Style & Design | ON: DESIGN

Bright ideas that light up the web

by Mio Yamada

Staff Writer

Taking note of Triad

When Omoshiroi Block memo pads were highlighted on several popular design blogs last month, they sparked such a demand that Triad, the architectural model-making and design company behind them, soon found itself having to apologize on its website for selling out — not just of the featured blocks, but of everything.

The hype was well-deserved: Triad’s laser-cut note pads — which reveal meticulously rendered models of temples, landmarks, instruments or other objects as memo sheets are torn off — are like miniature works of art. Some of the note sheets themselves even have their own tiny cut-out details.

Now, the only way to get hold of the Omoshiroi Block series — which ranges from ¥1,058 for slim 20-sheet pads that unveil pictures in relief, to ¥10,800 for the sought-after 150-sheet architectural works — is to keep an eye on Triad’s website and Instagram feed for updates.

This month, On: Design looks at a few other interior products that also caused a buzz online.

www.triad-japan.com/en

Cats in the lap of luxury

Since cats rule the internet, unique cat furniture should be a shoo-in for online hype. Rinn’s Modern Cat Tree Neko, though, appeared to attract just as much attention for its startling ¥1,080,000 price tag as it did for its innovative design. The expense, however, is key: It reflects not only the careful thought behind the tree’s sculptural design, but also top-level artisanship and materials.

Minimalist enough to satisfy the fussiest of modernistic pet owners, the Neko cat tree is a three-floored column of wooden posts that allows cats to look out but still retain some privacy. The Greek marble base that anchors the structure doubles as a cooling pad for hot days, inner mats provide comfortable resting spots and the scratching post, which gives the abstract tree its trunk, is wrapped in a thick, replaceable, hemp cord.

Designed by Yoh Komiyama, the Neko cat tree is also hand crafted by Masaaki Ito, a master furniture artisan and cat owner who only creates up to 22 cat trees per year. If you have the means and order now, your pet could be living the high life after March.

neko-cattree.jp

| AKIHIRO YOSHIDA

The kanji for style

There’s rarely a time when a new Nendo product doesn’t cause a stir online. This time its fans are coveting Picto, a furniture capsule collection designed for the Chinese lifestyle brand Zens.

Picto takes inspiration from the thematic classifying aspect of kanji radicals, the base components of Chinese characters that can help readers identify words. Each piece has a triangular base (the “radical”), on top of which are balanced different shapes, depending on the function (or “meaning”) of the furniture. Complicated as that sounds, the results are minimalist: a pair of geometric, almost gravity-defying shelves, and a sleek stool and table — all of which resemble simple kanji.

Picto pieces range from $554 to $666 and are not sold in Japan but they can be shipped if you contact Zens directly.

Nendo: www.nendo.jp, Zens: www.zenslifestyle.com

Mobile tweets

In Singapore, design store Supermama is being applauded for bringing together 10 Japanese craft ateliers with four locally based designers to produce contemporary interior goods that emphasize the virtues of traditional craftsmanship.

The 39-piece collection, titled Kobo (the Japanese word for atelier), showed at Singapore Art Week last month and comprises items crafted in metal, bamboo, wood, fabric and paper. Highlights include hariko papier-mache daruma dolls in eye-catching designs, paulownia wooden boxes with vibrant accent colors and oxidized steel wires cleverly manipulated into stylized trivets and bottle openers. A favorite, though, is Clara Yee and Mother Tool’s Sparrow Mobile (¥4,320), an elegant desk ornament of paper birds that gently bob and rotate.

Sparrow Mobile is available in Japan from Mother Tool. For other Kobo items, contact Supermama via the website.

Supermama: kobocollection.com Mothertool: bit.ly/sparrowmthtl