If there’s any common weed that could be characterized as Japanese, I would argue it’s the Taraxacum, better known as Dandelion. The flowering plant, in its yellow blossoms that signify the arrival of spring, and its fluffy seed heads that represent natural beauty and transience, are adored across the country by adults and children alike. It was enough to make legendary film director Juzo Itami name his protagonist and his 1985 film, Tampopo (Dandelion, in Japanese). And it’s not a stretch to to see Itami’s camera floating from scene to scene like a dandelion seed.
So it comes as no surprise that the cinematographer Takao Inoue has designed a household lamp around the dandelion. OLED TAMPOPO consists of an actual dandelion – harvested, carefully, during Spring – that is sealed into a clear acrylic block. A miniature OLED light is embedded into the stem. “Fragility is expressed by an illuminated wavering TAMPOPO,” says Inoue. “It reminds us of our old memories of picking up dandelion’s puff. The mysterious light gives us a moment to release ourselves.”