Japan Creative shines a spotlight on the “different characters” of the country’s regional crafts

Japan Creative

Japan’s unique regional manufacturers are put under the spotlight by Japan Creative, an organisation that has paired them with international designers including Jasper Morrison, Daniel Rybakken and Industrial Facility to create new work.

Japan Creative

British designer Jasper Morrison has expanded on his earlier Palma project for Japan Creative, adding a second tea kettle

The non-profit organisation exhibited for the second time at this year’s Milan design week, presenting new products based on laquerware from Sabae, paper from Shizuoka, cast iron from Mizusawa and Aji inscription stone from Mount Goken.

In previous years, it has instigated projects like Stefan Diez’ Soba furniture, made using unprocessed bamboo from the groves surrounding manufacturer Taketora in Kochi Prefecture.

Japan Creative
Morrison’s homeware is made at cast-iron foundry Oigen, which has been in operation since 1852

The organisation launched in 2012 and works to bring international attention to Japanese craftsmanship, or “monozukuri”, which locally is already highly valued. Each year it picks three of Japan’s many small specialty manufacturers to focus on, and then selects a designer from overseas to complement each of them.

“Each area has a different character, and it affects the manufacturer’s techniques,” said Maho Masuzaki from Japan Creative, explaining the country’s many diverse specialities.

“We focus on whether the manufacturer has some unique material or technique, not only traditional ones. First we select the manufacturer and then we think about which designer to put together with the company.”

Japan Creative
This year Japan Creative also launched kitchen tools by Leon Ransmeier made using Aji stone by manufacturers Shimamoto Sekizai

Many of these manufacturers have been in continuous operation for centuries. Industrial Facility worked with Sekisaka to produce the Store vessels based on the manufacturer’s 300-year-old laquerware techniques, while British designer Jasper Morrison expanded on his earlier Palma project, adding a second tea kettle created at cast-iron foundry Oigen.

The manufacturer has been producing this kind of ironware – named Nambu after the former ruling family in the Iwate prefecture – since 1852.

Japan Creative
Aji stone is known as the “diamond of granites” for its texture and sheen

Also included in this year’s new launches were a sound-absorbing hood made by Norwegian designer Daniel Rybakken and the Tokushu Tokai Paper company, and kitchen tools by Leon Ransmeier made using Aji stone by manufacturers Shimamoto Sekizai.

The stone is apparently known as the “diamond of granites” for its texture and sheen, and is usually used in gravestones, but Ransmeier used it in a rolling pin, nutcracker, and mortar and pestle to showcase its potential for “everyday use”.

Japan Creative
Industrial Facility worked with Sekisaka to produce the Store vessels based on the manufacturer’s 300-year-old lacquerware techniques

Industrial Facility’s Sam Hecht likened the country to Italy in the way it has managed to preserve its traditional crafts.

“With companies like Sekisaka, it’s very similar to Italy, where they are family companies that are generally handed down through generations,” he said.

“And the thing about family companies is, you can’t just stop. You can’t just close the door and say ‘oh well I’m going to do something else’ – you keep it going by default. So that’s why they have this ability to be able to adapt and to maintain their quality and their interests.”

Japan Creative
Industrial Facility’s Sam Hecht likened the country to Italy in the way it has managed to preserve its traditional crafts

Outside of Japan Creative, the country’s strong craft tradition is a frequent inspiration for designers. Barber and Osgerby worked with regional paper-lantern makers for their Hotaru lighting, while Nendo made a ceramic speaker in partnership with a potter.

Industrial Facility frequently works in Japan, including with the country’s design megastore Muji, which makes its products locally and recently collaborated with a number of artisans to introduce the handmade Tatazumai collection to its stores.

Japan Creative
This year Japan Creative also brought together Daniel Rybakken and the Tokushu Tokai Paper company to create a sound-dampening hood

“In Japan I feel the idea of craft – and it doesn’t have to be only handmade, it can be something that is produced in significant numbers, but still the process is crafted – people are really into that,” said Hecht. “There are tons of magazines that are exposing that in Japan, and it’s constantly part of the conversation.”

Japan Creative exhibited its projects during Milan design week at Palazzo Litta, where other works on show included bikes created by Punkt in collaboration with leading design schools. Its previous collaborations include works with Claesson Koivisto Rune, Nacho Carbonell and Inga Sempé.

[“source-ndtv”]

4 New LG X Series Phones Focus on Different Feature Sets

4 New LG X Series Phones Focus on Different Feature Sets

Smartphone makers are doing all they can to come up with the next best thing and until now, each attempt was designed to put more of the best technology in a single device. But there is only so much you can put in a form factor as small as a smartphone.

The new approach by LG takes a step back and deploys devices that specialize in one particular aspect of smartphone technology above all others. The four new LG X phones are part of a series the company launched earlier this year.

Introducing the LG X Series

The first two phones, the X Cam and X Screen focused, as the names suggests, on the camera and screen. This time around the new phones called X Power, X Mach, X Style and X Max also focus on different components.

The new X series phones share many of the base specs of LG’s flagship G and V series handsets, but they add on the specialized features. The information LG made available on these phones is very limited, so we will have to wait until they are released later this month to find out the exact specifications. The price and availability for each device will be announced locally in each market.

