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Living with birds, communicating with flowers and OnDesign favorites

by Jean Snow

Traditional chochin (Japanese paper lanterns) are beautiful, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be modern and playful.

Suzumo Chochin’s lineup of delicate lanterns are made to nontraditional shapes; our favorite being the Bird — a dove-like shape that won the Good Design Award last year. Its design is not only cute, but its curved base also allows the bird to gently sway on a flat surface. It will even rock itself upright if pushed onto its side.

If it does get knocked down, there’s no need to fear a fire, the lanterns are equipped with LED lights that flicker like flames. Another nice touch is that its on/off switch is sound sensitive, so you can turn it on and off with a clap. Available in three sizes, it sells for ¥26,000, ¥28,000 or ¥29,000.

www.suzumo.com. www.suzumo.com/en/lineup/bird.

Ladling out the praise for Tate Otama

We’re no strangers to Mikiya Kobayashi’s Tate Otama ladle. The initial design was introduced back in 2009 — and we’re pleased to see that the line has now expanded to include a smaller version.

The Tate Otama Mini is just like its big brother. It features the innovative flat bottom that allows it to stand upright when placed on a countertop and, to stop things getting messy, it comes with a small plate. The only difference is that it’s a little smaller, making it useful for single-meal pots and pans. Available in three colors — white, black, and red — the Mini costs ¥1,050 and is available at H Concept’s online store.

www.h-concept.jp/fs/hshop/c/tateotama.

Nosigner’s triple box-set

Nosigner, yet another OnDesign favorite, has kicked off 2013 with a plethora of new projects, which were showcased at last week’s “Maison & Object” show in Paris.

One product that brings together tradition and modern aesthetics is the Sumi lunch box, a redesign of the yusan-bako, a three-tiered portable food box that originated in Tokushima Prefecture. An old-school yusan-bako is held together by an outer casing that has holes in its sides to allow the user to push the three drawers out. The Sumi, however, is secured by a wrap-around casing that allows the user to push the boxes out by their corners.

It’s a beautiful object that features the strong geometric aesthetics Nosigner is known for, making it a not only useful, but also a highly attractive item.

Available in three types of wood — Tamo (Japanese Ash), Japanese quince and walnut — the Sumi costs ¥26,000, and can be purchased directly from Nosigner.

www.nosigner.com.

Seats as wise as owls

Designer Satoshi Itasaka’s Owl Chair is a new product directly aimed at kids. Made from a single sheet of flexible EVA foam, this small flat-pack chair is light, durable and easy for kids to assemble. It also looks like a stylized owl, whose “wings” wrap around the sitting child.

It’s part of Itasaka’s h220430 (Heisei 22, April 30) project, which covers his work in furniture and lighting design, and includes other well-known works, such as his balloon lamps. There’s no word yet on when the chair will go on sale, but seeing as it is kid-friendly, stylish, easy to store and hard-wearing, we’re sure it will be a success when it does.

www.h220430.jp.

Say it with flowers

Hana-kotoba refers to the Japanese version of “the language of flowers,” using flowers as a code to communicate, and Re+g (pronounced “replug”), is taking that literally. Hana-Kotoba Sakura are a decorative way of presenting a secret message to someone.

Take a sheet and write your message on the inside, fold it up into a cherry blossom and then leave it for that special someone to pick up, unfold and read.

You can get a pack of five Hana-Kotoba Sakura for ¥1,260 at the Caina webstore, and there’s a video showing you how to fold it on the Re+g site.

Re+g: www.replug.jp.
Caina: www.caina.jp/commodity_detail/73036888.