This clever “stay-brella”— created by the Japanese design firm Nendo exclusively for Seibu department stores in Japan — has a forked handle design that gives it a foot to stand on when not in use. This little feature also allows the umbrella to easily hang from tables and stay propped up on a wall when drying. The umbrella comes in eight different colors and has a strap to hang from the arm. A special surface coating reduces UV rays by 90%, a great feature in a country where folks use umbrellas for sun protection as much, if not more often, than rain protection. All photos by Akihiro Yoshida.
Finnish brand Iittala has teamed up with the Paris-based designers (and this year’s London Design Medalists) Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec to design Ruutu, a collection of 10 vases available in five sizes and seven colors. Ruutu, which means diamond or square in Finnish, can be combined to make seamless installations where delicate, watercolor-like palettes and light seem to melt together like molten glass. Like Ittala’s iconic Alvar Aalto collection, Ruutu is created in Iittala’s Finnish factory where each vase takes seven craftsmen 24 hours to produce symmetrical items that still look and feel handmade. Each vase has the designers’ name engraved on the base. The vases will be available for purchase in early 2015. All images courtesy Iittala. A little video where the designers discuss their design: