We are always on the look-out for good design in the things around us, so it comes as no surprise that for our third Best of 2013 articles, we wanted to showcase the product designs that made an impression over the year. This time we asked Junya Sakumoto, who runs the Nakameguro shop and gallery space sakumotto, as well as handling art and design direction for many kinds of projects.
Design is a reflection of our lifestyles, so what did 2013 give us? Let’s take a look.
What were the product designs that made the biggest impression on you in 2013?
(Image captions are by PingMag.)
Schemata Architects / Jo Nagasaka
Photo: takumi ota
Schemeta Architects handled both architecture and interior design, and this is their new furniture series, ColoRing. The vibrant wooden patterns are created through blending the traditional woodwork technique of udukuri and another method inspired by lacquerware from Tsugaru in Aomori.
This is more artwork than product design. Fabrica Features’ DRAWING GLASS is, as the name suggests, a series that takes a single picture and turns it into a three-dimensional item. The designer puts his or her idea into a picture and this is then handed over to the artisans to make the actual product, turning the design process into a form of communication.
ECAL/Anaïs Benoit Dignac, Arthur Didier, Edrris Gaaloul
This was exhibition at ‘Low-Tech Factory’, the exhibition of work by students from École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) in Switzerland. It is a minimal lamp made using a special wooden apparatus (see the video below). The same exhibition actually featured a whole range of other unique designs, such as a rocking chair that becomes a knitting machine!
This table is by architecture design unit ciguë. For its materials, it uses the same kind of pallet you might use in a garden, imbuing the table with real natural texture.
here and there No.1
This chair is by Hiroko Shiratori, who works in everything from furniture to spatial design and installations. It might look like wobbly seat to sit in but you’ll be surprised by how steady it is. And as it can be folded up, it also wins top marks for space efficiency.
This minimal bottle opener by Oscar Diaz is devoid of any excess, easy to use, and beautiful. Wonderful!
Less: N1 Catenary Pottery Printer
This is, for want of a better word, awesome. A ceramic printer! Well, this is obviously not a high-tech model. It makes things through know-how and ingenuity, really demonstrating how technology isn’t the only thing required for an invention.
This cutlery by designer Qiyun Den is made in the shape of vegetables, a simple brilliant idea that would certainly liven up the dinner table and make everything you eat seem healthy.
IGARASHI / KAKUDA
This tableware is a collaboration between potter Motoji Igarashi and designer Yota Kakuda. While its form is minimal and beautiful, there is real warmth to the design too that makes you want to serve up meals on these items every day.
Finally, what artists, brands or design trends can we look forward to in 2014?
Recently I’m been interested in designers working with the theme of materials and the production process. Today we are able to get the same product all over the world, and it’s often the case that we don’t actually know where its materials are from or what process led to it being in your hand. It seems that these days monetary value is more important than the value of the object itself. So I feel a tendency starting that re-examines the original value of things.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that new design units and teams are being formed with very divergent members. These include craftsmen and they are working to make new things by working together with small organizations. This also seems to be taking us back to the source of monozukuri.
In Japan there are lots of teams full of cool, interesting young designers and I hope people will also start to hear about them overseas too.
Junya Sakumoto, thanks for the great selection.
Sakumotto is also producing a special Christmas “gift market” in Shinjuku Lumine this month. If you liked Junya Sakumoto’s choice of product design, be sure to check out his Christmas present ideas at the market.
December 3rd to 25th, 11:00-22:00
Lumine Shinjuku Lumine2 (2F, Information)