Origami Cupcake

The Great (Bamboo) Wall: Architecture by Kengo Kuma

Design, Japan, Traditional Japan

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I love this guesthouse designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Built in Beijing the design was inspired by the Great Wall, a geometric form which merges with the surrounding landscape. In Kengo Kuma’s design this same effect is achieved through the use of bamboo, which both emphasises the house’s modern lines and creates a sense of harmony with the outside world.

You can see Kengo Kuma’s website here to see his many other designs, as well as floor plans and architectual sketches.

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Featured Designer: Simone Legno of Tokidoki

Art, Fashion, Japan

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I love Japanese Pop Art. But I love it even more when other people also get excited about Japan, and start reinterpreting the country’s rich visual heritage into their own personal vision. This is exactly how designer Simone Legno began Tokidoki, creating a whimsical and happy world with a sophisticated and sexy edge.

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Adorable Miniatures from Re-ment & Megahouse

Japan

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I really want these super kawaai miniatures Jen44 posted on her flickr account from Re-ment and Megahouse. If I could live in that doll house…

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Decor by Kimono Designer Jotaro Saito

Design, Fashion, Japan, Traditional Japan

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I love Jotaro Saito’s kimonos; his work has the restrained, classic style of traditional Japan, while still  being modern and fresh. But when I saw his interior design I was even more impressed. All the hallmarks of his kimono design are there: dark colours, luscious pattern and texture, a perfect mixture of old and new.

Here’s a link to his official website.

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The Chaotic World of Cleon Peterson

Art

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After seeing Cleon Peterson’s work recently in the magazine One Small Seed and I had to post a few pictures of his beautifully macabre work. Today Peterson lives with his wife and two children, working as a commercial designer by day and fine artist by night. But for over a decade; between dropping out of highschool at 15 and returning to college in 2004, Peterson lived the chaotic life he now paints. He comments:

I’d say that everyone sane sees the world through the lens of their past experiences. Living in a desperate world of addiction bring out the worst in you and in your peers… I can say that I experienced things that most haven’t in those years and that desperation makes morals and ethics very flexible.”

I love this work, and the honestly behind it. While his website is nonexistent, check out this interview for a glimpse into Peterson’s work process. You can also buy his work here.

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Japanese Street Fashion: Photos by Akif Hakan Celebi

Fashion, Japan, Photography

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Last month I promised you more from photographer Akif Hakan Celebi, after posting his portraits of geisha. Today I’ll skip the introductions and go straight to his series on Japanese street fashion. You can check out his extensive body of work on his official website and deviant art site.

 

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Beautiful Bonsai

Japan, Traditional Japan

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To be honest I’ve never really liked bonsai all that much. Too many interior decorators seem to think that if you have a bonsai and a Buddha in the same room then you’ve got an exotic Japanese theme. Not to mention that identical bonsai’s cultivated in bulk are somewhat less than impressive. But seeing these pictures made me realize that growing bonsai’s really is an art form of its own, at least when the Japanese do it.

Sorry I can’t remember where I got these pictures from so no links today.

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Origami Inspired Christian Dior

Design, Fashion

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I couldn’t resist posting these pictures from Christian Dior’s 2007 Spring/Summer Couture Collection inspired by Madame Butterfly. Here’s a link to the Vogue Catwalk Report, including close-ups of the dresses.

This collection which was both praised profusely, and harshly criticized for its all-pervading Orientalism. While the fact that it’s couture needs to be taken into consideration, I can’t help but feel that these dresses mix the sublime with the ridiculous – a classic example of taking elements from another culture without any of the spirit behind it.

The collection has none of the  simplicity and restraint of traditional Japan, but the dresses are decadent and bold. It’s John Galliano doing Japan his own way, with Japan as the stage for his own fantasy ball. This is what makes it new, and what makes it interesting.

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The Creepiest Dolls Ever: Enchanted Doll

Design

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Marina Bychkova’s website Enchanted Doll is a collection of her custom-made dolls. Each ball jointed porcelain doll is unique, with costumes are made with high quality materials like 24 k gold,  Sterling Silver and precious gems. They also don’t come cheap, reaching high prices on auction.

Personally, I don’t know what to make of them, in some ways they’re quite beautiful, and I can admire the skill and labor involved in making one but… they scare me. Context has a lot to do with how we interpret things, and I would have no problem with these dolls if they were exhibited in a gallery setting and presented as a critique of our distorted ideal of beauty. But that’s not the case, while the fact that this website has a firm fan following is another unintended irony.

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Tokyo’s Twilight: Photo’s by Sato Shintaro

Art, Design, Japan, Photography

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Shintaro Sato is a photographer known for his iridescent images of Tokyo’s twilight. Sato takes his photographs the old-fashioned way using his Toyo 4 x 5 camera, and yet the photos give the illusion of digital manipulation. This surreal quality is enhanced by the lack of people, as if the city was a miniaturized set. You can visit his official website or even buy his book Tokyo Twilight Zone available here.

 

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