design

Screw it with a smile thanks to this unusual screwdriver set from Tokyo artist Yuma Kano

Screw it with a smile thanks to this unusual screwdriver set from Tokyo artist Yuma Kano

When it comes to screwing, most people would choose a Phillips head or a flat-head to get the job done. Or if you’re in Japan, where they use different terms, you’d ask for a plus (+) or a minus (-) screwdriver to get things going. Now though, it seems the humble screw has just received a facelift, thanks to a clever design collaboration between a Tokyo artist and a manufacturer from Osaka. The only thing cuter than a tiny smiley screw is the adorable driver that screws them in!

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Hey, I know that brand! Designers reinvent six world-famous logos in Chinese

Hey, I know that brand! Designers reinvent six world-famous logos in Chinese

Whether you speak the language or not, thanks to their logos and packaging, when you see a familiar product like Mars or Coca Cola in a foreign country, you recognise it immediately. Multinational companies pay vast sums of money to reinvent their logos for use abroad, taking great pains to ensure that while the characters may change, the brand, style and message remain the same.

Along with fellow creative Stephen Wright, Shanghai-based freelance designer and illustrator Niek van Wingerden is currently making waves over on creative portfolio site Behance where he is displaying a collection of six world-famous logos, re-imagined in Chinese.

Even if you don’t speak the lingo, we know you’ll recognise these logos!

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Let’s toast to our feline friends — Five cute and tasty cat-themed alcoholic drinks

Let’s toast to our feline friends — Five cute and tasty cat-themed alcoholic drinks

Annual Cat Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating all things feline, does it? That’s right, as fond as we are of cats, we don’t really need a reason to express our affection for our feline friends, and in that spirit, some of the lovely reporters at our sister site Pouch decided to get together and come up with a list of the best cat-themed alcoholic drinks around. Cats and alcohol, now that sounds like a dangerously attractive combination!

To get their hands on some of the fun and tasty cat-themed drinks out there, our reporters used the services of major Japanese online liquor distributor Kakuyasu. Let’s see what their top five pics were.

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Japanese commenters react to British designer’s “Rekindle” candle

Japanese commenters react to British designer’s “Rekindle” candle

As you have no doubt realised, It’s the 21 century now (at least according the Gregorian calendar!) so most of us don’t really need to use candles. If you happen to light up a stick or two at night, it’s probably for the mood lighting more than anything. But even if you use them only sparingly, they don’t really last that long, do they? After only a few short hours, your candles will be gone, and you’ll have to buy more.

If only there were a way to easily and quickly reuse all the leftover wax! After all, it’s not like the wax is unusable–it’s just all in the wrong shape. But what a mess it would be, trying to remake a candle! Unless there were a way to drain all that gooey wax into a mold

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Breakfast art: Instagramer photographs beautiful morning meals

Breakfast art: Instagramer photographs beautiful morning meals

Kei Yamazaki is a graphic designer in Japan who is a self-proclaimed breakfast lover. Her Instagram account is positively bursting with gorgeous images of her homemade morning meals that will make any challenged cook or hungry late-riser jealous. And we hear you, “Yeah yeah, it’s just breakfast, so what!” But 232,238 followers can’t be wrong; these are breakfast plates you’re going to want to see (and eat)!

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Samurai Vodka’s bottle design is a cut above the rest

Samurai Vodka’s bottle design is a cut above the rest

Back in 2009 an interesting design for a bottle of Samurai Vodka was posted on Behance, a website where graphic artists and designers can showcase their works. More recently, it was picked up by a Reddit user, thus sending the clever design by Arthur Schreiber viral around the world. And quite frankly it deserves to be seen in all four corners.

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Russian designer turns Disney outfits into stunning haute couture!

Russian designer turns Disney outfits into stunning haute couture!

Disney animations are timeless classics loved by children and adults across the globe. We’ve seen quite a lot of Disney related items here on RocketNews24, both official and fanmade, but none of those look quite as fashionable as these drawings of Disney-inspired avant-garde runway fashion!

