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Thursday, March 25, 2010
Stationery players to watch
By JEAN SNOW
A handkerchief not to be sniffed at
Mike and Yuri Ableton's Postalco returns to the column with a brand new collection that once again sends all the right messages. A diverse array of goods, the releases include a rain cape, new editions of their Bridge bags (duffel, shoulder, and A4-size), and pressed-cotton wallets. We particularly like "Rye," the new addition to the Handkerchief Envelope collection. The "handkerchief envelope" — a square of strong, thin paper, folded into a simple envelope — is this time decorated with a beautiful pencil-drawn pattern. Envelopes are 21.7 x 10.3 cm and sold in sets with bordered cards, plain cards, or on their own. A single Handkerchief Envelope set costs ¥420, a pack of six envelopes, ¥1,575. Be sure to drop by the Postalco shop near Tokyo Station to see these items.
On Design favorite Fumie Shibata is back — this time in collaboration with Japanese stationery mainstay Kokuyo. Shibata has contributed five items to the new Trystrams line of business accessories, which also includes contributions from famed designer Michio Akita and Flower Robotics' Tatsuya Matsui. Her Seamless pen case and card case (both at ¥2,625), Spread A4-size carrying case (¥4,725) and Smooth Style calculator (¥4,200) with protective case (¥6,300) are simple and sleek in design. Each item is designed to complement one another, with a few color options so that you can mix and match. The pen, card and calculator cases are made of felt, while the carrying case is made from nylon, and all have magnetic strip fasteners.
Greening your reading material
If you don't have a green thumb but still want to bring some foliage into your home, why not plant a lawn in your library? Yuruliku's GreenMarker is a brilliantly simple product based on the idea of using blades of grass as book marks. Each Greenmarker is made of re-adherable paper (like Post-It notes) which you can use to mark pages or interesting passages in a book. Since each marker looks like a single blade of grass, the more you use, the greener the effect. GreenMarker can be bought directly from Yuruliku's online shop. One pack of 75 markers sells for ¥735 and includes three different size blades of grass, so you can give your lawn an uneven, more realistic look.
Pin together your notes
We've covered plenty of stationery items this month, so now let's take a look at a way to decorate the stationery. Kyoto-based Tokka — with a name and aesthetic that draws its inspiration from Scandinavia — has a new novelty stamp that prints the image of a safety pin. If might sound daft, but it can add a playful touch to your correspondence — safety-pin shut the back of an envelope or safety-pin a label to the front of it. This is just one of several novelty stamps from Tokka, who have also come up with an envelope-string clasp and a box clasp, both of which are part of what the company calls its "Fake" line. The Safety Pin Stamp is available in small at ¥840 and large at ¥1,260. All Tokka items can be purchased directly from the brand's online store.
Keeping normal time
Tokyo-based designer Ross McBride's Normal Timepieces are actually far from "normal." In his 20-plus years in Japan, McBride has adopted a minimalist aesthetic that give his line of watches, launched in 2006, a distinctive image. The main characteristic of the standard line — the "Extra Normal" — of his self-produced brand is stunning: The hour hand is replaced by disc that covers the entire face of the watch or clock and has a small opening just big enough to let a number — the hour — peek through. Available on the Normal online store, black/white variations of the watches are ¥23,100 with a leather strap and ¥24,150 with stainless a mesh strap. The Extra Normal Grande, which has a larger case, is sold for slightly more, while the Extra Normal Wall Clock (in black or white) is available at ¥15,750.