Sat. 02.16.08

Jean Snow
September 2004
Ribbon Project 075.211.6253
Accessories: 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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Kouchi Market 03.5565.1295
Retail Stores: Sep 25, 2004

kouchimarket_small_sep_26Do not let the dreadful website keep you away. The Kouchi Market stall in the middle of the very famous Tsukiji fish market definitely stands out. Designed by the architects Ako Nagao and Yuko Onari, this small shop selling items from the Kouchi area has taken a very modern and practical route when it comes to presenting its sale items. A mix of the traditional (low stands) with a touch of modern design, in both the material and curved white decor.

ARCHITECTS: Ako Nagao and Yuko Onari
LINK: Kouchi Market

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Spiral 03.3498.1171
Architecture: Sep 22, 2004

spiral_building_sep_23.jpgWhen in Aoyama, it's always a good idea to see what's happening at the Spiral building. The architectural design of the building in itself is reason enough to warrant a visit. From the recessed cafe/bar/restaurant, to the carefully lighted "Garden," all the way to the spiral staircase that leads you up to the very attractive "Market" gift shop (offering a carefully selected range of designer goods and books). The main area surrounding the cafe constantly holds various exhibitions (which you can visit at no cost), and the hall on the 3rd floor has hosted an eclectic range of events. Spiral Records on the first floor offers a nicely curated selection of CDs and vinyls. CAY, in the basement, is host to live events, as well as being a restaurant, and the top floor finds the Top Hat lounge.

LINK: Spiral

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Casa Brutus
Books/Magazines: Sep 21, 2004

casabrutus_sep_22.jpgIf you're into design, then you'd be very sorry if you didn't pick up an issue of Casa Brutus. From architectural tours to coverage of the latest and greatest in terms of design, it's constantly a great read, if only for the beautiful layout work (the magazine's design is by Yasushi Fujimoto of Cap). Although usually Japanese-only (but don't let this stop you), if often features special bilingual issues, like the recent September number (54) that took a hard look at the preservation (or lack) of modern architecture in Japan. They've also released special issues, like an homage to the Concorde, that came with a Stephane Pompougnac mixed CD, and a couple on the Muji phenomenon.

LINK: Casa Brutus (Official Site)
LINK: Order from Amazon Japan

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Tokyo: A Guide to Recent Architecture
Books/Magazines: Sep 20, 2004

tokyo_sep_21.jpgThe very compact Tokyo: A Guide to Recent Architecture by Noriyuki Tajima makes for an excellent companion when visiting the city, and looking for info on the best of contemporary architecture that Tokyo has to offer. Tajima was trained as an architect, and it shows in his descriptions. Also, as the book is divided by areas, it's easy to just turn to the section of the city that you're visiting and quickly get a rundown of what you should be checking out, including addresses. The book could use an update (it dates back to 1996), but it still covers most of the landmarks that you need to be on the lookout when in town.

LINK: Tokyo: A Guide to Recent Architecture (Amazon)
LINK: Ellipsis (Publisher)

Prada Aoyama 03.6418.0400
Architecture: Sep 20, 2004

pradaaoyama_september_20.jpgOne of the big Omotesando store openings last year that garnered a lot of attention (among many others) is the Prada store in Aoyama, designed by Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron. Standing out with it's bulbous windows and overall appearance, it continues to be at the top of must-see shops for visitors to the city. Who cares about the things on sale inside, it's the architectural wowness of the store that has made it such an interesting addition to the Omotesando shopping district. For a closer look, you could do worse than ordering the gorgeous Prada Aoyama Tokyo book, edited by Herzog & De Meuron themselves.

DESIGNERS: Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron
LINK: Prada Aoyama Tokyo (Amazon)
LINK: Prada

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Cibone 03.3475.8017
Retail Stores: Sep 19, 2004

cibone_september_20.jpgCibone describes itself as "the life editorial store providing superior design," and that's pretty much what you get when you visit their shop in Aoyama (they also have shops in Kunitachi and Jiyugaoka). A beautiful selection of furniture and accessories, tastefully setup so as to make you feel like you're life is simply incomplete without these beautiful objects adorning your home. They also feature a nice selection of books and CDs.

LINK: Cibone

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Premini 0120.800.000
Electronics: Sep 19, 2004

sonyericsson_premini_september_20.jpgThis Summer saw the launch of the world's smallest mobile by Sony Ericsson. What you lose in features, you gain with the convenience of having so little to carry around with you. The ad campaign that introduced it featured the two members of French electro-unit Daft Punk, which immediately gave us the impression of something futuristic. Holding one in your hand, it's hard to believe that we've now come to a point where mobile technology fits in such a small package. It was created for the DoCoMo network.

LINK: Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Japan

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Furopia Bathtub 0120.03.1010
Bathroom Fixtures: Sep 19, 2004

toto_furopia2_september_19.jpgBathtubs might not at first be parts of your home that you care that much about, but in Japan they are almost at the center of every household, as taking or soaking in a bath is much more frequent than taking a shower. The new Furopia bathtub from Toto, part of the Mahoubin-Yokusou series, is quite a big deal then. It's main feature is that it purports to keep water at the same temperature, for up to 6 hours. With families sharing the same bath water, this means that the last one in will no longer need to suffer cold water.

LINK: Toto

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Atehaca 0120.500.924
Appliances: Sep 19, 2004

AtehacaAtehaca, meaning "one's personality, appearance and attitude is elegantly beautiful," is a brand of design-friendly appliances that was launched earlier this year by Toshiba. They offer a very clean and angular look, and can be found, among other places, in the Franc franc shops. The line was designed by Intentionallies.

LINK: Atehaca
LINK: Toshiba
LINK: Intentionallies
LINK: Franc franc

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TO:CA 03.3409.7080
Accessories: 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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Plusminuszero (±0) 03.3510.2288
Appliances: Sep 15, 2004

plusminuszero_tray_september_16.jpgPlusminuszero is toy manufacturer Takara's foray into the world of design goods. The director of design for the line is Naoto Fukasawa, who is also behind the INFOBAR mobile phones from the "AU Design Project." A showcase for the brand opened earlier this year at COREDO Nihonbashi, but purchases can also be made through the maker's website.

LINK: Plusminuszero (±0)

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