Sat. 02.16.08

Editor:
Jean Snow
 
   
  Accessories  
 
Parabola Light
Posted on: Jul 25, 2006

keijiashizawa_parabolalight.jpg
The latest from architect/designer Keiji Ashizawa, produced under the Super Robot unit he shares with Tetsuya Hosokawa and Izumi Okayasu, is a light source with the tentative name of "Parabola Light" -- the light is not currently in production, but there are manufacturing plans. Shown at the recent Interior Lifestyle show in Tokyo, it has already garnered a prize: a 2006 JID Design Award. The aluminum bowl with steel legs will use 150W halogen bulbs. After the jump are a few shots of the Parabola Light, courtesy of photographer Daici Ano.

+ Keiji Ashizawa
+ Super Robot

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ABITAX Phone Strap
Posted on: May 8, 2006

Abitax Phone Strap
Already known for its colorful designs -- as well as interesting choice of product categories, going from purses and portable ashtrays all the way to fly fishing equipment -- ABITAX has recently added a new collection of phone straps that certainly fits right in with their growing line of accessories. Available in 12 colors (pictured here are "Cobalt Blue" and "Coral"), they're made of genuine leather and come with either a smooth or nubuck surface. Simple and elegant, just the way we like it.

+ ABITAX

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Modal Speakers by Kunihiro Tsuji
Posted on: Mar 27, 2006

Modal SpeakersSince we've got Salone del Mobile 2006 fever here at MoCo Tokyo HQ, let us finish off today's postings with another Japanese participant, this time the launch of a new speaker for Modal by Osaka-based designer Kunihiro Tsuji (through his company, Kunihiro Tsuji Scientific). Also happening off-site (at the San Paolo Converso), the speakers will be presented as part of an interactive installation that should make of an interesting use of the space -- a former convent church. The speakers themselves will be available in Japan from November of this year.

+ Salone Internazionale del Mobile Milano

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Two Days & Four Products
Posted on: Mar 27, 2006

Kyouei Exhibition
We're big fans of the works of Kyouei, or rather Kouichi Okamoto, and we're quite saddened by the fact that we couldn't make it to Shizuoka for his "Two Days & Four Products" exhibition at the Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art earlier this month. As the images will attest (after the jump), it was a beautiful display of all of his light-related creations, and we can only wish that he'll be able to bring the show to Tokyo sometime in the near future.

+ Kyouei

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Rock, Paper, Scissors
Posted on: Mar 7, 2006

Rocks, Paper, Scissors
Rock, Paper, Scissors is a game known to all, and there's something quite playful about the products from the Japanese design unit of the same name. Take the Pack Lamp for instance, produced by IDEA International, that uses the light bulb's own packaging as its lampshade, or even the Still Green, a vase that is shaped like a regular vase, but only as an outline. It's a fresh and fun take on everyday household items, to help bring a bit of creativity and lightness to your surroundings.

+ Rocks, Paper, Scissors

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Sonia Chow
Posted on: Feb 13, 2006

Uni Light
Fresh from her recent showing at the Canadian Style event, Tokyo-based Canadian multi-disciplinary designer Sonia Chow is on the move. Comfortable as much in the realms of textiles as that of graphics (be it on paper or wood, as her "Two Bits" block print shows), she also impresses with her Uni Light. Deceptively simple with its plumbing hose and cable ties, it received an honorable mention in I.D. (International Design) magazine, and deservedly so. A wound-up spiral that creates an unexpected bright "pod" that immediately becomes the centerpiece of any room, it also just so happens that you can sit on it, which certainly adds to the product's functionality. Catch her in next month's issue of AXIS (120), in the "Creators' Works" section.

