Style & Design | ON: DESIGN

Keeping it simple, everyday objects get a makeover

by Jean Snow

Seeing paper in a new light

Sometimes there are products by different companies that fall in the same category, and they are all such fine examples that it’s impossible to choose which to focus on.

This month we are awash in washi (Japanese paper) lamps. First up is creative unit Yuruliku — Koushi Ikegami and Kinue Oneda — whose Washi Torch takes the construction of a traditional chōchin (paper lantern) and combines it with the shapes of modern flashlights.

There are two shapes available: A Type (¥12,960) with a sloped head, which also breaks with tradition by being available in bright colors (red, blue, yellow and white) and the pictured boxy B Type (¥14,040), which is available in black or white. Both can be ordered directly from Yuruliku’s online store.


Perfect diffusion

Next is Nendo with The Bi-color Washi, the latest addition to its by|n collection made exclusively for Seibu Department stores.

A collaboration with Taniguchi Aoya Washi, the only Japanese maker of “3-D washi,” these lampshades are not made from paper that has been cut and pasted together to create a form, but from a mold-like process that gives them a seamless finish.

The Bi-color series of shades have also been dyed during the shaping process, allowing them to have subtle coloring (pink, blue or gray) on the outside to help diffuse excess light while retaining a white interior to reflect it where it’s needed.

Shades in the Bi-color Washi line run from ¥23,760 to ¥53,784 and are only available at Seibu Department Stores in Japan.


Looking after tools of the trade

Here’s a toolbox you won’t want to hide in the garage or shed.

Keiji Ashizawa’s Toolbox, produced for the New York/London-based The Saturday Market Project, is a stunningly stylish take on the workman’s everyday necessity.

Made from paulownia wood with a clean finish, the workmanship by Nakamura Woodworking transforms this ordinary and normally overlooked item into something quite extraordinary. Even the steel-bar support, which is hand-forged by Super Robot (where Ashizawa started his career), adds to the aesthetic appeal of the box.

Priced at $1,600, Keiji Ashizwawa’s Toolbox is definitely something for the serious worker. It can be ordered directly from The Saturday Market Project.

Keiji Ashizawa: The Saturday Market Project:

Hanging on to simple design

Still on the transformation of mundane objects, coat hangers are likely another household item you rarely think about, but the Leather Lace Hanger by Y demands attention, even if only for its innovative simplicity.

Made from a soft leather cord and two tubes of mahogany, its flexibility means it adapts to any garment and doesn’t stretch out shoulders. It’s also small and easy to store, making it ideal for taking on trips.

The Leather Lace Hanger costs ¥4,000 and is currently only available from Y Design Make Market in Osaka.

Y: Y Design Make Market map:

Don’t stop the presses for good coffee

Trying to cut down on those Starbucks visits but your office doesn’t have a decent coffee machine? Then Aozora’s Coffee Press could solve the problem. Like a portable French press, all you need to do is load its container with your favorite blend, soak it for four minutes in a mug filled with hot water, then remove it and press the plunger over the mug. It’s portable, compact, easy to use and will produce a far-better coffee than any instant brand.

The Coffee Press is available on the Koncent store for ¥972 and comes in two colors — brown “blend” and white “milk.”

Aozora: Koncent: