Designboom in Tokyo

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To add to the crazy number of interesting events happening during Tokyo Design Week, online design magazine Designboom is coming to Tokyo for the first time to participate in the 100% Design Tokyo exhibition (November 2-6). Their show will include more than 40 designers from around the world, and will be presented in the form of a bazaar, with items on sale being “design-originals” (limited series or prototypes). Sounds like fun, and the prices are set to start at 1000 yen (up to 15 000 yen), so there’ll be something there for even the tightest of budgets.

Pictured in this post are the “Birdi Nam Nam” porcelain lamps, by Buero Fuer Form (Germany).

On Design

My new column for THE JAPAN TIMES, called “On Design,” is going to appear in the lifestyle section of tomorrow’s paper (Tuesday), and will continue on a monthly basis every fourth Tuesday. In it, I will spotlight 4-5 items that I feel to be noteworthy for their design. For this first edition I chose 4 diverse things, to give an idea of what will be covered, but future columns will probably have a theme to them. So pick up the paper tomorrow (or read it online), and let me know what you think.

For manufacturers/designers reading this, please send me press releases and contact info for items that you feel might be of interest. Take note that the column covers Japan designs only.

Update: The column is now online.

Metropolis 600

This week’s issue of METROPOLIS marks the big 600 for the magazine, and the cover feature is a fun look at 600+ tidbits (so massive it needs to be continued in the next issue) about the city. Congrats to the whole crew for making it so far! The weekly has been a constant (back from when it was called TOKYO CLASSIFIED) the whole time I’ve lived here, and I still pick up every issue.

CET 2005

harada_01The annual “Central East Tokyo” (CET) event, part of the ongoing R-project that aims to “revitalize Tokyo’s economically and culturally depressed central east district,” is getting set for its third appearance (October 1-10). Events will take place in many areas (Marunouchi, Nihonbashi, Kanda, Higashi-Kanda, Akihabara, Bukuro-cho, and Hacchoubori), with the theme this year being “Street Culture Tokyo.” Yukiko Harada talks about the event at REALTOKYO, and I’m already excited about the “Office Vacant” exhibition (designers/artists rethink the typical Japanese work space). I’m not exactly sure how you get your hands on one of their “cultural” maps though (their site has next to no info in English, only this).

Another Kami-Robo Exhibition

5406-170If you missed out on seeing the Kami-Robo shows at GGG and the Parco Gallery earlier this year (some previous posts), here’s another chance to see Tomohiro Yasui’s paper fighters in all their glory, this time at the KDDI Designing Studio.

KDDI Designing Studio showcases over 200 “Kami-Robos”, robot-fighters made out of paper. Discover their variety, and experience just part of a whole new world lying ahead. (TAB)

It starts today, and ends October 2.

Update: Be warned, it seems that this is just a low-key “artist profile” kinda thing, so don’t go there expecting something anywhere close to the GGG or Parco Gallery shows.

Theater Flyer Collection Exhibition

32C9-170The “Theater Flyer Collection Exhibition,” which I mentioned in a post last week, is ending this week, and I’m posting the TAB entry as a reminder that you should really catch this if you haven’t already. It’s an amazing collection of graphic work, and don’t let a lack of interest in the theater stop you.

This is an exhibition of 350 flyers from the “Theater Flyer Collection” by Pie Books. Fliers for theaters are usually high quality designs that convey the personality of the performers and appeal of the performance. For small companies that have no way of reaching people through the media, flyers are an irreplacable communication tool. This is an exhibition for theatergoers and non-theatergoes alike. (TAB)

It’s at Creation Gallery G8, and ends September 30 (this Friday).

This Week in Magazines

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  • This month’s SWITCH (October) is their 20th anniversary issue, and at the same time acts as a fashion issue. Coverboy Masaharu Fukuyama gets a lot of coverage inside, appearing in a few articles (fashion spreads, profiles). Fans of Chiaki Kuriyama might want to check out the issue, as she also appears in a fashion piece. The actual concept for the issue is “No Music, No Style” (Fukuyama is a famous singer), and the magazine’s feature spotlights various musicians/bands wearing popular fashion brands.
  • The latest issue of GIRLIE (07) is all about TV, and probably won’t be of much interest if you don’t already know anything about Japanese TV. They cover the shows that you should be watching, and the entire design/layout is that of the weekly/monthly TV guides they sell at newsstands.
  • Kaoru Kasai is the designer featured in the latest IDEA (312), with a detailed look at her commercial work. I was actually quite surprised at the amount of famous ads/CMs she’d created — if you live in Japan, you’ve seen tons of her stuff without even knowing it. As always, the entire issue is a pleasure to leaf through, in a beautiful package (very nice paper), with bilingual text.
  • Want to know how good the new issue of DESIGN NOTE (4) is? It made me come home and open my kanji study books, because I so want to be able to read this magazine (technically it’s a mook). The cover feature is a profile of various creative directors (including my personal favorite, Kenya Hara), with a stunning collection of works on display. Also, they cover the “Takeo Paper Show 2005,” and devote a lot of space to the idea of design through paper (with gorgeous examples). Highly recommended, even if you can’t read anything.

Maku Remu

Although I’ve yet to meet him in meatspace (even though he doesn’t live that far from my place), David Macklem has been a longtime reader and we keep in touch. I updated you a while back on the work he did for Knee High Media’s relaunched website, and his latest site is for the independent music label Soulside Kitchen. He’s also formed a design collective: Maku Remu.

Uncharted Settlements

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If the above image (“Uncharted Settlements I”) is anything to go by, the upcoming Slater Bradley show at the Taka Ishii Gallery in November is going to be a fun one — let the geek within take control!

Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to announce the debut solo exhibition in Japan of New York based artist Slater Bradley. A selection of the artist’s recent solo and group museum exhibitions includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, 2005), the Museum Reina Sofia (Madrid, 2005) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, 2004). Slater Bradley’s work was first exhibited in Japan in the group exhibition Study (Taka Ishii Gallery, 2002). In 1998 the artist collaborated with Takashi Murakami’s Hiropon Factory on the release and distribution of the video Take me home forever and ever .

A significant portion of Slater Bradley’s work is comprised of photographs and films produced in collaboration with his friend and look-alike, Benjamin Brock. Throughout their collaboration, Brock has served as Bradley’s doppelganger – first posing as the artist in press and other promotional material, subsequently portraying cultural icons significant to Bradley. The icons impersonated by Brock include two independent rock musicians, Ian Curtis of the band Joy Division and Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana, as well as the ubiquitous Michael Jackson. Significantly, each of these cultural figures was destroyed, in large part, by the public nature of their existence. Both Curtis and Cobain, having attained early fame, committed suicide; Michael Jackson’s continual transformation from pop idol to spectacle continues to unfold in the media. For each icon, Bradley produced a film using equipment and formal devices directly referencing the figure and their time. These films and their accompanying photographs comprise the series known as the Doppelganger Trilogy .

Taka Ishii Gallery will exhibit, in its entirety, a new body of work entitled Uncharted Settlements. This new series consists of 6 large-scale photographic works, a film piece and a boxed photographic portfolio. Uncharted Settlements exists as a record of Bradley and Brock’s participation in Celebration III, a convention organized by fans of the Star Wars film series. Dressed in Star Wars costumes, the artist and his doppelganger pose for photographs, capture moments on film and make new friends; their actions indistinguishable from those of other convention participants. Star Wars serves as a further environment in which Bradley may examine mediated identity; the participation of a cast other than Brock -a cast which includes Bradley himself- further complicates the project.

The show will be held November 11 to December 10.