+ Sonia Chow Studio

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Snapazoo 03.5391.1933
Posted on: Jan 6, 2006

SnapazooUp until know we haven't really featured many toys (if any) here at MoCo Tokyo. It's now time to break this trend, and we do so with the Snapazoo. An old product from the eighties designed by a university professor (Ross Miller), it was re-discovered last year through eBay by vinyl-figure maker Roughtoyz, who then decided to use it as a lead-off release for their new line of kid-friendly toys, Laughtoys. Although aimed at children, it doesn't take long to realize that pretty much anyone can get addicted to this shape-making wonder, and you'll soon find yourself not only trying to create the suggested animals, but also putting your own spin on some new shapes. On top of the three regular color combinations (orange/purple, pink/brown, blue/green), a special blue/yellow version was created for last year's edition of Swedish Style (part of Tokyo Design Week). Snapazoos can be purchased at Cafe Pause in Ikebukuro, as well as the Laughtoys site. Sweden-based design unit Next Century Modern will also be selling it on their soon-to-be-launched online store (you can already contact them for purchases though).

Full disclosure: this editor participated in the design (with Next Century Modern) of the packaging for the product, and also in its inclusion as mascot of the 2005 edition of Swedish Style. The Swedish Style edition can also be purchased from this editor's personal site.

+ Laughtoys
+ Roughtoyz
+ Next Century Modern

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Ubushina 03.3440.4697
Posted on: Dec 29, 2005

Ubushina Jewelry

As they state on their site, "ubushina means a birthplace in old Japanese terminology," and with that in mind, Ubushina is also a network where today's Japanese designers can be put in contact with craftsmen working in traditional Japanese techniques (from lacquerware to metal work to paper lanterns) to create contemporary items inspired by Japan's past. Their results are gaining some deserved attention (they get a mention in the latest issue of WALLPAPER*), and it's already looking like we can expect some great things from this new form of creative partnership.

+ Ubushina

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Muji Xmas 03.5208.8241
Posted on: Dec 21, 2005

City in the Bag

Even though Christmas isn't really celebrated in Japan, it hasn't stopped retailers from pushing the holiday as something to be thankful for, and of course, to help encourage sales. The once great utilitarian Muji, more and more expanding into pretty much anything a human being would need (including a home), has now joined in the fun with its own special Xmas campaign that includes not only gifts ideas from the regular array of Muji goods, but also a new series of products that have been inspired from countries around the world and then reproduced/repackaged under the Muji brand. It's certainly a nice collection, from toys made of tin and wood to Teddy Bear cushions and even a limited-edition black version of the their famous Naoto Fukasawa-designed Wall-Mounted CD Player (and it even comes with a Muji-compiled Christmas CD). Try to get your hands on the beautiful catalogue also, which is published in four languages (Japanese, English, French, and Chinese).

LINK: Muji Xmas
LINK: Muji

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60 Vision 03.5738.3851
Posted on: Dec 20, 2005

60 VisionWhy go hunting for hard-to-find (and more-than-likely expensive) sixties-era Japanese furniture and accessories when 60 Vision is around. A new brand launched by D&Department (itself an offshoot of the design company Drawing and Manual), its mission is to relaunch and repackage sixties Japanese designs. They've done it by getting in touch with the original makers and then asking them to start producing those classic works, sometimes as they were, other times in new colors. The manufacturers have also gotten into the spirit of things by branding their collection appropriately (for instance, Ace becomes A60). Not limited to the D&Department stores (they have shops in Tokyo and Osaka), you can now find 60 Vision-branded products in select stores throughout the city.

LINK: 60 Vision
LINK: D&Department

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& Design
Posted on: Dec 15, 2005

Icon Watch

Following a visit to their booth at the recent 100% Design Tokyo event, part of this year's Tokyo Design Week, the collection of products from & Design has been on my mind. The unit is comprised of four designers (Tetsu Miyazawa, Shigenori Ichimura, Keiichi Minamide, and Maho Kusano) who have pooled their multi-disciplinary talents together -- everything from GUI design and graphics to products and environmental spaces -- to form something that seems to be pushing the boundaries of playfulness and utility in product design, or as they call it, "Characterized Design." Iconic designs turn ubiquitous items into things of beauty, like the Trash-box that looks like it popped out of the Mac OS, or the Icon Watch (pictured above) which does the same, the Dry-cell Light that looks like an over-sized battery, and even the Nekko vase, giving a graphic presence to a flower's roots. Unfortunately, none of their designs have yet been produced for retail, but hopefully it's just a matter of time.

