Object Index Interview — Stationery Brand Launch


On display: April 5th to 20th, 2024.⁠


Object Index, operated by Kakimori, is a Japanese stationery brand that is built on the concept of ‘Good company for work and life’. The collection presents a handpicked selection of objects and work tools that are designed for today’s diverse lifestyles where work and life are seamlessly integrated.

Drawing on their experience of working closely with regional craftspeople, Object Index items were co-created with manufacturers and specialists across Japan to strike a balance between craft and mass manufacture. The brand’s design efforts are underpinned by a commitment to ‘Made in Japan’ and a desire to present stationery as everyday tools to a wider audience.

Please enjoy the conversation we had with Object Index about their perspectives on designing and working between craftsmanship and mass production in the modern era.

SORT: What is the meaning behind the name Object Index?

OBJECT INDEX: Object Index is a project that proposes work tools for a new life in which the boundaries between work and life have become blurred after COVID-19. At a time when work and play are evolving, and consumers face an abundance of choices, Object Index seeks out endearing items with the potential to become good companions for work, life, and everything that happens in between.

With this perspective in mind, we search for items from all over Japan that we find as good items through our own lens. Then we redesign them and develop original Object Index projects. We view this process as an effort to excavate and sample "objects" from all over Japan that can become diamonds in the rough. In other words, we see this process similar to creating a page in a dictionary, which brings us to the brand name and meaning behind it in the idea of adding an index to an object.

SORT: We really appreciate the simple and clean colour palette of the Object Index collection. What is the thinking process behind these visual choices?

OBJECT INDEX: Instead of wearing a suit and commuting to a uniform office, we imagine a person putting on a T-shirt and doing creative work in their living room. Object Index products are intended to fit naturally into the living space where work and home are integrated, and to bring a fresh impression to moments in life that sometimes feels mundane.

While mass production tends to result in monotonous colour development, as it caters to the needs of a larger number of people, our project aims to create a scale of manufacturing between "mass production" and "craft." Taking advantage of these aspects, we select the colours based on our choice as the primary users.


SORT: The open-style packaging for Object Index is a very unique design. What inspired the material choice, form, and design of the packaging?

OBJECT INDEX: Sometimes referred to as the "Galapagos," our project collects a wide variety of unique Japanese objects. We have set up a neutral visual identity similar to an art gallery to present the objects as well as the packaging design with the motif as "specimen." We believe this is the most suitable and interesting way to convey the goodness of the product itself, similar to the excitement felt when seeing a new species in a museum for the first time.

With the premise of being plastic-free packaging, the idea of an open form naturally emerged. The material used is cardboard with a recycling rate of over 98%, and it is made from recycled gray paper, which is usually considered poor quality. It has a structure that is folded and assembled like origami. The package is designed with attention to detail, such as the thickness of the paper and the cutting method so that the wavy layered cross section looks beautiful. In addition, the yellow tape that stands out against the gray cardboard is a modern take on the "mizuhiki" motif used in Japan's traditional gift culture. The particular bright yellow colour was chosen to resemble the concept of highlighting with a yellow marker and resembling an index sticky note.

* "Galapagos" is a Japanese business term used as an analogy to Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory, in which the development of goods "in relative isolation from the rest of the world with a focus on the local market" can lead to similarly differing products.

SORT: Within the collection, some products are very nostalgic, such as the Elementary Pencil Set and Kendama toy bringing an old school feel. At the same time, the branding and innovative objects evoke freshness. What ideas lead to the selection and creation of products to create a sense of both nostalgia and newness?

OBJECT INDEX: The basis of Object Index is to carefully hand-pick items that we really want to use, but at the same time, form a gallery that introduces Japan to the world through carrying out a meaningful curation. For example, Kendama is a traditional Japanese skill toy that is being forgotten in Japan. But as we reassess its simple and beautiful design, we notice that this object has meaningful cultural and aesthetic value. We believe that it is our role to re-propose the very existence of traditional items like this by presenting them from a different perspective so they can become integrated into our modern lives.

SORT: Object Index works in between the themes of mass production and craftsmanship. How does the brand's approach to redesigning objects reflect this theme?

OBJECT INDEX: Even though the world is full of things, we are conscious of the problem of being unable to find “just the right thing” to use. Due to the recent popularity of craft, the prices of high-quality products have soared, and they are no longer affordable. On top of this, the pursuit of efficiency in mass production has resulted in many products to be manufactured overseas. 

On the other hand, it is hard to get attached to mass-produced products where the creator is invisible. Observing this case, we wanted to create our brand to reflect the ability to work between mass production and craftsmanship to reconsider the value of traditional crafts and handwork in the modern era.

At Object Index, we create new molds. We do not create new products from scratch; instead, we design with new colours and graphics of existing products. We believe that by arranging the way things that already exist in the world are presented and communicated, we can maximize their original appeal. Object Index searches for rough gems in Japan to redesign and make them shine, then delivers them both inside and outside of Japan, aiming to continue producing precious products, albeit in a small way. 

In addition, we work with the manufacturers of mass-produced products in Japan who cooperate with us as “intermediate manufacturing.” We steadily manufacture high-quality products based on their gradually accumulated production know-how. 

However, the market in Japan is starting to shrink, and we have seen many products being discontinued and many factories going out of business. Once manufacturing ceases, it is difficult to recover. That is why we aim to put a brake on the ever-declining production volume and continue to manufacture precious products. Through our brand concept, we emphasize that now is the time to shine a light on the manufacturing that lies in between.



We are delighted to have Object Index products in stock at the shop. Please come by to see the exhibit and make sure to check out the Object Index online collection here.


Special thanks to the Object Index team for sharing their inspiring creations with SORT and our community.

Art Direction and Design by Hiroaki Kawanami

Key Visuals by Taiki Fukao and Yohei Ono