Text by Rachel Carvosso; photos by Junya Hirokawa
DesignTide Tokyo, held again this year at the Tokyo Midtown, is a little oasis of intimate calm in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Roppongi district. The exhibition hall is big enough to make the experience relaxing in a city where large spaces are at a premium.
One of the designs that immediately caught my eye was the black lacquer lamp by Kenke Design that was established this year. It is the brainchild of Kensuke Yamaguchi, a designer with a background in art history, which makes sense when viewing the "Koshirae" light he's exhibiting. The word Koshirae refers to the mountings of Japanese swords that were traditionally covered in multiple coatings of lacquer.
Yamaguchi left the interior solutions company Ilya to study the traditional Japanese lacquer craft technique of "Urushi Nuri" in Kyoto, where he was selected for the Kyoto Design awards earlier this year. His small company combines the best of Japanese design elements: simplicity, craftsmanship and functionality.
The lamp unit is created using the lacquer technique 'Honkataji-roiro' leaving its surface a perfectly smooth, shiny black. The body of the lamp is also about the same width as a sword and sits on a choice of two possible bases allowing for both a horizontal or vertical mounting. At under a meter long (77cm), it's just the right size to be used as a floor or table lamp.
Another noteworthy detail is the lamp's internal switchless touch system, which allows the lamp to be turned off by lifting the entire body off of the stand (there's a regular on/off switch on the cord as well). The functional elements are largely hidden leaving a product that hints at its own functionality whilst remaining disarmingly abstract and simply executed.
DesignTide Tokyo / Tokyo Designers Week 2012 coverage:
» DTT: The Koshirae Light
» DTT: Paper-Wood by Drill Design
» TDW: Graphic Desing Meets Traditional Japanese Craft in Shinna Asano's Furniture