DAY 12. OSAKA. Today was spent with one of Kansai’s most fashionable and design conscious residents, Mariko Kakihara. We had a full day of taking in some of the design hot spots. Osaka is known more as a smaller brother to Tokyo, but has charm all it’s own. A creative haven for many of Japan’s leading artists and designers, it was challenging to get to it all in one day. We did our best. One of the hightlights was visiting the Studio, Workspace, cafe and Retail home of Graf Design. 

Their Approach:

Designing in a group

decorative mode number.3 was setup by 6 people—an architect, a product designer, a carpenter, a furniture
craftsman, an artist and a chef—to be able to carry out all kinds of design proposals with the living space as
a setting. Everything is founded on coproduction, from the original idea to design and production. When you’re
dealing with ‘living,’ possibility lies in everyone looking with a coordinated point of view at the association of
a ‘person’ and ‘time’ in the space where they both exist, according to the group work of your fellows outside
your line of expertise. You should ‘design’ an ‘architectural’ problem with and ‘art’-like idea; a ‘carpenter’ should
create a space with ‘furniture’ for the benefit of ‘food’.


There shop features mostly in-house-designed furniture, furnishings and clothing. They also curate live music (a pianist was performing above the cafe while we visited) and have an organic cafe. The building is connected by a stair case so you can start by checking out the top floor then making your way down to shop, check out music, then eat. An inspiring visit for sure. Many new ideas for packaging/events.

We then hit Tokyo based Claska's outpost in Osaka. A finely curated offering of homewares from some of Japan's leading designers. They have what looks to be a great hotel in Tokyo. On the list for next month!

After a look inside the Cesar Pelli designed National Museum and few gallery hits, we hit the Osaka Sky Building for some late night city viewing. Holy something! A beautiful space aged monolith. To reach the top observatory you ride escalators that float in glass tubes suspended with nothing but the ground way below…amazing. One of my favorite parts was the text and pictures outlining proposed “sky-buildings” of the future. These super modern buildings would be floating right above the earths atmosphere giving humankind a new place to live and relieving some of the stress on mother earth. super imaginative and inspiring. Imagine some of those graphics as tattoos! hmmmm….

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