand starts at ¥2,626, and goes up to ¥4,200 depending on the surface (casting or mirror) and heat support (low or high) you choose.
MicroWorks ladder sets new rules
Often a product is worth highlighting because of some sort of special functionality, but sometimes a product's value lies in the fun factor. The Ladder Ruler is the latest offering from Japanese label MicroWorks — featuring the works of designer Shunsuke Umiyama — and it certainly falls into the latter category. The sturdy aluminum ruler takes on the form of a miniature ladder, which you simply arrange around your desk, leaned up against a surface. As Umiyama explains, since a ruler is not really used that often throughout the day, you might as well give it a playful quality. The Ladder Ruler comes in two versions: in silver for ¥5,250 and in black for ¥5,775.
A stylish way to call a timeout
Sports fans — and soccer fans in particular — now have a properly stylish watch that they can call their own. The Pentagon Watch and Hexagon Watch — named after the pentagonal or hexagonal frame that surrounds either model's face, and which also make up the shapes found on a soccer ball — were designed by Japanese studio & design for Idea International's creator-oriented Takumi label, using the same simple graphic elements found in their previous timepieces (the Icon and LED watches). The Pentagon Watch (in black) and Hexagon Watch (in white) are each sold for ¥6,300, or can be bought as a set for ¥10,500.
Nendo's Shoe-Horn steps up design
The Shoe-Horn is not only one of the latest creations from prolific designer Oki Sato (Nendo), it's also his first collaboration with Maruni Wood Industry. Finding inspiration in the origin of the shoehorns themselves — which were initially carved out of animal horns — Sato's Shoe-Horn combines two pieces (the shoehorn proper and a stand) into one shape that ends up looking like a horn. Both pieces are carved out of one piece of maple — to assure a uniform wood grain — and stay attached through the use of a magnet. The Shoe-Horn is available in two shades (white and black), and sells for ¥21,000.
Sugie puts a heart on it
Designer Satoshi Sugie wants us to reuse our PET bottles, and his way of encouraging that trend has been to create the Heart Bottle Cap. The idea is simple: a cheap but cute bottle cap that you attach to any PET bottle — removing the container's wrapper then makes the combo look just right. Sugie chose the heart shape both for the "friendly" connotation it projects, but also because it gives a better grip when in use. Popping out of a bag (an eco-bag maybe?), it also signals to others your act of sustainable support. Selling for ¥525, the Heart Bottle Cap comes in eight colors (clear, clear blue, pink, sky blue, clear red, green, white, and yellow).