Omoshiroi Blocks: Japanese Memo Pads Reveal Intricate Buildings As The Pages Get Used

We’ve all had the expe­ri­ence, grow­ing up, of using notepads for some­thing oth­er than their intend­ed pur­pose: run­ning our thumbs down their stacked-up pages and savor­ing the buzzing sound, turn­ing them into flip­books by painstak­ing­ly draw­ing a frame on each page, and even — in times of tru­ly dire bore­dom — cut­ting them down into unusu­al sizes and shapes. Now, Japan­ese archi­tec­tur­al mod­el mak­er Tri­ad has ele­vat­ed that youth­ful impulse to great heights of aes­thet­ic refine­ment with their line­up of Omoshi­roi Blocks.

The Japan­ese word omoshi­roi (面白い) can trans­late to “inter­est­ing,” “fun,” “amus­ing,” or a whole host of oth­er such descrip­tors that might come to the mind of some­one who runs across an Omoshi­roi Block in per­son, or even on the inter­net.

Accord­ing to Spoon & Tam­a­go, Tri­ad uses “laser-cut­ting tech­nol­o­gy to cre­ate what is, at first, just a seem­ing­ly nor­mal square cube of paper note cards. But as the note cards get used, an object begins to appear. And you’ll have to exhaust the entire deck of cards to ful­ly exca­vate the hid­den object.

These objects include “var­i­ous notable archi­tec­tur­al sites in Japan like Kyoto’s Kiy­omizud­era Tem­ple, Tokyo’s Asakusa Tem­ple and Tokyo Tow­er. The blocks are com­posed of over 100 sheets of paper and each sheet is dif­fer­ent from the next in the same way that indi­vid­ual moments stack up togeth­er to form a mem­o­ry.” Oth­er three-dimen­sion­al enti­ties exca­vat­able from Omoshi­roi Blocks include trains, cam­eras, and even the streetscape of Detroit, which includes the late John C. Port­man Jr.‘s Renais­sance Cen­ter — the Tokyo Tow­er, you might say, of the Motor City.

You can see most of these Omoshi­roi Blocks, and oth­ers, on Tri­ad’s Insta­gram account. You may have no oth­er option at the moment, since Tri­ad’s offi­cial site has recent­ly been over­whelmed by vis­i­tors, pre­sum­ably seek­ing a few of these recent­ly-gone-viral blocks for them­selves. Besides, notes their most recent Insta­gram post, “all items are out of stock. So, over­seas ship­ping is not pos­si­ble at this moment. Please wait for our online shop announce­ments to be updat­ed.”

Until then, accord­ing to Spoon & Tam­a­go, you might try your luck find­ing one at the Osa­ka branch of Tokyu Hands, Japan’s most cre­ative depart­ment store.

If you can’t make it out there, rest assured that Tri­ad will prob­a­bly have their online shop up and run­ning before this year’s hol­i­day sea­son, thus pro­vid­ing you with an impres­sive gift option for the enthu­si­asts in your life of archi­tec­ture, sta­tionery, uncon­ven­tion­al uses of tech­nol­o­gy, small-scale intri­cate crafts­man­ship, and the arti­facts of Japan­ese cul­ture — all fields in which Japan has spent hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of years excelling.

via Spoon and Tam­a­go/ h/t @herhandsmyhands

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Japan­ese Design­ers May Have Cre­at­ed the Most Accu­rate Map of Our World: See the Autha­Graph

Mes­mer­iz­ing GIFs Illus­trate the Art of Tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese Wood Join­ery — All Done With­out Screws, Nails, or Glue

The Mak­ing of Japan­ese Hand­made Paper: A Short Film Doc­u­ments an 800-Year-Old Tra­di­tion

The Art of Col­lo­type: See a Near Extinct Print­ing Tech­nique, as Lov­ing­ly Prac­ticed by a Japan­ese Mas­ter Crafts­man

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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