Gateway to stylish furniture

Though we’ve already included the Karimoku New Standard line of contemporary furniture as one of our picks from last year’s Tokyo Design Week, we’ve found good reason to cover it again — the line is finally going on sale, exclusively at Cibone in the Aoyama district of Tokyo. With creative direction from Isolation Unit’s Teruhiro Yanahigara and a lineup of designers that spans the globe, the result is a collection of furniture that, as we’ve come to expect, adds a stylish modern twist to the Japanese wood furniture of Karimoku. There’s a lot to love, but we’ll point you toward the Torii chair, designed by Satoshi Seto and Takahiko Fujimori, part of Karimoku’s in-house design team who are now attached to the new Torii line. As the name suggests, it takes its design cue from the traditional gateways found at Japan’s Shinto shrines. The Torii chair is available with either a beige (¥45,600) or black (¥47,100) seat.


Portable energy

The problem with our much-loved mobile devices is that they often run out of juice at the most inconvenient of times. Imura Design, however, have come up with a new high-capacity Mobile Battery (PES-8800), which, it promises, can provide something in the vicinity of six to eight times the life span of an iPhone battery. It’s lightweight (230 grams), small enough to fit in your hand and comes with a 73 cm extension cord. At ¥9,980, power does not come particularly cheap, but it does include an array of adapters for your devices — from a regular USB plug to others that will fit Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable game consoles, as well as one that fits iPhones, iPods and iPads.


Hanging cutlery from the ceiling

Last year we were rather fond of Japanese designer Di Classe’s G-Umbrella Stand, with its grassy, artificial-turf bottom. We’re glad to see that even when it comes to lighting — the brand’s traditional focus — Di Classe still keeps things fun. Take the Gita pendant lamp, for instance, a chandelier that forgoes elegance to instead embrace the tools of the space it really should occupy: the dining room or kitchen. What you end up with is a delightful ring of wooden spoons and forks, the presence of which is magnified by shadows of each fork and spoon that are projected across the room. The Gita costs ¥12,600.


Walking on bamboo is good for you

“Chikurin” is Japanese for “bamboo forest,” and although that’s not exactly what you would expect to find on a bath mat, with the Chikurin, your feet will indeed be walking on bamboo. More than just an aesthetic flourish, however, the ribbed pattern of the Chikurin massages the soles of the feet by stimulating pressure points. Designed by Ottaipnu — a brand that was launched a few years ago by textile designer Masaru Suzuki — the mat was produced in conjunction with Imabari Towel Japan, which represents traditional towel manufacturers from Imabari, in Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku. Imabari Towel is also under the umbrella of Japan Brand, a government-supported organization. Available in white, green or gray, the Chikurin bath mat costs ¥3,780.


iida’s new lineup gets flashy

When the AU Design Project — mobile provider KDDI’s stylish and design-friendly lineups of handsets — was rechristened “iida,” it was an instant success thanks to Yayoi Kusama’s polka-dotted phones. The latest lineup — set for release before the end of 2010 — was announced earlier this month, and it clearly has kept the iida edge. Makoto Azuma’s flowery Botanica and the bubbly exterior of Kohei Nawa’s Pixcell, are not your average phones — and it needs to be noted that they are likely to be limited releases. We were especially taken by Hironao Tsuboi’s Light Pool. Collaborating with visual/sound artist Masakatsu Takagi, Tsuboi has created a handset with an exterior geometric triangle design that lights up in a beautiful flurry of colors to alert the user to calls or messages. The brand also announced an assortment of fun accessories, such as the Biscuitta, a biscuit-shaped AC adapter. Prices vary according to stores.


In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.