I haven’t posted on this blog for a LONG time, but today, I just wanted to mention a company I recently did some work with that I’m really excited about. I’ve been interested in Japanese crafts men and women ever since I arrived – be it sword-makers, fan-makers, metal workers or potters. This time it’s about the latter. There will be a new website launching at the beginning of October 2013 called Motto Japan which is to begin by offering never before available fine art ceramics and more everyday use tableware made by the skilled craftsmen and women of Japan. Later it may be expanded to include a wider range, but for now it’s to be focused on ornamental and practical pots, vases, plates, cups, teapots and a variety of other formats of glazed and unglazed clay, porcelain and the like for you table and/or collection. Anyone who’s been to Japan and browsed tableware items in the shops or eaten off of it in any of the amazing restaurants or ryokans over here will know what I’m talking about when I say it’s really wonderful stuff. The online store is currently warming up in preparation for the forthcoming launch by offering visitors the chance of winning one of three teapot and cups sets. It’s free to enter and even if you don’t win you can get free delivery for the first month, so do get over there and see what it’s all about and see if you can win yourself some of the cool ovenware on offer. http://www.mottojapan.com
I really want to get some of these, but they’re really pretty hard to find in shops, even here in Tokyo. I first saw them on TV here in Japan when there was a program about the designers and creators of these innovative little wooden boxes. The concept is really simple but really original. The sides of these boxes and their lids have correspondingly positioned magnets embedded in the wood. This allows you to stick them together in various configurations and create shapes and patterns, even images, whilst also functioning as small tidy-aways for your desk or home office.
In the TV show I saw how they’re first designed on computer in the designer Keisuke Tachikawa’s studio in Tokyo. The designs are then sent off to the workshop of an old carpenter somewhere in the country, I forget where, where they are hand crafted from beautiful Japanese wood, boxed and shipped to buyers and resellers. There’s no shortage of handcrafted wonders like these in Japan and that’s one of the things I really love. The joy of making things well by hand lives on in Japan.
This brand might not be so new to those living in Tokyo, but recently niko and… is starting to come into its own as it finds its identity and finds a market for itself. Like so many other Japanese fashion and lifestyle companies such as BEAMS and MUJI, it combines lifestyle concept with fashion style in an attempt to create a complete lifestyle philosophy around which to build its range of products. Now, with more new stores, a series of TV adverts and an online shop, they’re set to become the next big thing. It’s more expensive than some comparable stores, but not overly so, and offers some great stuff in this year’s Autumn/Winter range, recently picked up by and featured in Monocle Magazine. Temperatures are dropping here in Tokyo and I’m thinking of moving house soon, so I can see me buying quite a lot of stuff from the Niko and… online shop in the coming weeks and months. If you’re able to do so, take a look in one of their stores in either Ikebukuro’s Parco, Ebisu, or Kita-senju’s Marui.