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Wooden simplicity and pop-color spring fun

by Jean Snow

Special To The Japan Times

Having three for tea

Paying tribute to traditional Japanese crafts with a touch of pop sensibility, Jin Kuramoto has produced a really attractive Japanese tea set. Made in Toyama Prefecture, these beautiful wooden cups come as a set of three, with each one sporting a different color. There’s an inner lid that can also be used to place one cup on top of another to decorative effect.

As part of the design process, Kuramoto investigated traditional wood-manufacturing techniques so that he could achieve his desired form. The smooth shapes were created using a lathe, which rotated the cups as the wood was carved. A set costs ¥13,650 and can be purchased from Caina.

Jin Kuramoto Studio: www.jinkuramoto.com Caina: www.caina.jp/commodity_detail/72098147

Swinging colors for geometric earrings

We rarely venture into the world of jewelry or accessories, but every now and again something really catches our eye, and these were definitely designed to do just that.

Daisuke Motogi’s Bunkai Pierce are earrings made up of either two or three transparent sheets of colored acrylic that, when swinging, give off a different hue. The circle-shaped ones are like colorful Venn diagrams for your ears! If you want to see them in action, there are videos on Vimeo, such as this one www.vimeo.com/60934609.

First introduced last fall at the DesignTide fair, the pieces are now being produced in different shapes, colors and patterns, and are being sold by online retailer Mass Item at ¥3,460 a pair.

Mass Item: www.toumei.asia/?s=daisuke

For fans of spherical objects

Now that the cherry blossom has arrived, indicating nicer, warmer weather being (hopefully) just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about that Japan essential — the fan.

This year, we are quite taken by Idea International’s Aerosphere. Winner of a Red Dot Design Award, it circulates air through an unusual honeycombed spherical body. The on/off buttons are neatly hidden at the back and it also comes with a remote control. The swivel stand it’s supplied with can be removed, too, giving it a minimalist arty look and making it easy to put anywhere.

The Aerosphere comes in black or white and costs ¥8,000. It’s currently only available in select stores, but should soon be added to Idea’s online store.

Idea International: www.idea-in.com

A desk entertainment system

At last, the ultimate tray designed specially to house your iPhone, and we have Ideaco to thank for it.

Part of the brand’s w+w (“white” and “wood”) stationery series, this little wooden Mug Tray holds all the things needed for a proper coffee break.

It includes the fitted white ceramic coffee mug with saucer and a small wooden board to which you can clip reading material or notes, and the long groove is just the right size to prop up an iPhone length-wise — perfect for watching videos. There are also two small grooves for your iPhone’s charging cable. It’s like a tiny entertainment center for your desk.

Priced at ¥3,675, the Mug Tray can be purchased directly from Ideaco’s online store.

Ideaco: www.ideaco-web.com

The beauty of scrap wood

In the past we’ve been impressed by products that manage to recycle unwanted materials, and we’re happy to see that this trend continues. Mikiya Kobayashi’s Chii series uses OSB — oriented strand board — a product engineered from scraps of wood that are layered together into a solid form. It’s not new, but this is one of the few times that design actually takes advantage of the characteristics of a cheap material. Kobayashi’s pieces emphasizes the patterns the scraps of wood make — and it looks surprisingly good.

The Chii series includes planters in two sizes (¥1,575 and ¥3,150), a tissue case with a white top (¥3,990), a trash can with a white top (¥7,350), a bench with metal legs in green or white (¥29,400) and some other furniture pieces. They can be ordered from the online Caina design shop or directly from Chii.

Chii: www.dhub.jp/chii Caina: www.caina.jp/commodity_detail/49571048

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