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Design that all adds up

by Jean Snow

Summing up stylish bookends

There’s a reason why there’s a plus sign at the end of Ideaco’s Bookend+: They have a little something extra added. Aimed at households or offices with cramped desk spaces, the Bookend+ doubles as a tape dispenser or a letter holder. Kept stable by a sturdy steel base plate that you insert into either side of the Bookend+ so that you can choose which way round to use it, they make useful additions to any workspace. Sold individually and available in white, yellow, gray and brown, the letter-holder version costs ¥2,625, while the tape dispenser version goes for ¥3,675.

www.ideaco-web.com

The square root of bags

Chie Kanayama’s first collection of Furoshiki Bags, which are based on traditional Japanese furoshiki wrapping cloths and unfold into a flat square, was so successful that she has now launched a new collection. Her Furoshiki Bag 2 series adds handy pockets to the lining and, as with the previous collection, they are available in three sizes — a small lunch bag (52 cm × 52 cm when unfolded), a medium-sized handbag (80 cm × 80 cm) and a large shoulder bag (100 cm x 100 cm). Priced at ¥1,575, ¥2,625 yen and ¥3,150 respectively, each bag is available in one of five color combinations — black/gray, khaki/brown, blue/beige, gray/bronze and orange/gray.

h-concept.jp, Available at www.h-concept.jp/html/index2.html, (Japanese only).

Smoking times two

Though that’s never really a goal, we love it when a theme emerges in this column, and this month it’s all about things that are not quite what they first seem. Designed by Tommaso Nani and Noa Ikeuchi of the Italian-Japanese unit Misto-o, this pared-down ceramic base is both an ashtray and, when flipped over, an incense burner. This unlikely pairing is born from the designers’ ironic idea of contrasting the bad odors from cigarettes with pleasant smell of incense. We do recommend a thorough cleaning of the insides before flipping it over, though, or you could end up with a nasty mix of smells. The Ashtray/Incense Burner is currently distributed across Europe (where it sells for the equivalent of around ¥1,500), but expect it to pop up in select shops around Tokyo soon.

mist-o.com

Card plus clip equals Clipico

There’s a lot to love about Aya Toshihiro’s simple concept behind the Clipico Card Stand. It’s a card holder that itself starts off looking like a metal business card. The part that holds paper also resembles a large paper clip, which you simply push out of the template and bend upward, leaving the rest of the “card” as a stand. Made of stainless steel, it’s sturdy enough to display photos, postcards, recipe cards and the like, and not only is it available in blue, green, red, yellow, black and white, but it also comes at the very reasonable price of ¥525.

h-concept.jp, Available at www.h-concept.jp/html/index2.html, (Japanese only).

Hands up for forks and spoons

Most of the items we choose to include in OnDesign find a way in because of their innovative functionality. But we’re not afraid to admit that sometimes it’s just down to sheer whimsy, and that’s pretty much why we’ve included the Hand Fork and Hand Spoon. In its box, this set of cutlery make the hands of a cute illustration of a child at the dinner table. On their own, they are stylish and playful at the same time. A great gift for anyone who enjoys eating. Designed by Moe Furuya for online select shop Misubai Tokyo, the pair cost ¥3,150.

www.mitsubai.com (Orders for the Hand Fork and Hand Spoon can be taken in Japanese only.)