Data + Design Project

Painting With The Earth: A Large-Scale Mural Made of Mud

Thursday 10.09.2014 , Posted by
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After 2 weeks of labor, Japanese artist and painter Yusuke Asai has completed a stunning mural that looks as though it was created with a large palette of brown paints, but in actuality he used 27 different types of soil. Since he was commissioned to do this work in Houston, Texas, Asai used dirt that was local to the area. He was expecting to have 10 different shades, but was pleasantly surprised with the 17 bonus soils, collected by students and volunteers, which included shades of red, green, and yellow. Although Asai has been doing this work since 2008, he has never worked with so many shades. He calls this piece “yamatane”, which is Japanese for “mountain seed”. Surprisingly, the only art training that Asai has had was a ceramics class in high school. When he realized he could not afford art school at a university, he studied folk and tribal art on his own at zoos and museums, and perfected his own techniques. [Read more...]

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Hand Colored Photographs of Japan in the 1880s

Friday 09.26.2014 , Posted by
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In today’s world we can access photos instantly from almost every part of the planet, but almost 130 years ago, photos weren’t nearly as commonplace. It’s no surprise then, that images that were seen from other locations around the world shaped global perceptions and even identity. One such example was the collection of Italian photographer Adolfo Farsari and his series on the fascinating nation of Japan. [Read more...]

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This Japanese Spa Proves Coffee, Wine, Green Tea, & Sake Aren’t Just For Drinking

Friday 09.19.2014 , Posted by
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While we’ve heard about the antioxidant benefits of drinking a glass of red wine per day, there are other ways of using the reservatol to reduce environmental damage to your skin. In fact, Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt is rumored to have bathed in wine, and at a resort in Hakone, Japan, you can also receive the royal treatment. Yunessun Spa Resort is the largest wine spa in the world and offers a variety of liquid soaks for various skin benefits. [Read more...]

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Step Inside a Human-Sized Kaleidoscope

Monday 07.21.2014 , Posted by
Saya Miyazaki Wink Space 1

The 2013 Kobe Biennale featured an Art Container Contest, challenging entrants to build something spectacular within the confines of the standard shipping container. Designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki created something that enlarged that ‘confined’ space to one that was nearly infinite – a kaleidoscope large enough to step inside. [Read more...]

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The Village in Japan Where There are More Dolls than People

Friday 07.18.2014 , Posted by
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On the island of Shikoku, Japan lies the village of Nagoru – a place where life-size dolls outnumber people. It used to be an active community, but over the years many Nagoru locals moved to Osaka or Tokyo for jobs, and the village shrank to just a few dozen people. One of the locals that left was Ayano Tsukimi, but after years away she came back to the quaint place. In memory of her friends and family that lived there before, she began to make dolls based on their lives. [Read more...]

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Short on Space? Try Ultra-Small Bonsai Trees

Tuesday 06.03.2014 , Posted by
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Is your tiny studio apartment too tiny even for a bonsai tree? Nope. These are easily small enough. Apparently there’s an ultra-small bonsai trend sweeping Japan that includes examples reaching no higher than 3cm (1.18 in)! Not all there are trees of course – many are succulents and some are even weeds plucked from the sidewalk. [Read more...]

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Google Sent One Man to a Deserted Japanese Island… to Map It

Monday 05.26.2014 , Posted by
Gunkanjima Google Street View header

Forget roads. Google is more and more frequently found mapping the entire face of the planet, often with their 360 degree recording, backpack-based Google Trekker. In one recent adventure, they sent one man to document abandoned Hashima island off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan. With buildings deteriorating so quickly that it’s reported you can hear concrete collapse when the wind blows, it could be the Trekker’s most dangerous foray yet. Don’t worry about wearing a hard hat though – you can now tour the island from the safety of your screen. [Read more...]

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92 Year Old Grandma Creates Simply Stunning Embroidered Temari Balls

Friday 12.20.2013 , Posted by
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Traditionally created from the remnants of tattered or old kimonos, temari (Japanese for hand ball) are a traditional toy and art form. When the tradition began, the kimono fabric would be wadded up in the shape of a ball and covered with strips of fabric, wrapped so tightly that it would bounce. Over time, it became a craft and the stitching become more intricate and artistic. The centers were replaced with rubber once it was brought to Japan and the art form became a competitive craft among women in the Japanese upper class. Here are some beautiful examples of temari created by a 92 year old grandmother, Nana Akua and photographed by her granddaughter.
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Meet Darcy, The Flying Hedgehog of Instagram

Wednesday 12.18.2013 , Posted by
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Cats are so last week. At least that’s a sentiment most internet users will consider the first time they come across Darcy the flying hedgehog. Three years ago Darcy’s owner, Shota Tsukamoto of Tokyo Japan, popped the adorable quilled creature on Instagram and ever since the fans have been rolling in. Who wouldn’t be amused by the fantastic things Darcy gets up to? Riding flamingos, exploring fuzzy shoes and generally lounging around are all on the days list of activities… but Darcy does them all with endearing style. [Read more...]

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Artist Cuts Exquisite Trees into Luxury Shopping Bags

Thursday 12.12.2013 , Posted by
Yuken Teruya Trees Cut Into Paper Bags 1

If there’s one living thing NOT excited about the holiday season, it has to be the tree. Think of all the wrapping paper, newspaper ad sections and piles of shopping bags! Japanese artist Yuken Teruya has been transforming that last item into something that recalls its living source. With impressive precision he cuts a two-part silhouette – the lower branches and trunk, and the leafy top – into the side of each bag. Then he carefully folds them down into the space inside, joining the two shapes together and finally rooting the base of the trunk with a single drop of glue. Looking inside, viewers are treated to a magically idillic scene, softly lit through the holes above. [Read more...]

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