VMAX, Kikkoman and Bullet Train: Kenji Ekuan, 1929-2015

Kenji Ekuan was born in Tokyo, raised in Hawaii before moving to Hiroshima at the end of WWII. He was 17 when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city, killing both his father and sister. Among the ruins, he told the Japan Times in 2001, he decided to somehow find the courage to reconstruct the landscape. “For the next few years my dreams were about connecting with the material world through industrial design.”

The Japanese designer founded the GK Industrial Design Laboratory in 1957. Among his best known achievements are the iconic Kikkoman soya sauce bottle (1961) and VMAX motorcycle for Yamaha (1985 and 2008) or the Japanese « bullet train » (Narita Express, Komachi Shinkansen, 1997-2009). Kenji Ekuan passed away earlier this month, aged 85.

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« Measuring » in Tokyo: 21_21 Design Sight

Organized by 21_21 Design Sight and the Issey Miyake Foundation, the « Measuring: This much, That much, How much? » exhibition will start in Tokyo, on February 20, 2015. The idea was developed in November 2014, when the members of the Exhibition Team got together to explore all kinds of « Things you can do with 10 people. » The results of these experiments are to be published on 21_21 DOCUMENTS. Among the involved designers are Koichi Suzuno (co-founder of Torafu architects and designer of the famous « air vase ») and Norihiko Terayama (who founded Studio note after graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven and training at Studio Richard Hutten). (…)

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Inside Scandinavian Design at Stockholm Furniture Fair

Held during the Stockholm Furniture Fair, the « Inside Scandinavian Design » pop-up exhibition focuses on the work and values in Scandinavian design, which has been commissioned by the Stockholm Furniture Fair & Light Fair and TMF, The Swedish Federation of Wood and Furniture Industry. All the selected pieces of furniture have their own story to tell: it is « about the people and processes behind them, the places where they were made, the philosophy and working methods of the companies that produced them, from crafting by hand to robotized production lines », detail the curators, designers Farg&Blanche.  (…)

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Melissanthe Panagiotopoulou behind the scenes: « Les légumes » cutlery

London-based, Athens-born Melissanthe Panagiotopoulou likes to experiment with different materials and techniques. « Les légumes » is a series of cutlery pieces, the result of recent metal work for her BA Course in 3D Design at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts, London. « Being a vegetarian, I see a natural link between food and vegetables and I believe that food consumption should be a celebration of life. Cutlery is the means through which food is being transfered into our system. Designing funny and stylish vegetable -shaped cutlery became the means of transferring my ideas on healthy eating. Stainless steel metal was used for the making of the fork, knife and spoon shapes. Broccoli and asparagus vegetables were casted on bronze metal using the traditional lost wax casting and investment casting techniques. »

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Design a tag: Freitag x Kapok competition, Singapore Design Week

During the Singapore Design Week, Kapok and FREITAG are organizing a competition in search of a brand new design for a F-TAG, a bag tag to hang on your products. The winner will get their design produced in the F-ACTORY and made by visitors during the Singapore Design Week 2015. Submit your entry before 28th January 2015 to info@sg.workingunit.com

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Recipe of the day: Grow your moss design

A nice way to start the week: take after the British designer Anna Garforth and grow your own moss creation. Courtesy of Materia, here is the actual recipe. All you need is moss, yogurt (yes, yogurt), sugar, water and a blender. No kidding.

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Playing Cowboys and Indians: NAB design

Missing those fun-filled days playing cowboys & Indians? Inspired by the North-American Indian legacy, Nicolas Abdelkader designed a coat hanger made of hand-turned beechwood. Initially trained as a draughtsman, the French designer spent 8 years working in architectural firms before setting up his own design studio, NAB, in 2014.

Nicolas Abdelkader is focused on « establishing a strong interaction between the user and the object – turning this latter into an actual « Plus one » rather than seeing it as an inanimate object. »

Aiming towards implementing a dynamic based on material, sustainability and human interaction, the designer adds his personal touch: a pinch of humor. « Design shouldn’t take itself too seriously! »

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From Norway to Canada, Anderssen & Voll

During the Toronto Design festival, Norwegian design studio Anderssen & Voll (two thirds of the late Norway Says studio) will showcase their works in Canada.

Both a retrospective exhibition of their designs and the introduction of a new collection will be held at Mjölk (to be pronounced « mi-yelk »!), with the support of The Royal Norwegian Embassy, from January 21-February 23.

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