Here's some brilliantly intellectual work from Takeshi Miyakawa.
Not to generalize, but one thing I really adore about the designers trained in Japan is that so much of their work seems to have deep, spiritual implications. It can often be quite clever, also, but they're able to create truly beautiful pieces that express the most timeless concepts.
Miyakawa's "Infinity" is the perfect example:
He's taken the arrangement of a traditional (opposite facing) loveseat and executed it with an M.C. Escher sort of Surrealism...as much as a real object can be surreal, that is.
"Rabbit" is still only a prototype, but he had a cute little model of it at the show that I was playing with. He told me that's how he usually works, by first making a miniature and then translating the model to life-size:
This falls into the "clever" category, and here I go again with the idea of adaptability. It can fold up to be a stool or a small table. In playing with it, I also thought it could be positioned in different ways to provide a higher or lower seat, one that allows the user to recline more, and so on.
Some of the positions I tried may be unsound under the weight of a person, but there's no reason the lever things couldn't be made to lock into place to solve that problem.
"14+1" looks like a random stack of boxes:
I could be wrong, but something about the proportions of the boxes strikes me as obeying the Golden Mean or some other ancient formula. In any case, the cool thing is that some of the boxes slide out, revealing secret compartments on the inside and openings through the piece:
But perhaps the most astonishing thing Miyakawa has done is "Fractal":
Priced at $20,000, it's really more of an art object than a piece of furniture, but he says the piece is extremely difficult and time-consuming to make, and I can most definitely believe that. Still, it's totally functional. Fractals of course are infinite formulas, a marvel of modern geometry, and while the drawers in reality can only get so tiny before he has to stop (the smallest is a cube a little larger than a quarter), the spiritual symbolism of this is truly incredible.
©2008, Ryan Witte