Take That, Chinet & Dixie!

Japan’s been on a serious Traditional + Modern = Awesome design kick the last few years, as witnessed by the wa-modern renovation of Claska hotel, the entire 3rd floor of Tokyo Midtown, and the punk rock kimonos of Tsukikageya. On my recent trip back to the motherland I was introduced to WASARA, a stunningly gorgeous line of disposable tableware inspired by traditional Japanese pottery design. Apparently the same people behind the Higashiya confectioners in Nakameguro (that “hip” neighborhood the NYTimes has just now discovered) are responsible for these beauties…which makes sense given that the sublime package design for Higashiya’s wagashi is enough to make one weep.  JUST LOOK AT THIS:


My reaction to WASARA came in three distinct steps.  First, aesthetic delight at seeing the beautiful lines & curves of their bowls and plates. Second, a creeping skepticism about how anything disposable could possibly be eco-friendly. Third, salvation upon realizing that it’s made from reed pulp and sugarcane waste — all biodegradable and highly renewable resources that are in no danger of running out.  I’m usually not a fan of disposable products but we all know that when you’re having a party in a small apartment you’re gonna have to bust out the fugly Chinet anyway!  I led a trend expedition on the topic of Eco/Sustainability last year in Tokyo and one of the main insights was that the Japanese approach to eco is pretty much “No Compromise.”  That means that just because something is eco-friendly or organic it shouldn’t be ugly or taste bad.  As a shameless aesthete, I wholeheartedly second that emotion.  Attn: MoMA Design Store buyers, if you’re reading this, please begin importing WASARA immediately.

e38186e381a4e3828f2As this second volume (Nov 2008) of the Discover Japan mook (as in, “magazine + book”) series indicates, Japan takes pottery very, very seriously.  The cover reads: “Nippon: Land of Serving Vessels.”  Tell me about it!  My mother spends more time plating food on her extensive collection than she does on actually cooking.  I love that WASARA brings the same sort of aesthetic appreciation to something as banal as paper plates.  That Bambu stuff from a while back was a nice attempt but it doesn’t exactly make your heart skip a beat, you know? And don’t even get me started on what I think about Phillipe Starck’s plastic partyware


About suite2046

Trend Analysis & Applied Futurism. London / NY / Tokyo.

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