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Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
Tokyo Design Week roundup
By JEAN SNOW
Three weeks ago, Tokyo invited designers from all over the world to show their work at three major design events — Tokyo Designers Week, DesignTide and Design Touch — as well as at a host of other exhibitions scattered across the city. Here are some of our product picks from those shows.
Please note that most of these products were presented as prototypes, with no set manufacturing plans. Our hope is that many of these will see production in 2011.
Whisked away by good design
A lot of the products at Design Week were chosen to show off a new functionality or innovative feature, but Hiroki Takada's Tea Ceremony Chair is all about aesthetics. Featured as part of Tokyo Designers Week's "Professional Exhibition," the bamboo chair takes the form of a traditional Japanese tea-ceremony whisk. Quintessentially Japanese, yet unusual and attractive, it's already found a home in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Arts and Design (MAD).
Humidifer with a little bit of bottle
One Tenth Design — named after the idea that reducing our use of energy by a tenth would increase our environmental efficiency rate by ten times — introduced a few prototypes aimed at limiting our excessive use of natural resources. Our pick is Hollow, a humidifier that lets you use an ordinary plastic drink bottle refilled with tap water, which not only gives the product a unique look, but emphasizes its environmental-friendly aspect of being made of just three components.
Nosigner and HK pearls stick together
Collaborating with HK, a pearl producer, innovative Japanese designer Nosigner has produced a versatile and magical form — the Gravity Pearl. Gravity Pearl is cluster of artificial pearls that are magnetically linked to each other to form various shapes. Depending on how you manipulate it, you can wear it as a ring or a bracelet. The pearls are of different sizes and you can link more than one cluster together to form longer chains for a necklace.
All wrapped up
If there's one trend we noticed at the various design events this year it was a number of products taking inspiration from origami. One of our favorite examples was Naoki Kawamoto's Orishiki lineup. The word itself is a mashup created by Kawamoto — "ori" from origami, and "shiki" from furoshiki, the large cloths often used in Japan to wrap items. Kawamoto's boxlike constructions — a glasses case, a handbag and a suitcase — start off completely flat and have magnetic segments that allow them to be folded into the 3-D objects in question. Visit Kawamoto's website to see a video of his Orishiki concept in action, and you'll likely be wowed, just as we were.
How many times have you lost loose change or keys in the folds of a chair or sofa? Inspired by such little mishaps, architect Daisuke Motogi has turned the culprits, those sofa folds, into the main feature of his new chair design, aptly named Lost in Sofa. His chair has as many folds as possible in which sitters are encouraged to tuck in whatever they may have handy — TV remotes, magazines, books, decorations — it'll even hold a cup of coffee.
A leaf of imagination
The Leaf Letter collection is a series of aerogramlike letter papers printed and shaped like leaves. A collaboration between EDING:POST (designer Tomohiro Kato) and botanical shop NEO GREEN, they are beautifully simple. Write your message on the blank side, then fold it into a envelope.