This past Friday, we were incredibly lucky to have had such an awesome setting for our in-situation product photography. Our friend Elissa and her family were kind enough to open up their Brooklyn home for us to shoot some of our new product releases coming up.
We start off the morning packing Armando’s van and make our way to Elissa’s place, which is luckily just a few blocks from our studio. Elissa, along with her husband Jay, are the founders of Kiln Design, a studio that specializes in enamel and copper objects. We immediately spot so many of their sculptures around the house and can tell that everything was decorated with a lot of heart and soul. Absolutely stunning! Every corner is considered!
Since we were shooting mostly cookware this time around, we had a lot of food props to prepare. It helped that Elissa’s home was full of beautiful objects that we would use as sub-ins whenever needed.
Their cat, Princess Pea, was especially interested in our fresh fish props.
Can’t wait to release the photos in the coming weeks! To learn more about Elissa and Jay, check out their site here.
An assortment of root vegetables lined the Fort Greene Farmer’s Market this past weekend – massive rutabagas, potatoes, Japanese daikon, purple German radishes, black Spanish roots, watermelon radish domes and Golden Globe turnips. I love waking up for the market with Steve on a Saturday morning to see all of this, especially to witness the remnants of the last days of winter… The transition of winter roots and vegetables to spring’s leafy greens is right around the corner. This was more of an aesthetic stroll through the market rather than a grocery run!
We recently released six distinct styles of Japanese towels in our shop and wanted to give you some insights into the acclaimed manufacturer and brand, Uchino.
With headquarters in Tokyo, Uchino is dedicated to creating the world’s finest towels and it all starts with quality materials. Their cotton is sourced from three specific regions in the world: the West Indian Sea Island, XinJiang region in China and Egypt. Cotton from these regions provide a longer, thinner fiber ideal for its production methods. The bounty collected from these cotton fields is then spun throughout integrated factories across Japan. By harnessing Japanese technology to spin specific yarns for each kind of towel, a range of different textures, properties and qualities can be produced.
Here’s a bit more about each specific towel and what makes them so special…
The waffle weave was actually first designed in Europe, but perfected in Japan by weaving the textile with a hollow yarn. The Air Waffle towel is the result of such ingenuity, achieving an unbelievably soft cloth with a unique textured feel. The surface area that touches the skin is minimized with the three-dimensional weave, so the towels feel lightweight and fresh. The microscopic picture above showcases the crevices created within the yarn which gives the towel its namesake. The air trapped inside the yarn makes the towel especially adept for quick drying.
Gauze is created by coarsely weaving cotton yarn into a grid like pattern. It’s history dates back to the to the Middle East where it was commonly used as a see-through fabric. In America, it’s traditionally used in medical practices, whereas in Japan, gauze is more commonly used as a gentle cloth for babies and those with sensitive skin. Weaving gauze with multiple layers and combining it with a different material backing results in an elegant towel that redefines the concept of gauze, while maintaining its properties of being light and soft. Uchino is best known for a three layer gauze towel with a cotton pile backing. These luxurious towels offer two textures in one towel, the gauze side when you need a gentle texture and the pile side for when you want a softer feel.
Yarns are traditionally twisted fibers. But Zero Twist yarns are designed to have almost no twist. The result is a textile with an extra fluffy texture while maintaining an airy softness, evoking the feel of natural cotton. A special fiber is then woven in the center of the yarn to prevent the shedding of its extra fluffy texture.
Zero Twist towels are available with gauze backing here.
Just like its name implies, this towel achieves an incredible lightness and soft texture. The premium softness is only created with extra long staple cotton fibers found exclusively in the Xinjiang province of China. The superior cotton is then spun into a superfine 60-count yarn and shaped to form thin terry loops, allowing the towel to function as a textile with high absorbency rates and heat retention.
For the complete index of bath and body products by Uchino, click on the link here.
All images courtesy Uchino Co. Ltd and The Book of Towels, published by the Magazine House Co. Ltd. Photography by Rowland Kirishima, Masataka Nishi, Toru Kometani, Hisai Kobayashi and Eiichi Kano.
Its always so interesting how different artists and designer interpret one material. The Thomas Erben Gallery in Chelsea is currently showcasing a group of works that exemplify the contemporary leather craft in Japan. Selected works from the fields of fashion, art and design converge to convey the deep allure of Japanese leather goods, known for their high level of craftsmanship and artisan techniques. The exhibition is titled, Leather Japan and will be open to the public through Feb 22 from 10am-6pm. I’ve showcase a few of my personal highlights below, but visit the exhibit to see the full collection.
1. Woodblock Print from Meji Era, 1879, paper
2. Flu Masks, Sasquatchfabrix 2013, deer leather
3. Deer Cell, Kosuke Tsumura 2014, deer leather, deer bone, plastic
4. Mock, Hender Scheme 2014, deer leather
5. Rice Ball Case, Blackmeans 2010, cow leather, metal parts
6. Manual Industrial Products 01, Hender Scheme 2011, cow leather
7. Manual Industrial Products 08, Hender Scheme 2013, cow leather
8. Straitjacket, Sasquatchfabrix 2013, deer leather
9. Sign, Akiyoshi Mishima, digital print, deer leather, used bullet, pigments
10. Symbiosis jacket, Class 2013, deer leather
11. Needle’s Classic jacket, Needles 2013, deer leather
12. untitled jacket, M’s Braque, 2014, deer leather and metal parts
13. Sign, Akiyoshi Mishima, deer leather, used bullet, pigments
14. Head Hunters, Shin Murayama 2014, deer skin, rabbit hair, wood, bicycle saddles, bmx handlebar, bicycle rim
15. Kinkaragawa, 1603, leather, metal parts
A short video highlighting the Koma Wood Tops by Mokkougei Sasahara from Hokkaido, Japan.
