All posts tagged: Japan


Introducing… Native & Co

Native & Co is an independent homeware and lifestyle shop in London’s Notting Hill. Founded by two product designers, Taiwan-born Sharon Jo-Yun Hung and British-Japanese Chris Yoshiro Green, the shop specialises in crafted home products that are predominantly sourced from Japan and Taiwan. Working with small suppliers, specialist workshops and local craftsmen, they seek out simple, discrete pieces that are both functional and beautiful at the same time. Here you’ll find traditional cast iron kettles, hand-made ceramicware, canvas aprons and striped linen tea towels. Their shop interior is as well thought out as the products on display, from the furniture that Green crafted himself to the little touches that make the space homely. Laid out on the table is the Arita Porcelain Collection, which includes Japanese kitchen tools such as a sesame mortar with pestle and lid, a lemon squeezer, a ladle stand and multi-functional canisters. Tableware includes ceramic tea cups, rice bowls and plates that use 400-year-old porcelain techniques and are adorned with traditional Japanese navy and white patterns. Hand-bound brooms,  made from Japanese hemp …


Cobrina furniture collection by Torafu Architects

Japanese practice Torafu Architects has designed a range of new furniture called Cobrina, which derives from the Japanese expression “koburi-na” used to describe things that are small or undersized. The chairs, which can be neatly stowed beneath the table, come in black, blue and grey as well as natural wood, while the table is semicircular in shape to be placed close against a wall and save space in a room. The range’s simplicity and inclined legs reminds me of one of my favourite furniture designers, Ercol. Here is what Torafu Architects say: The “cobrina” collection is the result of a collaboration with Hida Sangyo, a well-established furniture manufacturer in Japan. Characterized by rounded top surfaces and slender slanting legs, the small-sized pieces of furniture lend a mellow atmosphere to their surroundings. Upon first encounter, these might even appear as a flock of small animals. Images: Fuminari Yoshitsugu


Chopsticks by Nendo

Japanese design studio Nendo has created a range of chopsticks in collaboration with manufacturer Hashikura Matsukan, who continues to make chopsticks using traditional techniques that have been used in the town of Obama for over four centuries. Since the seventeenth century, the town’s lacquered chopsticks have been recognised as the hardest and most beautiful of Japanese chopsticks. Nendo explored ways of increasing the surface area of the chopsticks in the hand, as a way of improving comfort and discovered the natural form of a flower, or the digital symbol of the asterisk. Another chopstick has been carved away to form fine points, so that they float above the tabletop for cleanliness, while another has in-built magnets to keep the chopsticks together. All the items will be sold at Seibu department stores in Japan exclusively from spring 2014. Photos by Akihiro Yoshida


House in Yoro by Airhouse Design Office

Japanese practice Airhouse Design Office has converted a former warehouse into this beautiful home in Yoro, Gifu, Japan. The home takes advantage of the features of the existing warehouse and forms a single living and dining space without columns. Within this open-plan space is a box-like structure comprising a loft bedroom for the children and private rooms below including a bedroom and bathroom. I love the exposed ceiling and pitched roof, which creates a light and airy space, and hints at the building’s past.       Via This is Paper


Maison Kitsuné Tokyo store and Café

Paris-based fashion and music label, Kitsuné has opened a shop and cafe in the trendy Aoyama district of Tokyo. The shop was designed by co-founder of the brand, Masaya Kuroki, and is divided into two sections: one with the Kitsuné Café selling Kitsuné records and t-shirts, and the other with the Maison Kitsuné collections a few steps away. The shop features a Japanese-style interior, with cedar parquet flooring made in situ by a Japanese craftsmen, and lots of wood and tatami, a type of straw mat traditionally used for flooring. For the cafe, Kitsuné  brought in local coffee connoisseur Eiichi Kunimoto of Omotesando Koffee, who uses a Slayer coffee machine and a unique blend of four beans from Brazil, Panama and Costa Rica. Also on the menu are baked custard cubes made daily.    Images: Takumi Ota via Kitsune Journal


Chiyodanomori Dental Clinic by Hironaka Ogawa

I hate going to the dentist, absolutely detest it, but if I could go somewhere as calming as here, I’m sure it would make the whole process less of an ordeal. Hironaka Ogawa & Associates has designed this clinic accompanied by a housing project above. The building is made up of 2.7m x 2.7m treatment rooms arranged on a grid around several internal and external courtyards. From the exterior, the building is seen as one volume and features a slanted roof that creates different ceiling heights inside. Found via: thisispaper


‘ASE’ by Japanese practice no.555

Japanese practice no.555 has refurbished an existing brick building into a light, white interior. Sited in Kanagawa, Japan, the refurbishment retains the building’s original features, leaving the rough wooden beams and joists untouched and the brick masonry exposed. Every surface is coated in a layer of white paint to give the home a contemporary feel. Images © goichi tori-mura


Shipping container house by Daiken-Met Architects

This three-storey studio and living space by Japanese Daiken-Met Architects is made from repurposed shipping containers. Sited in Gifu, Japan, the studio acts as an office for the architecture practice. The firm obtained permission for a temporary structure which didn’t require construction below street level. Daiken-Met proposed a steel sturctural grid that is easily assembled and can subsequently be disassembled and reconstructed elsewhere. Image © shinkenchiku-sha via: homedit

Inter/Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future at the Venice Biennale 2012

Inter/Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future at the Venice Biennale 2012

var linkwithin_site_id = 519459; This was originally on the Venice Blog for Building Design, you can see it on BDonline. Opposite the entrance of the Arsenale, is a collateral exhibition which is just as worthy of attention. Titled Inter Cities/ Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future, the space shows twelve proposals, both real and speculative, for South East Kowloon in Hong Kong. Curated by The Oval Partnership, the exhibition seeks to find new ways of maintaining the commercial momentum which has so far defined the city, while, at the same time, engaging it’s citizens into more sustainable and diverse ways of living. The curators, with a team including founding director Chris Law and Bartlett teaching fellow Jonathan Pile, see themselves as ‘ghostwriters’, threading stories from the past, present and future, as a way of re-framing and re-contextualising both existing and new work. The latter director probably explains the strong presence of work from former Bartlett students within the exhibition. The redevelopment of South East Kowloon was made feasible with the closure of the Kai Tak Airport …

House in Rokko by Tato Architects/Yo Shimada

House in Rokko by Tato Architects/Yo Shimada

Perched on the top of Mount Rokko, this house by Japanese architect Yo Shimada of Tato Architects, provides a vista overlooking the city of Kobe in Japan. The architect minimised the physical impact on the site with the use of a concrete pad on the ground, topped by a delicate two-storey steel structure, which is clad on the upper levels with metal panels, but left exposed with glass panels below. This gives the impression of the house floating on the steep slope, light and slightly precarious but making the most of the awkward site conditions. Images