Different strokes at Issey Miyake Inc.

The Issey Miyake Phantom Bag
The Issey Miyake Phantom Bag

Issey Miyake Inc., best known for its wide range of innovative clothing brands, has taken a slightly different approach to its newest store, which opened Sept. 1 in Tokyo’s Daikanyama district.

Set in a futuristic concrete building, Good Goods Issey Miyake’s interior is designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, who has sliced its walls diagonally with delicate green metallic slats that incorporate an unusual display system of interchangeable rods, rails and shelf units. There’s plenty on show in the space, but aside from a few hanging shirts and Good Goods logo T-shirts — there’s not one piece of clothing in sight.

Instead, on offer is a color-coordinated extensive collection of bags, usually only found at each of Issey Miyake Inc.’s individual brand stores. It’s a great way to see the edgy designs and state-of-the-art techniques the company is famous for, all in one space. You’ll find heat-pleated textiles, unusual textures and curious shapes, as well as exclusive Good Good’s limited-editions of some items, including me Issey Miyake” Trunk Pleats Bags with stripes that match the angle of Yoshioka’s interior design, and structured me Issey Miyake Solid Bags in exclusive colors. Other products include me Pleats Bags that fold neatly into little triangles, 132 5. Wrap Suede Bags that unfurl into rectangles, a collection of the iconic BaoBao bags and Issey Miyake’s new Phantom Bag, which is held together with snap buttons and unfolds to become completely flat.

Good Goods plans to change its content on a regular basis, though its focus will remain on bags and accessories. And with Tokujin’s clever adjustable store fittings, it’ll likely look quite different with each visit.

Good Goods Issey Miyake: T2 Bldg, 19-8 Sarugakocho, Shibuya, Tokyo; www.isseymiyake.com

Getting sake into shape

Gatch Inc.’s three Ikkon Double Wall Sake Cups look similar on the outside, but they hide little secrets on the inside. Made using a double-layer ceramic technique characteristic of Obori-soma ware, a centuries old tradition, each vessel has a different shaped cavity designed to enhance the flavor of the beverage it holds.

The curved and shallow Round highlights fruitiness for sake with a rounded texture; the Narrow tapers toward the bottom to change the feel and flavor of the sake as you drink from lower in the cup; and the more conventional Straight, a simple linear cavity, allows you to experience the complexity of all five tastes (sweet, spicy, bitter, sour and salty). Quite how this works is a bit of a mystery, but if different styles of glasses can heighten the flavors and aromas of wines, then it stands to reason that a cup shape can also affect a drinker’s enjoyment of sake.

Available in white, pale green or black, and subtly debossed with silhouettes of their inner shapes to make them identifiable, Ikkon DoubleWall Sake Cups can be bought as a boxed set for ¥9,720 or, if you know exactly how you like to drink your sake, individually at ¥3,024.


Reflecting on the future of crafts

Traditional urushi lacquerware, stunning as it is, is time-consuming and expensive to produce. Inevitably, many lacquerware companies have had to adapt to the market by using new materials, such as polyurethane, to offer alternative and more affordable items. Change, though, can be inspiring and Sekisaka, a 317-year-old company, has taken that a step further by not only embracing and experimenting with different resins but also collaborating with designers to produce contemporary vessels that retain a little classic flair.

Ware, Sekisaka’s latest item, however, isn’t even a dish or bowl. The outcome of a focus on acrylic and designed by Osaka-based Oy, it’s a multidirectional mirror that offers different viewpoints depending on which way it’s set down. Made of just two sheets of acrylic — a rectangle bent into a base and a mirrored oval piece slotted in at an angle — it’s simple but effective, not to mention light and easy to move around when needed.

There are three kinds, all priced at ¥4,968, each with the mirror angled differently (one is even folded), and they come in a range of colors, all transparent to allow light to filter through.

Sekisaka plans to release Ware in October. For more information, keep an eye on the ataW online store at ata-w.jp.

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