Sitting in line for good design

“Line” is one of the most important elements of design. It defines, separates, decorates and gives life to a structure — and Shinn Asano’s Sen furniture series couldn’t utilize it any better.

Made up of six pieces — two stools, two tables, a coat stand and a lamp — every Sen item is created from steel wire. They actually look like a series of 3-D line drawings. Our favorite piece is the Kagome Stool, which is made up of 18 triangular shapes that are crisscrossed to make the structure both beautiful and sturdy. A great example of true minimalism.

The Kagome Stool costs ¥68,250, and the Sen series is available in red, white and black. Items can be bought directly from the Shinn Asano website.

Shinn Asano

New looks for uchiwa fan

Toshihiro Aya

Summer is winding down but there are still quite a few warm days left, so as you reduce the use of the air conditioner, a simple fan may come in handy. Two new designs from H Concept offer twists to the traditional uchiwa (flat fans), which have been used in Japan for centuries.

Toshihiro Aya’s lovely Ha Uchiwa reminds us that using a giant leaf as a fan is something surely as old as civilization itself. A fun nod to the past, the design turns the fan’s supporting spokes into the veins of a large single leaf.

Sohiro Takahara

Sohiro Takahara’s A4 Uchiwa, on the other hand, references the more modern custom of fanning yourself with a folder or book. A4 in size, this rectangular fan has a wooden handle on one of its corners from which its spokes radiate outward to give it its design. The A4 uchiwa also has a different color on each side, so that when you fan yourself, it creates a two-toned blur.

The Ha Uchiwa costs ¥840 and is available in green, light green and white. The A4 Uchiwa is ¥1,260 and is available in five color combinations (gray/black, light blue/yellow, navy blue/dark blue, pink/green, and light yellow/purple). Both fans can be purchased from the H Concept webstore.

H Concept  Ha Uchiwa  A4 Uchiwa

Issey Miyake’s bright ideas

The IN-EI series of lamps by Issey Miyake Reality Lab are made from fabric created from recycled PET bottles.

Winner of this year’s iF Product Design Award Gold prize, Issey Miyake Reality Lab’s IN-EI series of lamps for Italian manufacturer Artemide are an innovation, not just in design but in recycling, too.

The shades of these floor, table and hanging lamps are made of a special fabric woven from thread derived from recycled-PET-bottles. Well suited to lighting, the material creates a luminescent effect when lit from behind. But what really brings this innovative fabric to life are the origami-like geometric shapes that give the lampshades their forms. And as might be expected from Issey Miyake’s designs, you can fold these shapes flat for storage.

The IN-EI line ranges in price from ¥54,600 to ¥92,400, and can be purchased at the MoMA Design Store and other select outlets.

Issey Miyake

The buzz about mosquito coils

The grills of Kayariki

Admittedly, it’s a little late to worry about mosquitoes, but Yamasaki Design Work’s Kayariki mosquito-coil holder is too stylish to skip. Though there are plenty of different ways to keep mosquitoes at bay, many in Japan still like to use the original smoky mosquito coil, so containers for them are nothing new. More often than not, though, their design is a little lacking.

The Kayariki has a traditional feel about it, cast in iron with the grills forming simple patterns inspired by kimono designs. It’s definitely more attractive than the tins most people use. At ¥4,200 each, there are six grill patterns available, and they can all be bought online from the Caina webstore.

Yamasaki Design Works Caina

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