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Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010
For the office and home, work and play
By JEAN SNOW
Some warmth for the New Year
Now it's mid-winter, some of us in non-insulated apartments are likely to be suffering a bit more than usual, which is why the Plus Minus Zero's new Infrared Electric Heater is a handy little helper. You already know it's going to look good — coming from the house that design superstar Naoto Fukasawa built — and it's certainly a nice take on that essential, at least in Japan, of winter home appliances. It can be used to supplement your regular home heating or it can warm up a small room all by its lonesome. It's also equipped with a kill switch in case it falls over. Priced at ¥3,990, it comes in enough colors to match any decor (beige, red, brown, pink, and gray) and can be purchased online through Plus Minus Zero's web store.
Memory close at hand
"With this ring, I store thine precious memory." That's how the saying goes, right? OK, maybe that's only for the geek crowd, but surely there's someone in your circle of friends — or maybe even you — who'd get a kick out of wearing a ring that can actually store (in data terms) real sentimental value? Produced by Gung, the same company behind the Kaoirio emoticon stamp that made a huge mark on the blogosphere earlier this year, the Memoring is a 2GB USB memory stick in ring form. Save some precious moments on it . . . or whatever info you like. Available at a Japanese ring size of 11, there are three models — pink "MOMO," yellow "YOU," and transparent "MAMI" — each priced for ¥3,000. All are available on Gung's website.
Playing with blocks
Following last month's fantastic Gravity Pearls by Nosigner, this month we have another magnet-related product — but a bit more playful, as you'd expect from H Concept's whimsical +d brand. Designer Senichiro Watanabe's Pitacoro is sold as a pack of small, colorful, random-shaped block magnets that you can use individually as fridge magnets or, if you're more creatively minded, stick together to construct card holders, sculptures and anything else you might think up. Each pack of five is ¥840 and there are seven color combinations (four blocks of a main color and one block of a complementary color). As with all of H Concept's products, you can order directly from the company's online store.
Change your view of time
Tokyo-based designer Ross McBride is known for some terrific watches released under his Normal brand. More recently, he has been collaborating with Idea International's Untrod line, which we covered last year in this column. Now he has launched two new additions to that line, the Skew and the Madokadoke, and we're especially taken by former. A digital watch that has all the bells and whistles you'd expect (times zones, alarm, stopwatch, backlight), the real kicker of the Skew is that its case design lets you tilt the face 30 degrees left or right. Now you can choose which viewing angle suits you best, whether you're a right- or left-handed user. Available in three variations, it cost ¥21,000 and can be purchased through Idea's online shop.
Candles without the fire
If there's one thing my wife gets especially nervous about when we leave the house, it's whether we've left any candles or incense sticks burning somewhere. Replacing candles with Di Classe's Cuore then is probably a good idea. This electric LED lamp gives off a flickering flame-like light and is covered with a frosted case. You can barely tell the difference between the Cuore and a real candle lamp. Turning it off, too, comes naturally: Simply blow on the case as you would a candle. It's also waterproof, making it the perfect companion to a long, relaxing hot bath. Best of all, a single Cuore is a very reasonable ¥945 (although if you want a recharger — on which you can load up to 4 lamps — it'll cost ¥3,990). Cuore can be purchased via the Di Classe website.