Style & Design | ON: DESIGN

Enhancing the power of a flower

by Mio Yamada

Since many homes in Japan have little room for the impractical, flower arrangements tend to be modest. But unless you’re an expert ikebana practitioner, fashioning a few stems into an elegant display isn’t as easy as it sounds. This month, On: Design looks at several vases that enhance simple displays with charming and clever designs.

Fruits of collaboration

Hasami-yaki tableware maker Tokyo Saikai Co., Ltd has launched Ha’, a new brand that takes a playful approach to flower arranging. The lineup’s minimalist yet curvaceous forms, conceived by British designer Sebastian Bergne, not only make for striking contemporary objets d’art, but they also re-imagine the purpose of a vase. Two styles are available — Fruit, a tiny rotund bud vase, and Tuba, a family of U-shaped vessels.

Bergne, who is well-known for witty ideas that rethink everyday objects, actively encourages unconventional uses of the Tuba vases (from ¥9,180), each of which has a pair of different sized openings. For example, why not display flowers on one side and store pens on the other, or perhaps even use the whole thing as a banana stand?

It’s the Fruit micro vase (¥3,780), however, that is particularly whimsical. Standing alone, the object is like a cute fat doughnut. Add a tiny branch, though, and it’s transformed into an elegant fruit ornament. Simple, but visually very effective.

Tokyo Saikai: saikaishop.com

Great combinations

Tatsuya Okazaki, a ceramist who also enjoys a little humor in his work, designs tableware and interior goods with quirky details that often turn out to be intrinsic to function. It’s no surprise that three of his Ttyokzk brand designs — his Poire and Pomme sugar pots and Swing spice jars — have already enjoyed some fame as MoMA Design Store items.

His latest release, the C+g (from ¥4,104), combines pottery skills with glassware for a modernist interpretation of the bud vase. Here, a wide glass tumbler base ensures a cut flower or branch has access to plenty of water, while the protruding parts of a ceramic geometric lid act as a stem support. To change the angle of the flower or branch, simply adjust the ceramic top.

Also of note is Okazaki’s older design, the Combi, a system of ceramic modules that allows you to create slender conical vases in various heights and color combinations. With three base sizes and three neck sizes, all interchangeable, nine combinations can be made. All the parts also come in white, green or blue and can be bought individually to mix and match, with prices ranging from ¥1,080 to ¥3,240.

Ttyokzk: shop.ttyokzk.com

Floral line art

Designed for Void Draw () — a creative collective that focuses on rethinking design as a process of constant experimentation — the Water Line Vase debuted at Salone Satellite in Milan earlier this year and is the collaborative work of designer Natsuki Akanuma with pen and toy manufacturers The Pilot Ink Co. Ltd.

Akanuma combines Pilot’s Metamo heat-sensitive color ink with pottery to create a dynamic feature to her work, which itself looks like a physical manifestation of an abstract still-life painting. Metamo is used by Pilot in its erasable Frixion pens as well as for various color-changing toys. Here it alters the exterior color of the Water Line Vase from pale yellow to vibrant turquoise when cooled by the water inside.

Since it only changes color up to the water line, the Metamo ink creates a bold visual guide to how much liquid is inside the vessel, while its slightly unpredictable tones of blue add a painterly effect that perfectly matches Akanuma’s creative style.

It’s such a nice idea, but not a commercial product yet, so here’s hoping we’ll see it in production soon.

Void Draw(): voiddraw.tokyo/wp/work