Mind & Matter


The Next Post-It Note

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IE-Tags. Photo and drawing courtesy of Naruse-Inokuma Architects.


Some product innovations are so disruptive that they become legendary. 3M’s Post-It Note, for example, was a simple idea that became an overnight success—inspiring imitation yet remaining seemingly immune from challenge since its unveiling in 1980. However, a recent adaptation of the Post-It Note offers a refreshing new dimension for the now ubiquitous product.

Japanese architecture and design firm Naruse-Inokuma Architects’ “IE-Tags” are made from wood waste salvaged from demolished houses. Not only are these notepads made from recycled content, but they also conform to the universal shape of home (“ie” in Japanese means “house”). The cute outline becomes highly practical in use, as the exposed point focuses attention to content and reduces the potential for wrinkling.

The IE-Tags example suggests that any concept may be improved—no matter how flawless it might seem at the moment of its creation.




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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.