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Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Designers hit right groove with samples & remixes
By JEAN SNOW
Sweeping through the chimney
Disguising the tissue box to match your decor is not new, but there always seem to be new fun ways to do it.
Di Classe has introduced two felt covers to add to your living-room landscape: the Musha Musha and House. The former has cows grazing, which is cute, but our favorite is the House, which turns your next tissue into the billowing smoke coming out of its chimney.
House is available in red, gray and white, and Musha Musha comes in green, gray and white. Both are priced at ¥2,310, and are available from Di Classe's Rakuten store.
Whether the weather is fine
Taking a cue from Mother Nature, designer Hideyuki Kumagai has come up with a barometer that couldn't be easier to read.
The Leaf thermometer not only looks like a leaf, it acts like one. When the weather is nice and the temperature at a comfortable 20-25 degrees Celsius, the leaf remains a vibrant green; as it gets colder, the leaf turns brown, and as it gets hotter, it turns yellow. We're not quite sure how it works — it's a pure paper product — but it's quite the novelty. A pack of either five large leaves (65 x 167 mm) or eight small ones (43 x 112 mm) costs ¥840, and they can be purchased from H Concept's online store.
H Concept: www.h-concept.jp/fs/hshop/c/leaf.
Nendo looks to Singapore
Nendo makes yet another appearance in this column, though this time the company is introducing a Singaporean brand — K%. Nendo cofounder Oki Sato directed the design of this new line of products, which was launched and showcased in full this year at the Milano Salone. We took a peek — and there's a lot to like.
The collection, titled "Black & Black" (yes, it's all black), includes collaborations with the Singaporean firms Studio JuJu and Exit Design, and all the pieces reveal a level of minimalism that is certainly in keeping with Nendo's M.O.
From a full collection of chairs, tables, storage units and shelves, we were particularly impressed with the Melt chair, a structure whose back and armrest rely on one continuous line of pipe that runs from one hind leg to a front leg. Pricing of items is yet to be announced, but the brand promises what it calls a "purposeful affordable price."
Sampling the good stuff
Sample has a simple but great motto: to do "a little good." That amounts to bringing together a fantastic lineup of Japanese designers who each year contribute to one or two projects that aim to do "something good" — whether it's through recycling, the promotion of a dying art, or any other worthwhile cause.
There are two collections already: The first consists of iPad and iPhone cases made from recycled car-interior leather, the second uses leftover or reject timber for a range of iPad and iPhone stands.
It's quite a "sample" set of good design, and everything is reasonably priced (around ¥3,000-¥10,000). For every sale of a stand, the brand also plans to donate a portion of profit to organizations involved in the preservation of mountainous regions. All items are available on the Sample website.
Sample Products: www.smpl-prdcts.com.
Hoorah for the little fans
If keeping cool as you sweat away over your computer or laptop is becoming a priority for you, Yuen'to has come up with a practical, cost-efficient and eco-friendly solution.
Naori Miyazaki's Mini Ele-Fan is a compact USB device that can also be plugged into the mains (though you'll need to purchase an adapter for this). There's also a small compartment in which you can place a swab of aroma-oil-dipped cotton to create a scented breeze. Best of all, the bendy tube of the fan allows you to direct the breeze to wherever it's needed.
The Mini Ele-Fan sells for ¥5,250 and is available in white, gray and green. There's also a larger Ele-Fan 2 priced at ¥10,500, which is available in white, beige and light blue. Both can be ordered from Idea's online store.