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Karl Bengs: Keeping Memories Alive

German architectural designer Karl Bengs has emerged as a leading voice in the effort to save Japan’s traditional homes and depopulated mountain villages from extinction. Nippon.com recently visited him at his home in the rural Taketokoro district of Niigata Prefecture.

The World of Satō Kashiwa, Creative Director (Photos)Satō Kashiwa

Satō Kashiwa’s ambitious “iconic branding” projects span a wide range of media, industries, and themes, but they are consistent in the freshness and dynamism of their forms and the terse eloquence of the nonverbal language they use to communicate across cultures.

Creative Director Satō Kashiwa: An Eye for the IconicKiyono Yumi (Interviewer)

Creative director Satō Kashiwa has not only electrified the design world but also injected vitality into struggling companies and stodgy institutions with his bold, innovative approach to branding. On the eve of a world tour as Japan cultural envoy, Satō took time out to comment on his past projects and offer insight into the art of “iconic branding.”

Wood, Mold, and Japanese ArchitectureAnne Kohtz

Traditional Japanese architecture’s reliance on wood as a building material developed largely in response to Japan’s humid environment—particularly the warm, wet summer months. Raised floors and open spaces ensured proper ventilation to fight the buildup of toxic mold. Wood post-and-beam construction is also useful when designing for typhoon and earthquake resistance.

The Artistic World of Ozu Yasujirō on Display in TokyoWatanabe Reiko

A recent exhibit at the National Film Center in Tokyo showcases the refined artistic sensibilities of the renowned film director Ozu Yasujirō. The diverse array of objects displayed includes not only props and storyboards from Ozu films, but also his drawings and works of calligraphy. Viewed together these objects and other materials reveal the unique artistic vision of this legendary filmmaker.

Giving Design a Local Touch: Yamazaki Ryō and Studio-L

Community designer Yamazaki Ryō and his firm Studio-L are working with towns and smaller cities to help them survive and thrive in the face of a shrinking population. These innovative, collaborative projects can serve as a model for larger cities that will be facing similar problems, both in Japan and overseas.

Chip Kidd: How Japanese Pop Culture Inspired the World’s Best-Known Book DesignerPaul Warham

As America’s most in-demand book designer, Chip Kidd has carved out a unique niche for himself as a publishing phenomenon in his own right. Routinely referred to as “the world’s greatest book-jacket designer,” he has also been described as “the closest thing to a rock star in graphic design today.” Among the hundreds of books to benefit from his eye-catching designs are numerous works by Japanese writers, including Murakami Haruki, with whom he has worked for 20 years. Kidd describes Tokyo as “one of my favorite cities in the world.” Back in the city to attend the inaugural Tokyo International Literary Festival in early March 2013, he spoke about his fascination with Japan and the influence of Japanese pop culture on his work as a designer.

Nailing a Fashion Trend

The past decade has seen an explosion of interest in nail art among Japanese women. The number of nail salons and schools to train the “nailists” (as they are called) has skyrocketed. Here we take a look at this growing fashion trend.

Big in Beijing: Two Japanese Creative Workers Creating a Stir in ChinaKobayashi Sayuri

Although government-level relations between Japan and China remain tense, growing numbers of Japanese people have put down roots in China and are flourishing at the forefront of their fields. Beijing-based writer Kobayashi Sayuri talks to two of them about the challenges they have faced.

H Concept: Playful Designs to Enliven the World

The design company H Concept has made a name for itself by creating unique, fun-filled everyday consumer goods. Bucking the play-it-safe trend in today’s recession-laded world, the company seeks to offer consumers lovingly designed items that brighten up their lives.

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