The X Power

This phone has one of the largest battery capacities of any smartphone on a slim 7.99mm body with 4,100mAh (Samsung Edge 7 has 3600 mAh and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus has 2915 mAh). So the power is considerably more than the top brands in the segment. Additionally, LG said the company’s fast charging (PE+) technology allows the X Power to be charged twice as fast.

The X Mach

The X Mach is built for speed and performance, with support for LTE Cat. 9 3CA for faster data transfer and a 1.8GHz processor to manage power intensive applications. It also has a QHD IPS Quantum display, a curved form factor and a large 1.55m sensor camera.

The X Style

According to LG, the X Style differentiates itself with curving lines, extra-slim body, and a large display. It is made to consume multimedia content.

The X Max

LG has provided even less information for the X Max than for the other three phones, with the company saying only that it has a “Large display” — but the size of the screen hasn’t been made available either.

The New LG Strategy

LG doesn’t even appear on the list of “Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2016 Preliminary Data” by IDC. How will the company’s strategy pan out as most other manufacturers adopt a more-is-better approach for their devices?

The company might find an audience with small businesses that need the specific technologies the X series of phones bring. Still a full set of specs and more importantly a menu of prices must be available before business owners can know if the phones are worthwhile.

Image: LG Electronics

More in: Gadgets

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Amaryllo Uses Kickstarter for iCamPro in a Different Way

iCamPro

With IP cameras flooding the market nowadays it’s hard to stand out. But Amaryllohas found a way to set its iCamPro FDH apart through crowdsourcing. Amaryllo claims the iCamPro is the world’s first robotic home security camera, able to see, hear, and track intruders. Amatyllo says it’s using an expensive technology usually only available to the military or professional security systems. That technology is being made an affordable and realistic option for homes and offices, the company says.

The camera itself gained attention at CES 2015, winning Best of Innovation for its ability to search for and track movement even in darkness. Amaryllo boasts a camera with a multiple-sensor network allowing for 360 degree auto tracking. It doesn’t matter what direction the camera is facing. It can detect movement and swivel around to catch it, the company says. With the use of an app, the iCamPro can send images and updates to your smartphone so you can see what’s going on while you are away.

Check out this video for an overview of the device:

Standing at just over three inches, the camera is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. And it can be installed on a flat surface, the wall, or the ceiling. The company boasts its camera is equipped with a high powered CPU to avoid video and audio delay. iCamPro’s firmware continuously updates it’s performance and features through the app.

The iCamPro Kickstarter campaign was not an ambitious one, with a goal of only $1,000. Yet the company has gained over a thousand backers pledging over $200,000. Another campaign is also running on Indiegogo with almost identical results. In all the company has raised over $430,000 with these two campaigns combined.

It’s possible Amaryllo has hit upon an effective marketing strategy that other businesses may seek to emulate. The company is already established with its own product line. So it’s doubtful the funding is needed to launch the iCamPro. Instead, the company has used the interest gained by two crowdfunding campaigns to generate both pre-orders and exposure for a new product.

Image: Amaryllo

More in: Crowdfunding, Gadgets

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Apple’s shops Getting New look as different stores conflict

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The San Francisco save, scheduled to open to the general public Saturday, is supposed to conjure theambiance of a metropolis rectangular in which people can gaze via giant windows to savour views of the city as they stroll through spacious aisles.

It additionally features a forty two-foot-tall sliding glass door that opens up to San Francisco’s busiestshopping district.

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this is a enterprise declaration, now not only a retail store,” Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s retailing chief,stated in an interview with The associated Press.

unless they’re in San Francisco, most Apple lovers may not be able to see the new look for a while. The Cupertino, California, enterprise plans to convert approximately five to 10 percentage of its presentstores to the idea yearly, Ahrendts said. a few stores will likely have to be moved from their contemporaryplaces in department stores to accommodate all the adjustments.

the brand new format culminates years of research via Ahrendts, who Apple CEO Tim cook lured far fromluxury fashion brand Burberry in 2014 to restyle the shops as purchasers more and more keep online as opposed to brick-and-mortar traders.

tons of that shift has been driven by way of the ubiquity of the iPhone and other smartphones which havemade it even simpler for shoppers to compare prices and purchase products at the cross. The upheaval is causing sales to gradual or cut back at many primary shops as humans spend much less time on themall.

it’s far sort of our fault that retail is changing,” Ahrendts said. “consequently, we realized that we needed to do something exclusive with our bodily area.”

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Even Apple is being affected by the online migration, with its digital keep attracting more than 3 times the400 million folks that visited its brick-and-mortar shops ultimate yr.

the shop adjustments consist of dispersing various accessories down a row of cubicles alongside a wall to simulate the enjoy of strolling from one small shop to the next. Apple is calling this location “Theavenue.”

Apple’s closely used “Genius Bar” for fixing issues with its gadgets is being renamed “Genius Grove” and being relocated into a larger region of the store with extra tables and chairs to create a extra enjoyablesurroundings for folks that might be confused about a malfunctioning iPhone or laptop.

Apple is likewise setting up cubes and balls in a place referred to as “The discussion boardthat mayseat up to 100 people for instructional periods about photography, track and other subjects includedby experts within the discipline. larger stores just like the one in San Francisco can have a area known as “The Boardroom” where tech startups and different small agencies can preserve closed-door periods.

The agency is also earmarking outside area at its shops in foremost cities that is meant to be like a small park to be able to be open to all comers around the clock.

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