Japanese Craftsmanship Gets an Update in These LED Patterned Tiles


© Fresh Jones

© Fresh Jones

Japanese designer Michiru Tanaka has released a new product partnering with lighting manufacturer Kaneka to create a stainless steel tile that doubles as both an LED and a mirror. A graduate of Tokyo’s Musashino Art University, Tanaka pursued a career in architectural lighting and her projects range from commercial installations, lighting at museums as well as product design. Coined “Kumiko,” the tiles come from a fusion of inspirations, ranging from traditional Japanese architecture and woodworking techniques to Manhattan’s gridded cityscape. 


© Fresh Jones

© Fresh Jones

Kaneka has developed a series of ultra thin LED panels using “OLED” technology, with each panel a razor-thin 1mm thick. Each panel provides 55K of light, emitting no UV rays while generating a wide spectrum of white light. The panels’ innovative technology means they can provide up to 50,000 hours of light – around 10,000 hours longer than standard LED’s. 


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© Fresh Jones

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The diffused light that the panels create eliminates any harsh shadows and can create an atmospheric and soft interior glow when installed in different settings. The light emitted also provides “excellent colour rendering” – meaning it can reveal a wider spectrum of colours faithfully compared to a natural light source.


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© Fresh Jones

© Fresh Jones

© Fresh Jones

Easily integrated into walls and shelving or showcased by itself in its remarkably simple form, Kaneka OLED represents the evolution of light, space and design – Kaneka OLED.


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© Fresh Jones

Composed of magnetically backed modules, the Kumiko tiles are made from reflective steel components forming different designs. The name “Kumiko” is derived from the ancient Japanese woodworking technique of assembling different pieces together without nails, creating unique patterns. The technique is hundreds of years old (600-700 AD) and has been passed down through generations of craftsmen in Japan.


© Fresh Jones

© Fresh Jones

© Fresh Jones

© Fresh Jones

The tiles are designed to snap onto surface-mounted walls as panels, creating tiled pieces that light a room up with diffused light and convert back to a mirror in the absence of lighting, with a thickness of 8.5mm. The tiles can be arranged as components of larger panels in groups of 3, 6 or more. 


© Fresh Jones

© Fresh Jones

Tanaka has recently used her Kumiko tiles to design a site-specific “mirror maze” installation with architect Thomas Kosbau of Ore Design + Technology, which opened in Manhattan-based Great Jones Studio in June.


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© Fresh Jones

Information courtesy of Fresh Jones.

Cornell University’s Intuitive Push/Pull Furniture Series Blends Asian Sensibility with New York Flavor

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