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Thursday, May 27, 2010

ON DESIGN

Smart, seasonal and celebratory


Nature is served

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Designer Nao Tamura's Seasons containers were so well received at last month's Milan Salone — the be-all and end-all of annual design events — that they won the SaloneSatellite Award. Finding inspiration in the traditional Japanese technique of serving food on carved-out produce or wrapping it in leaves, Seasons aims to bring a touch of green to your table setting. Tamura's Seasons are made of silicone, which assures a light yet sturdy form that is also flexible, making the leaf-shaped range of dishes easy to roll up. Best of all, they can be used in a microwave oven and cleaned in a dishwasher. No word yet on pricing or availability, but the designer is currently working on production pieces and tells us that a release should come soon.

www.nownao.com

Now you see it, now you don't

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Idea International describes its new Magic Umbrella as a "stress-free compact umbrella," and that sounds just about right. This compact kasa comes with a hard plastic shell that serves as both the umbrella's cover and its handle. It's "stress free" because as any user of public transportation knows — especially during the rainy season — the biggest annoyance when coming in out of the rain is figuring out what to do with your dripping closed umbrella. With the Magic Umbrella, problem solved, case closed. Released as part of Idea's "life solution" label Yuen'to, it comes in four colors (red, khaki, sky blue and black) and sells for ¥3,990.

www.idea-in.com/yuento/product/magicumbrella/index_en.html

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Hanging out in the living room

If you're not too worried about spending a bit to spruce up your living room, then let us point you in the direction of Koichi Futatsumata's new Hammock table for Tokyo-based interior goods producer E&Y. The beautiful glass top reveals a rattan basket below where you can show off some of your favorite books or knickknacks, while keeping the table top free of clutter. Another slightly unintended use is that the hammock could certainly provide a great resting place for your lazy cat. The Hammock table will cost you ¥199,500, and orders are now being taken for a June release (the initial stock will be limited).

www.eandy.com/en/collection

Stacked 'n' sturdy

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Leave it to Chiaki Murata and his METAPHYS label to produce the slickest and most functionally sound bento box you've likely ever seen. The ingenuity of the Ojue lunch box is that the outer shell has a vertical orientation that lets you stack its three small containers (plus the matching chopsticks, which come with a case that doubles as a rest). What's so special about this? Stacked, the cases create a form that slides easily into tote bags or messenger bags, which a lot of us use on a daily basis. With this better fit, food is kept upright and it doesn't get an extra toss while on the go. The Ojue lunch box is available in white, black, brown, pink and green, and sells for ¥2,800 with chopsticks; ¥2,300 without. www.metaphys.jp

Baby's first signature

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How's this for a way to commemorate the birth of your newborn? Otete & Anyo — produced by the newly founded product-design label Rezon, an offshoot of art director Hideo Kawamura's design studio KHA (Kawamura Hideo Activity) — are a pair of custom-made stamps that replicate the hand and footprints of your young one. The names used for the stamps, "otete" and "anyo," are children's expressions for those particular body parts in Japanese. Orders are made through a Web site, where you follow instructions on how to send in hand and feet prints so that they can be converted into stamps. The stamps come engraved with the name and birthday of your newborn and are presented in a lovely wooden box. Each stamp sells for ¥8,800, and the site takes international orders.

www.kha.jp/rezon and www.otetetoanyo.com



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