WEEKLY

THE EDIBLE STATIONERY
文具也能吃?

世上有一種溫暖,唯有手握文具時才能確切感受到。日本素來是文具控心目中的天堂,各大公司至今仍孜孜不倦地研發新文具,致力提升功能和使用感。當冷冰冰的電腦成為主流,文具的定位亦隨之蛻變,被賦予不同的新角色:思考的工具、質感的追求、念舊的情懷,甚或是……用來吃的食物?透過日本文具品牌KOKUYO舉辦的年度國際文具設計比賽,我們將能窺見文具過人的生命力。

對紙質有追求的你,大概對歐洲的筆記本品牌Moleskine、Rhodia、Leuchtturm1917不會感到陌生,但如果只用上這幾個品牌的筆記本,實在是一筆龐大的開支。而KOKUYO出品的Campus筆記本則價廉物美,是一眾中小學生背包裏的必備品。若要計算其普及程度?不難。在日本,已售出的Campus筆記本堆積起來,相當於一百座富士山的高度。KOKUYO作為日本文具界的翹楚,逾百年來本着「Universal Design」的理念,開發盡可能適合所有人使用的文具。為了推動文具業的發展,它更於2002年創辦「KOKUYO Design Award」,每年訂立不同的設計主題,希望世界各地的參加者能以用家的角度出發,設計出嶄新的文具。KOKUYO Design Award更會將優秀的作品商品化,例如「Kadokeshi多角擦膠」、「Campus paracuruno易揭筆記本」、「Beetle Tip 3-way螢光筆」等,都是比賽的獲獎作品。其中「Kadokeshi多角擦膠」更成為紐約現代藝術博物館的永久館藏。

文具絕不是文具控的專利,而是每個人對生活方式的探究。昔日我們見字如面,見信如晤,在紙上肆無忌憚地表達自己的情感;如今用電腦打字,硬邦邦的字體卻無法傳遞心意。拿起筆,用筆尖摩挲紙張的質感,是一種珍貴的體驗。我們選用怎樣的文具,其實也在反映自身的性格。現在不妨看看過去的獲獎作品如何跨越觀念上的藩籬,重啟文具的影響力吧。

食之具(食べようぐ)/2017
在香港,零食是辦公族的精神食糧,茶水間總有一大堆零食,但日本的職場氛圍如此沉重,當然沒有吃零食的習慣。不過,如果食物能提升工作效率,為何不可算是文具的一種呢?設計者把糖分、能量、咖啡因分解出來,變成一口大小的形狀,讓上班族在疲倦、沒精神,或睡意太濃時,可淺淺品嚐。

時間的船(時の舟)/2017
分秒必爭,乃是職場的生存之道。我們費盡力氣,擠出時間多做幾倍工作,慢慢成為工作的傀儡、時間的奴隸。這個時鐘的形狀模仿一艘船,上面只印有一個刻度,寓意我們的生活能像在大海航行般,不用仔細計算時間的流逝。設計者希望人們放慢腳步,靜思時間和人生的意義。

虛幻而美麗(儚く、美しく)/2015
日本美學中的「侘寂」,意指在樸實無華、蒼涼寂靜的事物中尋找美麗。花之所以如此美,皆因它會盛開,也會枯萎,我們不應忽略殘缺的部分。人們通常習慣於日曆上打交叉,但這個日曆卻一反傳統,叫人輕輕拉下線頭,看着日子悄然過去,把荒蕪感融入生活。

無名水彩(なまえのないえのぐ)/2012
在我們還是牙牙學語的時候,大概已懂得分辨顏色了。可是,若然要用三原色來分辨顏色,便困難得多。設計者突破墨守成規的做法,沒有在包裝上標示顏色名稱,只印上顏料的三原色組合,讓人重新理解色彩,並感受自行調配顏色的樂趣。

多角橡皮擦(カドケシ)/2002
不是每個人都貪新厭舊,不過有些東西例如橡皮擦,總是全新的比較靈活好用。這個橡皮擦有多達二十八個尖角,使用者可以不斷找到新的尖點,繪畫時就能準確地擦掉細微的部分。

由生活的必需品,到現在逐漸成為消費品,文具的定義越來越廣泛,發展亦更趨多元化。新一屆比賽的主題為「Beyond Boundaries」,目的是希望參加者能創造出與別不同的文具,以消除世界上諸多的界限。衝破界限,自由發揮,就是設計的本質。

過去幾年的獲獎作品,可參閱下列網址:
https://www.kokuyo.com/en/award/archive/prizepast

撰文:王以珞
照片來源:www.kokuyo.co.jp/
美術:王曉澄

There is a warmth that can only be felt when holding stationery with our hands. Japan has always been a heaven for stationery addicts, where many companies are still endeavoring to develop new stationery so as to enhance the functions and usages. As working with computer has been mainstreamed, the roles of stationery have also changed–from a mere working tool to a thinking tool, the pursuit of texture, a haze of nostalgia, or even…a kind of food? Through the “KOKUYO Design Award”, a competition held by a Japanese stationery brand called KOKUYO, we will be able to witness the exuberant vitality of stationery.

