Saturday, October 27, 2012

Made in Japan: 100 New Products Review

Made in Japan: 100 New Products

Flipping through the book I didn't think any connection to LA would be found. On page 107, item 041 caught my attention . "Knot" a bag made of strong red rope was shown and I thought "Wait, I've seen this before!". Sure enough, when I read through the piece on the red rope bag it mentions as shop in LA carrying it.

It's a small world after all as some of the stylish products in Made in Japan: 100 New Products might be in some high end Beverly Hills and ritzy LA shops. For those who have the income or want some higher end products you might see this book as a catalog. For others it might me a book on handsome consumerism. In reality it's both as Japan excellent sense of style and workmanship is seen on every page. Next to every picture showing off fanciful products are outstanding articles on how they were created, how useful they are and the people an design groups that created them.

Different techniques and looking into the past of certain objects is a common occurrence for this book. For example the "Guh" , C-bin and O-bin shaped trash cans that hug each other, show off some of the innovation brought on from finding a way to make something better. The reason the Guh (hug spelled backwards) was created was to find a nicer looking way to separate trash for recycling.

Nicer looking doesn't even go into the detail of all the products, some resembling dream scape ideas like "Rock" by Jin Kuramot. How would you like it if plants grew out of rubies? The rubie flower vases may look different in shape, but remain stackable for a striking look.

Not everything is striking, some innovations are just to better common products like redone coat hangers or a minimalistic toaster or multiple bowls that can be placed in one another to save space. That's a feature written about often, saving space as Japan homes must often do. Saving energy and resources is a common theme too.

Made in Japan covers not only simple household rewrites like a new take on the dumbbell and common household watering can for plants, but on technology. Redesigns on a CD player to baby thermometer that is simply placed on the head makes you wonder what else can be remade. I'm kind of astonished I didn't see a section devoted to cell phones with the book being about Japan and all.

 There's some curious creations that are modelled more on Japan life like "Sleepy" by Daisuke Motogoi Architecture that resembles a folded up futon. You have the Sakurasaku cups that leave cherry blossoms condensation shapes on the surface they were placed. You have the Ikea like Altar For One God, that makes a Japanese traditional altar look like something you'd find in Target. I'm surprised by the Pencut and Kamikirimushi which rethink what scissors should be. Pencut allows travels size scissors in the shape of a pen, while Kamikirimushi makes scissors that take the form of a mouse.

Made in Japan is a book of ideas and what was behind them. Showing off the fascinating aspects of Japanese culture and it's wants, needs and pleasures. Many are the same as ours, many are altered takes on are own. All of them are fascinating to read and lookt at. They may inspire you too.