Typically it takes us awhile to get a Journal recap up about our trips to Japan but this time we made it a point to post quicker than usual. This trip was incredible and we wanted to share while the feeling was fresh. Japan has a way of transforming our pace of life, one that is drastically different from our lifestyles in New York. Value systems differ, traditions are adhered to, and time seems to slow down. It’s this combination that keeps the country, at least for us, novel enough to remain curious about what it has to offer even after all these years of traveling there.
We started the trip with a visit to glass artist Kazumi Tsuji of Factory Zoomer in Kanazawa. We’ll be having a Factory Zoomer exhibition this coming May during New York design week so we wanted to discuss details and finalize our collaboration with her beforehand.
From beginning to end Tsuji-san led the way with her upbeat energy. She has a rare outgoing personality in a culture that is often reserved. We first met Tsuji-san when she came to visit our gallery in New York so it was nice that on this occasion we had the chance to meet up with her on her own turf.
As the founder of renowned glass making studio, Factory Zoomer, Tsuji-san is a busy woman. In 2010 she also became the chief director of the Seikatsu Kogei project – a movement that started in Kanazawa with the aim of getting users and creators (or viewers and artists) to think of the importance of the existence of objects in our daily lives. A concept we have always innately used to assess products we carry in our store but only now are able to grasp in words with the help of artisans such as Tsuji-san who are exploring this fairly new realm of “lifestyle crafts”. It’s a big topic to tackle but we’ll share our insights in our Journal as we go.
Tsuji-san predominantly divides her time between three spaces – her glassmaking studio, the Factory Zoomer Shop and the Factory Zoomer Gallery. She also brought us to a couple of her go-to spots outside of “work” and considering all the great places she frequents, it was clear that she knows her way around the city. Right off the bat she brought us to a super good sushi spot for lunch called Reki Reki. We all satisfied our cravings for sashimi with fresh tuna, uni, and mackerel and while we were at it couldn’t resist some afternoon sake. The sushi counter is right at the front entrance of the famous Omi-cho fish market so it really doesn’t get fresher than that!
Tsuji-san is as much of a coffee fiend as us, something we realized when she mentioned she hadn’t had her morning coffee fix yet and ushered us into her fave café, Higashide Coffee. She’s the type that feels like a longtime friend – incredibly open and within five minutes she’s telling us her life story… about her first glass mentor Narcissus Quagliata, her University days in California, about successes, setbacks, and even her early dreams of working for Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons. She says it all with a laugh, never taking herself too seriously. As one of Japan’s most acclaimed artisans, its quite amazing that she has next to no ego.
While we were there she and her staff were preparing for a textile exhibition entitled Light Years. She also displays the works of renowned artisans such as Ryuji Mitani and Masanobu Ando, her good friends that we also had the chance to visit during this trip… we’ll get around to posting about those visits in the coming weeks.
When we mentioned that the first Factory Zoomer piece we acquired for our personal collection was a small glass bowl with tiny polka dots on it’s surface, Tsuji-san immediately packed up a nice little set of similar pieces for us as a gift. To this day the bowl is still one of our favourites for small snacks like dried fruits, so we were so happy to finally add to our collection. We’ll definitely have pieces from this series during the exhibition in May.
We’ve always liked how intimate the shop feels. Sometimes someone is even there to serve you coffee from a small counter. You can then sit back and enjoy it at a small table near the front of the store and feel right at home. We thought the sink Tsuji-san made for the bathroom also added to the intimate atmosphere. When something as commonplace as a bathroom sink is custom handmade, it feels like a lot of affection went into the environment’s creation.
Afterwards, we drove to the next location, the Factory Zoomer glass atelier. It was glass blowing demonstration time. I especially liked seeing Tsuji-san in this setting where she was totally in her element. She looked so comfortable and took command, all the while remaining in control when blowing glass fresh out of 1200 degree furnace temperatures.
Tsuji-san along with her small group of skilled, seasoned staff creates all the pieces by hand. They are well trained in a variety of glass making techniques to accomplish different forms and surface treatments.
After the demonstration we all went to a small building beside the workshop that acted as an office and library. There she explained that her brand is called Factory Zoomer because an ex boyfriend had shortened her first name, Kazumi, to ‘Zoom’ since she was always speedy and on the go.