Produced by Minguk Lee, Videography by Armando Rafael, Special thanks to Blain Kennedy.
I’ve always found it so fascinating how different cultures interpret functional objects. Something as common as a drinking vessel can have so many forms depending on geography, time period and the technology at hand. There is no place better in New York to see the full spectrum of human ingenuity than the Met Museum. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite handmade drinking vessels, in all their forms…. cups, goblets, glasses, tumblers, beakers and kylix.
Goblet, Egypt, Dynasty 18, late reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1345-1336 B.C., Painted Plaster (top left and right)
Goblet, Egypt, Dynasty 18, reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1345-1336 B.C., Egyptian alabaster/calcite (top left)
Cup, Iran or Iraq, Abbasid period, 9th-10th century, Glass (top right)
Vessel with Mythological Scene, Mexico or Guatemala, Maya 8th century, Ceramic (top left)
Tumbler, Greece, Greek attic, black figure ca. 525-510 B.C., Terracotta (top right)
Lobed Vessel, Indonesia, Central Javanese ca. 8th-9th century, Gold (top left)
Cup, Indonesia, Central Javanese ca. 8th-9th century, Gold (top right)
Beakers with Painted Inscriptions, Roman, Rhenish late 2nd-mid 3rd century A.D., Terracotta (top left)
Kylix (drinking cup), Greece, Greek 4yj-3rd century B.C., Bronze (top right)
Stem Cup, Korea, Silla Kingdom 5th century, Silver (top)
Cup, France, Saint-Porchaire ca. 1547-1559, Lead glazed earthenware with moulded ornament (top left)
Vessel, Iran Achaemenid period 8th-7th century B.C., Ceramic and paint (top right)
Vessel, Iran, Achaemenid period 5th century B.C., Gold (top)
Vessel, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kuba peoples 19th-20th century, Wood and fiber (top right)
Vessel, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kuba peoples 19th-20th century, Wood (top left)
Tumbler, Peru, Cupisnique 15th-9th century B.C., Stone (top right)
Cup, Nigeria, Kingdom of Owo, Yoruba peoples 17th-19th century, Ivory and wood (top left)
Beaker, French 1723-24, Silver Gilt (top left)
Cups, Germany, Franz Fischer early 17th century, Silver Gilt (top right)
Cup with Foliate Panels, Indonesia, Central Javanese ca. 8th-9th century, Gold (top left)
Goblet with Personification of Cyprus, Rome, Alexandria, Avar or Byzantine 700s, Gold (top right)
Glass Beaker with Leather Case, Central European, Silesia or Saxony 1175-1225, Glass (top left)
Cup, Chicago, American 1911, Silver (top right)
Glass Beaker, Central European, Silesia or Saxony 1175-1225, Glass (top left)
Glass Beaker, Germany 1475-1550, Glass with applied glass drops (top left)
Cup, Korea, Geumnyeongchong Tomb, 5th century, Glass (top)
Tumbler, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Bakewell, Page and Bakewells 1827-1832, Blown, cut and engraved glass (top left)
Goblet with Incise Designs, Iraq or Syria, 8th century, Applied glass with solid stem (top right)
Cup, Iran, Abbasid Period 750-1258, Blown and cut glass (top left)
Glass cantharus (Drinking cup), Roman, Late Republican, mid 1st century B.C., Glass (top right)
Glass Vessel, American, Sandwich Massachusetts 1870-1899, Glass (top left)
Wineglass, Italy, Venice 16th century, Cristallo Glass (top right)
Cup, French (Paris) 1728-1730, Rock crystal and gold (top)
The middle of Winter is upon us in New York and staying within the confines of a warm apartment is becoming more prevalent. I’m recommending a few titles from our personal design library to keep you company for those chilly nights…
As we come upon our final days at our pop-up location, we just wanted to thank everyone that came out to visit us in the East Village. The past 6 weeks was truly a pleasure! Setting up shop at this particular location always had a degree of sentiment for us, as our first NYC apartment was around the corner on 2nd Ave. We moved to Fort Greene in Brooklyn over 5 years ago. It was difficult for us to leave the neighborhood at that time, and even harder now.
As we prepare to pack up and enter back into cyber space, we also wanted to thank our online clients and followers from around the world. Nalata Nalata started as an online shop and without your ongoing support, this pop-up shop would not be possible. As homage to your invisible presence, we collaborated with our good friend and interactive designer, Hilal Koyuncu, to create a sign for our storefront this past month. With special assistance from programmer Igal Nassima, the sign was coded through an arduino board and essentially turns on whenever anyone is browsing on the site (www.nalatanalata.com) in real time. The inspiration for it came from the “on air” signs commonly seen at radio stations, but we had our sign custom made to read “online.” The best aspect of our pop-up has been the opportunity to meet our clients in person, and this sign was a step towards interacting with our digital clients in a physical sense too.
Wishing everyone happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!