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Thursday, April 29, 2010
Everything is not as it seems
By JEAN SNOW
Nendo gains weight in Milan
The annual design superfest known as the Milano Salone was held earlier this month in Italy, and although Oki Sato is no stranger to the event it was an especially grand year for the designer and his firm Nendo. Showing no less than a dozen projects, which were displayed in various forms and as parts of a variety of booths (and makers) throughout Milan, Nendo's products represented brand names such as Swarovski, Flaminia, Arketipo, Tectona, Plastecnic and Boffi. Sato even presented a private exhibition titled "Chair Garden," which featured a large installation based on the idea of "furniture that grows." He also introduced a Clear Perfume Bottle for 1% products and the ultra-thin Wire Chair, an evolution of his earlier Cord Chair for Maruni, not to mention a few items for Nendo's design project 361°Ichido, including Period, Comma and Quote paperweights (¥3,675 each or ¥10,500 for the set), a collaboration with the Toyama Prefecture-based aluminum casting specialist Takada Seisakujo.
Talk drinking towers
Tokyo-based drinkware company Rivers wants to enhance your "relationship" with your daily drinking habits by offering an extensive insulated "wallmug" line of cups and mugs. One of our favorites is the Wallmug Tower. Ostensibly a simple thermos to keep cold or hot, it also contains a strainer to allow you to use fresh tea and coffee. As you twist the lid, there's a satisfying sturdy-sounding click to let you know when the container is completely open. That aesthetically pleasing streamlined curvy shape also provides a comfortable hand grip, and the muted colors to choose from (black, white, and pink) are understated yet attractive. Available for ¥3,360.
Arms tied around your neck
We don't usually pay much attention to fashion in "On Design," but we couldn't help but love the whimsical designs of Itaru Yonenaga's Sweater Form for the Tou brand. To describe it simply, it's an tiny sweater that is so stretched out from the bottom, it becomes a scarf. Completely unwearable as an actual sweater (unless you're a very tall elf), the sleeves give the scarf some originality in design, but they also allow the wearer to wrap up tight by tying them into extra knots. If you like the Sweater Form, make sure you check out other designs by Tou, like the Mitten Scarf — yes, a scarf made up of extended mittens — or Many Heels, a knitted scarf that looks like its made from sock heels. The Sweater Form is priced at ¥8,925 and is available in a variety of colors.
Slip a banana under the door
The Banana Door Stopper is an oldie but a goodie. Now the release of a new limited-edition version gives us an excuse to feature it again. Incredibly popular — rarely will you find a Tokyo select shop that hasn't carried it at one time — +d's idea is simple and fun: a rubber door stopper in the shape of a spread-out banana peel. The new release is instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever spent time staring at the snack stalls at a Japanese festival. It's the choco-banana. The Chocolate Banana Stopper has a limited run of 1,000 and is priced at ¥1,995. Note that the two original colors, yellow and green, are still available and priced the same.
Carving out some time
Naoki Terada's stunning new clock designs for Lemnos are, as the collection title suggests, "Carved." Subtle, yet immediately noticeable, the numbers on these clocks are carved indents cut so close to the edge of the faces that the top of them are actually chopped off. This gives the numbers a drop-shadow effect that changes depending on where the lighting is in the room. There are three versions of Carved clocks — numerical figures, roman numerals and simple lines — each priced at ¥6,090.