Japan’s Elevator From Earth to Low Orbit Space

“For over a century scientists and sci-fi writers alike have dreamed of creating a space elevator to ferry astronauts and payloads between the Earth and low orbit,” Jason Daley of Smithsonian Magazine writes. Now, Japanese scientists will make a step toward such a futuristic development. Two satellites—roughly four cubic inches—will test elevator motion in space, as they launch with a 33-foot steel cable binding them, …

Word of Mouth: Tokyo Design and Architecture

We explore some of the Japanese capital's most exciting and alluring structures

Shrines and temples hidden in lush gardens can be found right next to futuristic glass skyscrapers in Tokyo. The dense, exciting city can verge on visual overload for many, with countless colors, shapes, textures and breathtaking views filling the landscape. Of course, architecture continues to be valued at an extremely high level in a country that excels in artistic and creative disciplines. From Yoshio Taniguchi’s sublime …

Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Japan's pizza vending machines, Detroit Design Month, "sextech" patents and more

Detroit Design Festival Grows to Month-Long Extravaganza In 2015, Detroit was anointed as the first-ever UNESCO City of Design in the United States. This honor pertains to their astounding past and the continued revitalization coursing through the Motor City as we speak. In celebration of the award and the abundant creative energy, Detroit Design Core has expanded the Detroit Design Festival from one week’s worth of activities …

A Pizza-Making Vending Machine Popped Up in Japan

Italy, the mecca of slow-cooking and pizza perfectionism, drove the first iteration of the pizza vending machine out of town—Claudio Torghele’s Let’s Pizza. Now, the Japanese version, Pizza Self, has appeared outside of a video rental store in Hiroshima. A pizza will set you back around ¥980 (around $9 USD) and, in five minutes, it makes a Neapolitan-style margherita or quattro formaggio pizza, then boxes and …

Japan’s Shupatto Bags Easily Collapse for Simple Stowing

From totes to backpacks, foldable ripstop polyester products that roll up to save space

In many ways, the Shupatto bags, produced by Marna, act as an easy-to-decipher optical illusion. The Japanese company designs and manufactures a range of ripstop nylon products—totes of varying sizes, a backpack and more—that collapse and roll into surprisingly small bundles for stowing. This concept isn’t new, but the way Marna has engineered all of them is—thanks to an intuitive structure drawn from the world …