A single plastic sheet that changes into a flower vase when water is poured on to it, an electric bucket that performs the functions of a washing machine and the first portable transistor television in the world.

What's common among these simple, daily use products? No prizes for guessing if you have been to the Lalit Kala Akademi in the city where 100 such marvels in designs are on display.

The Consulate-General of Japan in Chennai and ABK-AOTS Dosokai Tamilnadu Centre in association with Japan Foundation are organising ‘Japanese Design Today 100', an exhibition that opened on Wednesday showcasing the achievements of the design leaders, then and now. The 10-day exhibition also commemorates the 60th anniversary of Japan-India diplomatic relations.

From simple household items that put one in awe to marvels in engineering and technology, the range of products exhibited were designed 1950s onwards. There are at least more than a few models that people in every age group would take a liking for.

For instance, a group of visiting school children were all praise looking at a pen designed for people with weak grip. Products such as a bright coloured steam and dry iron for people who do not like to take their clothes out of the hanger, G-type soy sauce bottle that would ensure the contents do not spill and ergonomically designed furniture were some of the designs that visitors wished they even got to check out for themselves.

Technology and automobiles enthusiasts were looking keenly at the compact car designs from the post-war years such as a Mazda K360 designed in 1959 and an electric scooter manufactured by Yamaha Motors and designed in 2003 for “quieter running”.

The contents of this travelling exhibition range from posters to prints to crafts to traditional toys.

Inaugurating the exhibition, Masanori Nakano, Consul-General of Japan, said that in the recent years the relationship between Japan and India had been making rapid progress in various fields.

“I hope the exhibition will introduce some aspects of Japanese culture in Chennai to promote mutual understanding and friendship,” he said. S.Gopal, president and M.R. Ranganathan, Chairman of ABK-AOTS Dosokai, Tamilnadu centre and R.M. Palaniappan, regional director, Lalit Kala Akademi spoke.

The exhibition is on till January 27 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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