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Objets d’art with a purpose in life

by Jean Snow

Working across the grain

Award-winning designer Mikiya Kobayashi is the director behind Kime, a new line of beautiful wooden household accessories for Hokkaido-based manufacturer Dreamy Person. Named after the Japanese term for wood grain, all of Kobayashi’s designs emphasize the natural beauty of his medium with a clean, modern aesthetic.

The Kime collection currently includes the following seven items: a bottle opener (¥2,940), a toothpick holder (¥2,300), a shoehorn, both long (¥10,500) and short (¥3,990), a pen case (pictured, ¥5,040), a tape measure (¥2,625), and a clock (¥7,350). Each item is also available in one of three wood finishes: maple, cherry or walnut.

dreamyperson.com

Mountains of beer for the summer

The summer heat is not over yet and most of us are still finding a chilled glass of beer a great way to keep heat levels down — or at the least help you forget the discomfort. We’ve taken quite a liking to the winner at the Judge’s Special Prize at the Tokyo Midtown Award, Keita Suzuki’s Fujiyama Glass, produced by handcrafted glassmaker Sugahara. Yes, the name is a literal reference, as glass design is inspired by Japan’s most sacred of mountains, Fuji, to which a beer’s frothy head makes a pretty snowcap. Now there’s actually a good reason to pour yourself a drink with a tall head.

The Fujiyama Glass sells for ¥3,776 — a price that matches the height in meters of the real Mount Fuji — and comes packaged in a beautiful wooden box.

www.sugahara.com

Sprinkle a little practical beauty on the walls

Functional objets d’art are a theme this month, so we feel obliged to bring up design collective Naft’s Sprinkle hooks. Quite possibly the furthest from what you would expect a hook to look like, Naft’s have a simple geometric form that gives each one a number of protruding “mounting” points. Not only does this makes them aesthetically attractive — the company describes the shape as closer to something natural or organic — but it also makes them more secure to hang things off.

The Sprinkle is available in two sizes: 15 x 9.3 x 5.5 cm at ¥4,200, and 10 x 9 x 5 cm at ¥3,780.

naft-design.com

Hanging up your artwork

Design duo Fift has an interesting proposal: Turn those miscellaneous objects that people leave on side tables and counters — keys and such, yes, we all do it — into wall-mounted pieces of art. Well, kind of. At least the wall-mounted part is true, as the Eninal Tray Mini (we can only assume there will be an upcoming larger version) is a tray that works vertically instead of horizontally. Essentially a flat wall magnet, the Eninal tray holds, or rather lets you hang metal objects in any way you like. Take a minimalist approach and hang a single object, letting it draw attention to itself, or throw a whole mess of stuff on there and create a personal installation project about the things you need to hang on to.

The Eninal Tray Mini — at a width and height of 35cm — costs ¥11,550.

fift.jp

A box with a twist

Papercraft toys are all the rage these days — such as Twelveton’s Pneuma-box that we covered last year — and we’re glad to see that such paper constructs are now influencing the design of more practical products. Take Azumi Mitsuboshi’s Lid Thread boxes for instance. Purchased as a flat sheet template, you push out ready-cut shapes that are folded together to form a box. It’s lid is a clever spiral construction that fastens with a twist.

The Lid Thread is available in two shapes — as a cube or antiprism — each priced at ¥735. A couple of videos on the maker’s Web site show exactly how to assemble the pieces.

www.kaminokousakujo.jp