LINK: & Design

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Monacca
Posted on: Sep 16, 2005

Monacca ZabutonA while back we had featured the Takumi Shimamura designed Monacca Bag (with a link to the Arenot store), and now the Monacca brand -- "a brand name for products made of thinned Japanese cedar in Umaji Village, Kochi Prefecture" -- has its own official site (in Japanese and English) where you can order their various products (furniture, bags, accessories) directly. The calculator, set to come out next month, is looking very tempting! Pictured in this post is the Zabuton, also by Shimamura.

LINK: Monacca
LINK: Takumi Shimamura

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Resort Travel Agency 03.0498.1171
Posted on: May 14, 2005

Rta May 15Framed by a temporary exhibition/shop at Aoyama's Spiral, the Resort Travel Agency (RTA) is just the thing to make any future travels that much more stylish. The imaginary travel agency gets a bit of help from its "travels directors" (artists), and some goods are to be sold at the event (until May 18).

LINK: Resort Travel Agency
LINK: Spiral

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TO 0120.181.671
Posted on: Apr 26, 2005

Seiko To Apr 27Tokujin Yoshioka does it again, creating a stunning new addition to Seiko's line of Issey Miyake watches. The collection is called TO, and it looks like they'll go on sale in July. Who needs numbers to tell time, when you can instead stare at the beautiful silver curves of a Yoshioka design!

LINK: Press Release from Seiko (in Japanese)
LINK: Seiko Instruments (in Japanese)
LINK: Tokujin Yoshioka

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plusminuszero_solebag_sm_dec_26The Plus Minus Zero brand has recently released it's second collection of accessories and appliances: a CD Radio, a hot water dispenser, a heater, a couple of tote bags, a trashcan, an ashtray, and a tape measure. Again, they are absolutely beautiful, and are sure to provoke feelings of lust and wanting.

LINK: Plus Minus Zero

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sakaidesign_postcard_small_dec_22The creations of Toshihiko Sakai (Sakai Design Associate) are simply beautiful. Be it his designs in electronics, like his family of appliances for Comfortable Communication (ComCom), or museum goods created in collaboration with Title magazine for the Guggenheim Museum, they all share a sense of lightness and clarity that make them truly stand out.

LINK: Sakai Design Associate

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Monacca Bag 03.3400.9700
Posted on: Dec 11, 2004

takumishimamura_monaccabag_small_dec_13The Takumi Shimamura designed Monacca Bag definitely stands out. With an exterior made of Japanese cedar, there's hardly a more original carrying case for your laptop.

LINK: Monacca
LINK: Monacca Bag at Arenot

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Kyouei 543.47.0654
Posted on: Oct 17, 2004

kyouei_ballonlamp3_oct_18Kyouei, based in Shizuoka City, create very interesting and out-of-the-ordinary products. When it comes to lighting, you can start by taking a look at Balloonlamp, which uses an LED and a normal blow-up balloon to create a lantern-like object. Follow that with Color Light, a DVD that lets you use your TV as a colored light source. Then, you can experiment with the randomness of sounds with the appropriately titled "Random" CD. It plays 99 tracks, representing 99 scales, in a random order to form new melodies on every play. All these products can be ordered through their website, and are available at the Zero First Design shop.

LINK: Kyouei
LINK: Zero First Design

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Ribbon Project 075.211.6253
Posted on: Sep 26, 2004

ribbon_ribbonclock_sep_26The Ribbon Project is composed of 4 designers (Rieko Miyata, Flask, Nana Kikuchi, and Hiroyuki Kato) who create beautiful objects out of ribbons.

DESIGNERS: Rieko Miyata, Flask, Nana Kikuchi, and Hiroyuki Kato
LINK: Ribbon Project

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TO:CA 03.3409.7080
Posted on: Sep 19, 2004

TO:CAWhat at first seems like a simple block of wood ends up being an LED clock after you plug it in. The TO:CA clock doesn't sport any screen, yet numbers appear telling you the time, as if floating on the wood grain itself. Created by Takumi, it can be ordered online from 4Senses Interior or Idee Shop, and found in finer interior shops throughout the city.

DESIGNER: Kouji Iwasaki
LINK: Idee Online Shop
LINK: 4Senses Interior

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