Earlier this month Tokyo’s Design Week festivities welcomed everyone with the slogan, “Hello Design” – no kitty in sight. As always, this year’s designs from students, architects, artists and technology companies among the offerings, reshaped the way we think of some things. There was the foldable living unit where the designers actually lived during Tokyo Design Week. Perhaps it’s an interesting option for a crowded world. On a similar theme, was a “room” attached to rails on the ceiling, allowing the furniture and walls to be moved around, which would be a fun game to play when your significant other returns home from a wine and cheese party. An architect created a building concept of a skyscraper shaped like a giraffe – a yet untested structure. After all, design in Tokyo or anywhere else wouldn’t be relevant if it didn’t help us reinvent the way we see and experience the world.
Of course, the more notable items at Tokyo Design Week were the fun and whimsical, and possibly useful things such as Nubot which is like Elf-Yourself on steroids for Skype. Nubot is a headless doll/stuffed animal. Insert your smartphone with your face on the Skype screen, and via remote control it can go to your virtual meeting as your avatar. Handy when you absolutely need to be in two places at once. For a more relaxing design option there are deck chairs in shapes of other things – a crocodile or something else. New and interesting ways of configuring lamps include a “stuffed shirt” light which doubles a conversation starter at holiday parties. Perhaps this light could be plugged in to something called a “Hanaga Tap,” which is an electrical outlet shaped like a nose. Plug in your device and the cord dangling from the nose evokes other images. Okay, so none of these items are likely to appear as Black Friday deals, at least not this year. But some time in the future who knows?