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‘Most wanted’ in Japanese design

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The Interior Lifestyle Tokyo trade fair, an annual event held in June at Tokyo Big Sight, always showcases an impressive number of Japanese participants. This year, On Design picks its favorites from the fair’s “Wanted” special exhibition of designers looking for collaborators or overseas distributors.

The little things

Inspired by the Bauhaus school, designer Tomoki Inoue’s Loop & Box collection of minimalist jewelry has a geometric focus that lends it an architectural air. But Inoue’s use of shapes are not simply surface decoration. Each piece is like a stand-alone sculptural artwork that becomes transformed when worn.

Square wirework rings appear as tiny cages until, when wrapped around the finger, they become sets of straight lines; flat shapes are cleverly bent so that when worn, they appear 3-D and solid; and earring posts are not only functional but also an integral part of the jewelry’s overall aesthetic. Each item, despite often being angular, has also been designed for comfort.

Inoue makes every piece by hand, with prices starting from ¥16,200 for the simplest silver ring. Check out Tokyo design stores Cibone and Sempre and the Loop & Box website and Instagram account for the full range of designs.

loop-and-box.com, www.instagram.com/loop_and_box

Making patterns

Newsed, already an On: Design favorite, upcycles used materials and discarded off-cuts into whimsical small goods. Its latest item, Kouzou Plamo, is a structural model kit cut from leftover architectural canvas — the same kind of textile used for the air-supported roof of Tokyo Dome.

Designed by Tomohiro Okazaki, two sets are available, each priced at ¥6,264 and containing three differently shaped pieces. Every snowflake-like part has loops or tabs that can be slotted into each other, allowing users to create 3-D clusters that are strong enough to be tossed around like a ball.

An unusual toy that should keep the fidgety happy for hours, Kouzou Plamo will be available from Newsed’s Up Cycle Store from August.

Reducing waste is something that Keita Hanazawa of Knot and designer Yoko Takabe have also taken to heart with their collaboration for New Pattern. Taking its cue from traditional garments such as kimono, which are made from single bolts of fabric, New Pattern is a long-sleeved shirt made from a single, approximately 2×1-meter rectangular piece of organic cotton. The pattern ensures that almost every single square centimeter of the fabric is used, and the result is a loose shirt that doesn’t skimp on quality. The collar and cuffs are sharp and extra details include a fly front and a small outer pocket.

Available at ¥19,008 for a medium and ¥19,764 for a large, New Pattern will be released by Knot in mid July.

Newsed: upcyclestore.shop-pro.jp; Knot: knot.website

Steel Hook Bar, by Keiji Ashizawa for Ishinomaki Laboratory
Steel Hook Bar, by Keiji Ashizawa for Ishinomaki Laboratory | MASAKI OGAWA

Touch wood

Ise Magazine Rack, by Drill Design for Ishinomaki Laboratory
Ise Magazine Rack, by Drill Design for Ishinomaki Laboratory | MASAKI OGAWA

Ishinomaki Laboratory — the brand that began as a project to help revitalize a disaster-struck area of Miyagi Prefecture — is still going strong, producing design collaborations of minimalist interior goods made with locally sourced woods. Life — its new 14-piece collection of everyday items — is designed by an illustrious lineup, including Torafu Architects Inc., Drill Design and Keiji Ashizawa. As always, the focus is on functionality, with items including trays, bookends, stools and even a small furniture dolly that doubles as a skateboard.

All items also have a detail that make them even more functional. The Ise Magazine Rack by Drill Design (pictured, ¥11,664), for example, has a slot in the middle that allows you to wrap string around the magazines and tie them into a neat pile, while the flat coat hooks of Keiji Ashizawa’s Steel Hook Bar (¥6,264) can be repositioned to give bulky garments more room to hang.

Items in the Life collection will soon be available via the Ishinomaki Laboratory online store, but to order now, you can email the company directly.

bit.ly/ishinomakilabstore, email: info@ishinomaki-lab.org