For those who always look for notebooks with top paper quality, you would probably know some of the legendary notebook brands from Europe such as Moleskine, Rhodia and Leuchtturm1917, but they are too expensive for impecunious students. Compared to those notebooks, the KOKUYO Campus notebooks are sold at much lower prices, making them the essential stationery in most of the students’ schoolbags. How to measure their popularity? Easy. The enormous pile of all the Campus notebooks sold in Japan is equivalent to the height of about a hundred of Mount Fuji. Bestowed the leading company in Japan’s stationery industry, KOKUYO clings to the concept “Universal Design”, which means designing products that can be used by as many people as possible. To foster the development of stationery industry, KOKUYO first held the “KOKUYO Design Award” competition in 2002, with an aim to encouraging participants to design new stationery that are suitable for the actual consumer market based on different yearly themes. KUKOYO would even commercialize the designs to actual products if they think the designs are applicable in real life situations. The “Kadokeshi” plastic eraser, “Paracuruno” Campus notebook and “Beetle Tip” highlighter pen are all the award winners. Among them, the “Kadokeshi” plastic eraser has also become the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Stationery are not made for stationery addicts, they are made for everyone to explore our ways of living. In the past, we cherish letters so much that we feel like we are able to connect with a person by hand-written words. We would express ourselves freely through our words on papers. Nowadays, we type everything in computers, but the words are cold and flat. Writing with pens is a precious experience, for we can feel the texture of the paper when the nib touches the paper. The way we choose the stationery is in fact reflecting our personalities. Let us see how the past winners of the design competition transcend the traditional notions and allow us to appreciate the importance of stationery.

Eatool (食べようぐ)/2017
In Hong Kong, snacks are the must-have items in pantries to help office workers stay awake, whereas eating snacks would give a bad impression in Japan. Yet, if snacks can boost people’s productivity, why can’t they be considered as a kind of stationery? The designers broke down the snacks into three elements, namely sugar, energy and caffeine, in bite size, so the office workers can consume when they are tired or sleepy.

Time Sail (時の舟)/2017
As an employee, we always work against the time. We try our best to squeeze time to work more, and slowly, we have all become the slaves to work and time. Engraved with only one simple mark, this Time Sail mimics the shape of a ship, symbolizing our lives can be just as sailing on the sea, where we do not feel the existence of time. The designers hope people would slow down their pace, and rethink about time as well as the meaning of life.

The Ephemeral Beauty (儚く、美しく)/2015
“Wabi-sabi” is a Japanese philosophy of discovering beautiful things in embracing impermanence. Flowers are beautiful in the way that they bloom and wither. We should never neglect imperfections. Many people would cross off the days on the calendar, but this calendar does not allow you to do so—you have to pull the string down. The designer wants to create a sense of desolation through this calendar.

Nameless Paint (なまえのないえのぐ)/2012
We are all capable of recognizing colors in our early ages. However, it would be quite difficult to name the proportion of primary colors in each color. The Nameless Paint, different from the ordinary paints, are not labeled with familiar color names, but the proportion of magenta, yellow and cyan. The designers offer an opportunity for people to re-explore how color works, and have fun in mixing colors.

Kadokeshi Plastic Eraser (カドケシ)/2002
I know not everyone likes new things only, but sometimes new things are better, such as erasers. This eraser contains up to 28 corners, thus users can always find a fresh corner to pinpoint small areas and erase the details.

From daily necessities to consumption goods, stationery items have been defined and developed in many new ways. With the theme “Beyond Boundaries”, this year’s competition aims to encourage participants to design stationery that can overcome the countless boundaries in the world. Think beyond boundaries and create freely. These are the nature of design.

For the past winners, please go to:
https://www.kokuyo.com/en/award/archive/prizepast

Text: Elok Wong
Photo: www.kokuyo.co.jp/
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #206

THE EDIBLE STATIONERY

 

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