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Astro-cat is ready for take off with this DIY “kitty backpack”!

Astro-cat is ready for take off with this DIY “kitty backpack”!

Pets are wonderful. They liven up the house, bring us warmth and love, and help us keep in touch with our human side after a long day of toughening ourselves up in the harsh world out there. Sometimes, they even inspire us to be creative!

Check out this space-age “kitty backpack” designed by a cat-loving Chinese netizen! This might very well be how pet carriers will look like in the future!

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How cute is your numberplate? Japan’s Tottori Prefecture bring the kawaii to its cars

How cute is your numberplate? Japan’s Tottori Prefecture bring the kawaii to its cars

Coming from the UK, I was always both amused and envious whenever I saw car registration plates during visits to the US. Every one I saw had a little state-specific design or message etched into it, whereas all plates in the UK are the same: dull black letters and numbers on a yellow background. The same can be said about plates in Japan, although the names of larger towns and prefectures in which the vehicle is registered are also shown above the row of numbers.

The town of Kotoura in Japan’s Tottori Prefecture, however, just blew even America’s plates out of the water with this über cute design, which features a portly cow, a pair of frolicking flying fish, and one of the town’s mascot characters holding the produce the area is famous for.

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This inappropriate lamp gives new meaning to the phrase “turn you on”

This inappropriate lamp gives new meaning to the phrase “turn you on”

In 1994, the product design company, Propaganda, was established in Thailand to fill the need for playful products in home and work environments. Since then, the fun-loving brand has expanded immensely. Stores can be found in more than 30 different countries, including Japan, the US, and many parts of Europe.

Today we’d like to focus on one of Propaganda’s many tongue-in-cheek trinkets. This peculiar lamp is certain to brighten your day.

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Behold: Tokyo’s labrynthine subway map in 3-D form!

Behold: Tokyo’s labrynthine subway map in 3-D form!

If you’ve ever used the Tokyo Metro, or even browsed maps of the rail network online, you’ll know that it is a positive maze of lines, colours, numbers and names that even locals sometimes have trouble navigating. Compared to the London Underground or even New York’s massive subway system, the Tokyo Metro is absolute chaos on paper, making us wonder how it could possibly all run so smoothly on a daily basis.

Thanks to one Tokyo University graduate’s efforts, however, we now know exactly what is going on beneath our feet, with this three-dimensional model filled with coloured liquids representing every twist, turn, climb and dip the Metro’s tunnels make in real life.

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Chinese designer depicts Eastern vs. Western human behaviors in clever pictographs

Chinese designer depicts Eastern vs. Western human behaviors in clever pictographs

We almost wonder whether Yang Liu, a Beijing-born designer who has lived in Germany since 1990, was tripping when she put together these hip, riddle-like pictographs that abstractly convey behavioral differences between Westerners and Easterns; or more specifically, Germans and Chinese.

Relying on her experiences in Europe and China, Liu put together these clever designs that are a sort of Rorschach test for which region you identify with. We found ourselves staring and trying to figure out what they stood for, then nodding in agreement about one side or the other, but not always the side Liu expected us to identify with.

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Japanese company hopes to reinvent the umbrella with “Unbrella”

Japanese company hopes to reinvent the umbrella with “Unbrella”

Particularly during the autumn typhoon season but even through all types of weather, Japanese people like to keep an umbrella at hand to protect from the elements. Surprisingly, since ancient times when it was developed, the umbrella has seen little in the way of substantial improvements. Sure there have been upgrades in collapsibility and wind-resistance features, but the general structure of a parasol and all the arguable flaws inherent with it remain. This is where Japanese company h-concept steps in and hopes you buy their Unbrella which aims to rectify everything wrong with the traditional umbrella. For the hefty price tag of 9,450 yen (US$95) they seem confident it’s got what it takes to do it.

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Six incredibly interesting items inspired by origami

Six incredibly interesting items inspired by origami

The art of origami is one of Japan’s most widely recognized cultural contributions to the international world. Although the practice of paper-folding has many possible roots, the Japanese approach to sculpting three-dimensional shapes from flat squares has had a large impact on many people’s approach to not just art, but also packaging and product design. Here are six very special items, designed both in and out of Japan, which claim inspiration from the practice of origami.

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Mamoris: Looks like a toilet, works like a hard hat

Mamoris: Looks like a toilet, works like a hard hat

In an earthquake-, typhoon- and Godzilla-prone country like Japan, you’ve got to think about disaster preparedness. Most people here have an emergency kit ready by the door and most offices conduct drills on responding to a disaster. The big problem is storage space. You need a lot of room when you are trying to provide food, water, first aid and physical protection to a number of people.

One company has come up with a new solution for the protection part of the equation: a simple chair that doubles as a hard hat with the simple twist of a dial.

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Why can’t Hello Kitty seem to keep a steady job?

Why can’t Hello Kitty seem to keep a steady job?

Starting with Hello Kitty’s first appearance on a vinyl coin purse in 1974, Japan’s favorite cartoon cat has been popping up all over the place! Her trademark image graces a wide range of items, from apparel to accessories and a vast array of tools and trinkets, not to mention toys and sometimes food. Sometimes she appears as a fashion-forward feline, or a cutesy maid, maybe an accomplished office worker, or even an Eva pilot!

We now understand that she works so hard to pay off her company’s debt, but that still begs the question of why the cat-woman can’t build a career in a single line of work. If I jumped ship and found new jobs as fast and frequently as Hello Kitty, I could never gain the trust of any future employers, so what is it about Hello Kitty’s methods that rakes in the moolah?

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Japan’s coolest capsule hotel to close: Last chance to experience sleeping in the future!

Japan’s coolest capsule hotel to close: Last chance to experience sleeping in the future!

Capsule hotels, the uniquely Japanese accommodation solution no doubt on every Japanophile’s to-do list, have never really caught on outside of their homeland. Whether it’s down to individuals’ ideas of what constitutes comfort and privacy, or simply the fact that so many Westerners freak out at the very thought of climbing into a space resembling something between a spaceship escape pod and a coffin, most capsule startups outside of Japan have failed. While these unique hotels continue to serve those who are on a budget or simply too intoxicated to make it home safely, and show no signs of disappearing from Japan’s cityscapes any time soon, it is with deep regret that we bring you news today that Kyoto’s Nine Hours, arguably the coolest and most modern capsule hotel in the country, is to close.

Tourists, late-night drinkers and those who have always fantasised about waking up in an Aperture Science test chamber have only until October 31 to check out the hotel and experience space-age comfort, so we’re here to show you exactly why you should head over to Nine Hours’ website right now and make a reservation.

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Let there be light! This clever sheet of paper is actually a handy torch

Let there be light! This clever sheet of paper is actually a handy torch

To the untrained eye, this little device created by designer Kazuhiro Yamanaka appears to be a regular piece of paper. Well, almost. When rolled into a cylindrical tube, however, two cleverly hidden switches power up an attached LED and voila, instant illumination.
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Stackable Cube Homes the Answer to Beijing’s Housing Problems?

Stackable Cube Homes the Answer to Beijing’s Housing Problems?

Looking for a hot new pad? Check out these incredible cuboid ‘module style’ houses designed by China’s liu lubin studio. Read More

The UNiMO Wheelchair: a Sofa-Inspired Mini Tank That Takes You Anywhere

The UNiMO Wheelchair: a Sofa-Inspired Mini Tank That Takes You Anywhere

Japanese Tech firm Nano-Optonics Energy has developed a new all-terrain mobility machine that goes where wheelchairs usually fear to tread. Quite literally.

The UNiMO uses built-in sensors, independent suspension and rubber crawler tracks to navigate trips to the beach, gravel roads, hilly treks, and snow-covered surfaces, all with an unprecedented level of safety. It can even make its way over 15-centimetre (6-inch) steps and ditches.

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