This month celebrates the art of folding with a selection of products that can be transformed by just a few bends, creases and tucks.

Sending animal instincts

Getting an Ori-hagaki Geometric in the mail is like receiving a letter, a toy and an artwork, all rolled — or rather folded — into one.

Designed by Re+g, whose range of stationery often updates traditional motifs with a little contemporary flair, the Ori-hagaki Geometric collection of decorative postcards can be folded into four animals: a kame (turtle), koi fish, chidori (plover) or a panda.

The bold patterns on each card are reminiscent of printed tenugui (cotton towel) motifs and come in traditionally familiar colors — bottle green (turtle), bright red (koi), dusky brown (plover) and black (panda). They can stand alone as attractive prints, with their faintly scored folding lines only adding to the appeal, but it’s much more fun to turn them into animals.

Each postcard comes with a separate slip bearing easy-to-follow picture instructions, but if you want to send one without popping it into an envelope, it is also printed with a web address to both pdf and video instructions.

Each of the four types costs ¥194 for one sheet and all are available from the Re+g online store.


Origami’s net worth

For origami fans who like to make their creations a bit more permanent, Ishikawa Wire Netting Co. Ltd. — better known for its industrial products such as filters, fencing and machinery parts — has collaborated with the Nippon Origami Association to produce a series of silky metal sheets.

Oriami are sheets of wafer-thin, extremely fine-woven metal mesh that add a little weight to origami works, making them look and feel more like art objects. The beauty of Oriami, though, is not just that they shimmer in bronze, copper and stainless steel, but they are also particularly flexible. They can be curled, stretched and tweaked in ways that paper can’t, so they are great for sculptural and organic-like creations that could take origami to a new level.

They are a little tricky to work with, though, so best practice on paper first — and remember, they’re not good for designs that need to be blown into.

Oriami 15-centimeter sheets are priced at ¥1,080 for three bronze, ¥1,620 for three copper or stainless-steel, and ¥1,620 for one of each type.


Make a note of this

Iwahashi Printing Inc. has a unique approach to its adorably cute stationery line. Instead of finding paper to match a design, it creates designs to match the feel of its paper.

The Frel. Memomal — pads of 20 notelets — are all in the shape of animals inspired by the textures of the paper used. The giraffe, for example, is made from rough, speckled sheets, the alpaca from a fuzzy washi-like paper, while the rhino is smooth but lightly embossed with creases. To use one, simple tear off a sheet, write your note on the reverse, then roll it, tuck a flap into a back slot and fold out the legs to make a standing animal.

The Frel. Pochi-mal miniature envelopes for gifting money are also animal-shaped and of different textures. When closed they look like animals peeking out from their hugging arms, but when opened out flat they become the silhouettes of a bear, rabbit, tiger or penguin.

Both products are available at the Frel. webstore priced at ¥712 for a Memomal pad (12 animals to choose from) and ¥486 for a pack of three Pochi-mal envelopes.


Toting the fold

Last year’s launch of the Iittala X Issey Miyake Home Collection delighted fans of the homeware and design brands, but there was one item that wasn’t made available in Japan. This year, to celebrate the collection’s first anniversary, that sought-after piece — the Iittala X Issey Miyake Home Collection tote bag — is finally being released here.

Made of a durable polyester and displaying distinctive pleats and folds based on those used by Issey Miyake, the tote has a single slim leather shoulder strap, and it conveniently concertinas into a zig-zag strip for easy storage. Spread out flat, it is a little over half a meter wide, but the heat-pressed pleats, which open out to reveal a chevron pattern, allow it to shrink around whatever you place inside.

For those who coveted this last year, it will be available in ivory, dark gray or emerald for ¥23,760, but you best head straight to the ELTTOB TEP Issey Miyake / Ginza store, because it is being exclusively sold there, only March 7-31.

If you’re hungry for even more Iittala X Issey Miyake Home Collection news, the collaboration is also working with the Minami Aoyama “neo-bistro” restaurant & ecle for an Iittala X Issey Miyake with & ecle original menu.

With organic dishes inspired and designed by chef Olivier Rodriguez to match the homeware collection, & ecle will be offering two courses — ¥5,900 for four dishes or ¥6,900 for five dishes — from March 7 to March 31.

All the dishes will be artfully presented on Iittala X Issey Miyake Home Collection tableware, and include such delights as lime-flavored Hokkaido spotted shrimp with white asparagus and dandelion with asparagus mousse, and a Cremet d’ Anjou fruit tomato with green-tomato coulis dessert.

The courses are reservation only, so visit the website for more details.


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