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    On: Design

    Selections from Jean Snow's monthly column on On:Design.


    On: Design

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    Backstreet Factory produce popular series of cleverly designed laser-cut sticky notes, including Menmo, little figures that can be stuck in various poses, and Denmo, an array of Japanese exclamations and phrases. The latest range, Japanesque, comprise meticulously detailed laser-cut silhouettes of familiar and traditional Japanese imagery.

    The little things in life | The Japan Times

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    Design unit Hiilo thinks it’s a shame that we put postage stamps on the corner of letters, when the stamp itself is often picturesque enough to be a main feature. So, to give it the attention it deserves, Hiilo have come up with a postcard that frames the stamp — right in the center.

    The little things in life | The Japan Times

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    Printed in red and white — lucky colors in Japan — and offset with raffia lattice backgrounds, the New Year’s Paper Luncheon and Chopstick set comes with five mats printed with auspicious motifs, including this year’s Chinese Zodiac monkey, pine trees and Mount Fuji.

    The little things in life | The Japan Times

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    The Meets Takegami range of stationery has been designed to look like bamboo trunks when rolled up and have the same trunk motif on their binding, while the sticky notes are shaped like bamboo leaves.

    The little things in life | The Japan Times

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    To use a Hibi stick, strike it like a match, let the flame burn out and then either leave it on a saucer it or on a special Hibi mat. The incense burns for 10 minutes. There are five fragrances — lavender, lemongrass, geranium, ylang ylang and tea tree.

    The little things in life | The Japan Times

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    At Style Tokyo Friends’ Home, a new multi-brand boutique in Aoyama, you’ll find goods as eclectic as the outfits, with glittery loafers alongside manga-inspired figurines. There is a wide selection of offerings, for men and women, as well as interior goods for the home. Many of the brands are Japanese, so you can be sure that you’re supporting the local industry.

    From Saint Laurent to Uniqlo | The Japan Times

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    J-pop outfit Suiyobi no Campanella’s newest album, “Zipangu,” has rightfully picked up buzz in Japan, thanks to its whirlwind mix of rap, electronic and pop, making for a dizzying listen where individual songs can go in all sorts of directions. Not only will it make them feel with it, but they’ll also own one of 2015’s most exciting Japanese releases.

    There's no time like the Christmas present | The Japan Times

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    The Hario V60 hand-dripper has long been the classic accessory for coffee lovers who prefer that extra edge of flavor. Now it is available as a set [VSS-1206-OV] with a handsome olive wood stand, plus filter papers and measuring spoon.

    There's no time like the Christmas present | The Japan Times

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    Hip toy brand Kiko+e has just released a minimally designed light wooden airplane, complete with rainbow-bright wings — ideal for any toddler, while its simple wooden Usagi (rabbit) toys, with a gently curved base and monochrome ears, wins cuteness brownie points.

    There's no time like the Christmas present | The Japan Times

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    Graphic unit Cochae has teamed up with two companies to produce some very quirky furoshiki. First is the cute Onigiri (rice ball) made in collaboration with the Yamadamura rice-ball shop in Okayama Prefecture. When folded up, it looks like a rice ball and when used as a wrap, it reveals two large funny faces.

    There's no time like the Christmas present | The Japan Times

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    Aimed specifically at a foreign market, the J+B Design goods include Amaike Textile’s Super Organza, made from 27-micron polyester thread and touted as the thinnest fabric in the world, and Nuno Anuenue’s extra-durable polyester jacquard, which can be woven with any pattern or image a customer desires.

    Updating tradition at Tokyo Design Week | The Japan Times

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    Tokyo Teshigoto, a project by the Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center, proves that bureaucrats have style despite the ill-conceived “Cool Japan.” The initiative promotes 40 traditionally crafted products — including kiriko glassware, shippo cloissone, woodblock prints and hand-bound brushes.

    Updating tradition at Tokyo Design Week | The Japan Times

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    Place to Be is a walnut veneer structure that, like that novelty bird, has its center of mass at a single point. Instead of that point being the beak of a hawk, however, it’s the tip of a star-like sculpture. A meditative ornament, the star balances on a tall pointed stand, and when touched, it gently dips and rotates but never falls.

    Furniture that goes against the grain | The Japan Times

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    Twelvetone’s new outdoor-goods brand Yoka is a range of portable plywood furniture, designed to be easily assembled and then flat-packed for storage. Wood snobs may dismiss plywood as the poor man’s timber, but it’s strong and flexible, and without it iconic 20th-century designs such as Sori Yanagi’s butterfly stool would never have existed.

    Furniture that goes against the grain | The Japan Times

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    Moctave locally sources 30 kinds of wood from Gifu Prefecture and hand crafts everything it makes. The stand-alone works — a chair, stool and small table — are understated with a hint of 1960s Nordic simplicity, but it’s the latest Ostinato series that really pulls out all the stops.

    Furniture that goes against the grain | The Japan Times

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    Giraffe’s new Work to Shop store in Tokyo’s Sendagaya area is now letting you do this yourself with a bespoke service. Starting from ¥15,000, you can design a unique tie by choosing fabric combinations, tie width and decorative motifs. You can also watch Giraffe ties being made by the on-site artisans.

    Smarten up the work day | The Japan Times

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    The Premics A4 Folio, designed by Hokkaido native Chiori Ito, is made from 100 percent local timber — even its hinges and clasps are wooden. This means behind the beautifully minimalist design are some extremely precise construction methods, and Premics embraces high tech such as CNC routers and laser cutters to achieve this.

    Smarten up the work day | The Japan Times

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    The It’s/Kit Pass Case is a flatpacked, fold-it-yourself IC-card holder that takes just 45 minutes to put together. A single sheet of laser-cut leather, it doesn’t need any stitching or glue, just a pair of tweezers and your hands. Yet it’s still detailed enough to have tiny tabs to keep your card snug and a cutout slot so that you can use your thumb to push the card out.

    Smarten up the work day | The Japan Times

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    Aki Inomata, grand prize winner of the YouFab Global Creative Awards 2015 created a "shelter" for hermit crabs.

    Free domestic design competitions | The Japan Times

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    Newsed’s brightly colored recycled acrylic badges and car-seat-belt bow ties have already proved popular at museum shops and select stores, and this competition is one way the brand expands its unusual collection.

    Free domestic design competitions | The Japan Times

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    The Sabae Urushi Award, a brand new global competition, is looking for designs that will help modernize and popularize traditional Japanese lacquerware. This isn’t about simply designing an attractive cup or bowl — entrants are encouraged to think “outside the vessel” as well as consider using glass, metal, resin and even 3-D printing technology.

    Free domestic design competitions | The Japan Times

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    The Kami-Men by Kami Play are three amusing envelopes that look like faces wearing wrestling masks. Each mask’s design draws on a traditional Japanese concept: the red one looks like the decorative mizuhiki paper-cords found on Japanese gift envelopes, while the blue and yellow ones bear motifs based on gourds and arrows, which are lucky symbols in Japan.

    Design sounds good and looks even better on paper | The Japan Times

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    Originally used to embellish accessories of 16th-century samurai armor, koshu inden is a process of stenciling lacquer designs on deerskin. For Siwa x Urushi, urushi artisans have developed a new process to apply lacquer to the brand’s signature crumpled-look paper. The result is a wide range of slippers, bags, book covers and more, all delicately detailed with patterns of tiny droplets of shiny lacquer.

    Design sounds good and looks even better on paper | The Japan Times

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    Tokyo Origami is the sixth in Graphic design unit Cochae's popular series, and this time it offers all the icons of the metropolis. There are 24 new designs — some predictable (sushi and pandas) others charmingly odd (a sento bath and the Easter Island-like Moyai statue in Shinjuku), and as if to prove it’s up to date, there’s even the Tokyo Tower usurper, the Sky Tree.

    Design sounds good and looks even better on paper | The Japan Times

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    Kaori Akiyama of Studio Color has been researching ways to recycle fruit and vegetable peel into a decorative form. After much experimentation, she discovered that boiling floatstone with grape, carrot or orange waste would dye the calcareous rock into attractive soft colors.

    Japan's 'Experimental Creations' at Milan Design Week | The Japan Times

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