Emirati origami: A new addition to Aljoud Lootah’s Oru collection

  Japanese ancient art meets Middle East tradition: multidisciplinary designer and artist Aljoud Lootah has added a black version to her Oru lamp, as part of the"Oru Series" she introduced during the Dubaï Design Days 2015. Her collection of geometric furniture and decorative objects take inspiration from origami forms. The name “Oru” originates from the Japanese verb “to fold”, and the idea behind the Aljoud's designing process was to generate, from a flat, 2-dimensional sheet, an aesthetically appealing and functional 3-dimensional form. (…)

Storm in a teacup – or in a tray

Its shape is inspired by the ocean and seas surrounding Japanese archipelago. Designed by 24° studio (founded in Kobe, Japan, by Fumio Hirakawa and Marina Topunova) the Storm tray is made of hard maple wood and available in two shapes which can be tiled horizontally and vertically, hence creating a landscape of undulations.

Daikoku Design Institute for the Musashino Art University, Tokyo

Designed by the Daikoku Institute (Nippon Design Centre, Tokyo), this series of posters are meant to advertise the 2016 programs of the Musashino Art University. As simple and efficient as good design can be.

Too hot to handle? Solano self-standing fan by naft/Ginga-do by NAGAE & Awatsuji design

Yes, there are ways to fight the heat and stay über cool. This self-standing fan, designed in Japan by naft/Ginga-do by NAGAE. Made in Takaoka-city, Toyama, by these famous metal casting & smithing specialists, in collaboration with Awatsuji Design, the aluminum base makes the difference: the fan stands on your desk or table and becomes part of the decor. Did we need this? Not really, as so many items that are designed in Japan. But why should we try to resist?  These quirky little devices are available on Alexcious.

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.

“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). (…)

Emmanuelle Moureaux: 100 colors, Shinjuku Creators Festa

Yet another colorful project from the French architect and designer Emmanuelle Moureaux who settled down in Tokyo in 1996. For the Shinjuku Creators Festa 2013, the architect selected 100 colors from the Japanese paper manufacturer Takeo. 840 pieces of paper were hung from the ceiling creating a floating volume of color. "When I first arrived in Tokyo, I was fully fascinated by the colors overflowing on the street", the architect reminisces. "In that very moment, my mind decided to move to Japan. Overwhelming number of store signs, flying electrical cables, and flashes of blue sky framed by various volumes of buildings, created three dimensional 'layers' in the city. The flood of various colors pervaded the street built up a complex depth and intensity in the space. These indelible experiences of colors and layers in Tokyo were the inspiration and essence of my design concept of 'shikiri', which means dividing (creating) space with colors."

Food Work: de la Norvège au Japon

Some say Nordic & Japanese cultures have many things in common: a bunch of Norwegian designers decided to explore this assumption, with a project named “FoodWork”.  A series a objects designed "for everyday situations in Norway", but inspired by their "particular understand­ing of Japanese culture. In other words: we have at­tempted to make Norwegian objects that could also be relevant to Japanese living." Certains prétendent que les cultures scandinave et japonaise ont beaucoup en commun. Un collectif de designers norvégiens ont décidé d'explorer cette hypothèse, avec leur projet "FoodWork" : une série d'objets créés pour "des situations quotidiennes en Norvège", mais inspirée de leur "compréhension particulière de la culture japonaise. En d'autres termes, nous avons essayé de faire des objets norvégiens, mais qui trouveraient leur utilité dans la vie quotidienne japonaise."