Near the end of the studio tour while the crew was chatting with Tsuji-san and her staff was working away, I stole a moment for myself to take in the stunning view that surrounds the studio. It overlooks a grape vineyard and by night the gnarled branches look straight out of a surreal Van Gogh painting. In that moment I realized that as much as we try, it’s nearly impossible to grasp the full scope of an artists’ works and thoughts as an outsider looking in. Even after witnessing an artisan like Tsuji-san’s complete operations in person, I felt like her life’s work was so vast and ever changing that it would take years of research and interviews with her to understand the full context. The closest connection we have is maybe to simply own a piece of hers in our homes. In that way something like a cup, bowl or plate slowly becomes a part of our own lives, and eventually gains in beauty. This thought is to some extent the meaning of Seikatsu Kogei – as much as an object may appeal to us as a beautiful work of art, the intent of an artist such as Tsuji-san is for it to be used and appreciated as a functional household object.
One thing’s for sure, for individuals as accomplished as Tsuji-san, it will take more than one studio visit to understand the breadth of her work as a glass artist. Consider this as just the beginning. We’ve only skimmed the surface.
After the enlightening tour we had to take it down a notch in intensity with a good ol’ meal and chatter. Tsuji-san brings us through a labyrinth of narrow twisting streets. We finally arrive at a soba restaurant called Kyomi Kai.
A couple operates the place so of course Steve and I instantly like it. It’s just the two of them – the husband makes seasonal dishes from homemade soba flour while the wife works the front end with the best hospitality we’ve ever seen! The couple was so kind and each dish highlighted a special seasonal ingredient alongside unusual soba preparations.
That’s it! That was our unforgettable day with Tsuji-san. It was made even more memorable because of the awesome people we got to share it with. We actually rolled to Japan this time as a bigger team with the accompaniment of Armando Rafael, one of our talented photographers, and Aya Nihei, one of our talented contributors! You’ll be seeing a lot more of them in our upcoming Journal entries.
If you’re in New York in May, come meet Tsuji-san at our exhibition, she is such a brilliant force.
Special thanks to Kazumi Tsuji and her team for their time.
Photography: Armando Rafael
It’s been 2 years since we opened up our store at 2 Extra Place in New York! When we opened our doors, our objective was to connect clients with makers through storytelling in the hopes of promoting mindful living. We’re so happy to still have the opportunity to do so everyday. We have many people to thank for helping us along the way – the list is far too long so we just wanted to take the time to say to everyone who has supported us over the years…
Even after years of growing plants hydroponically (without soil), I still find it to be fascinating. 10¹² Terra has made it into a beautiful art with their products that highlight the evolution of plant life, particularly the Hydro Terrarium that allows you to observe the roots of a succulent grow under water. Daisuke and Kenichi, the designers behind 10¹² Terra, have taught me so much about keeping succulents alive over the years. Since the Vision Glasses and Hydro Terrariums make great gifts, we get a lot of questions around this time of year so I thought it was about time we shared some tips and tricks. Although these instructions may look extensive, remember that it’s only a guide. There’s no formal process so don’t be put off. At the end the day I ask myself, does the plant look happy? If the answer is yes then everything’s gonna be alright… (listening to this while you plant helps too).
The Hydroponics How-To Guide
1. Find a cactus or succulent that will fit the chosen hydro terrarium size. We get ours locally in New York at this magical place near our store. Take the cactus or succulent plant out of the pot and completely wash away the soil attached to the roots with water. If the main plant or the roots are damaged, bacteria might invade and the plant might rot. Wash the plant gently, so as not to damage it.
2. After the soil is washed away, first cleanly cut away the roots that had been growing in the soil, leaving around a half inch of root attached to the base. This way, new roots that are suited for hydroponics will grow from the cut ends. Use sharp plant shears. The plant will grow without a problem without its roots being cut, but it will be more stable with hydroponic roots. Depending on the season and the type of plant, it might take time for the hydroponic roots to develop, but if the cut ends are kept submerged in water, the roots will grow smoothly.
3. Once the roots are cut, allow the cut ends to dry completely. This is dependent on the season but should take generally 1-2 days.
5. Put water in the lower part of the container, and try to regulate the water level to keep the cut ends submerged as detailed in step 2. (If the main part of the plant is kept submerged in water, it will rot. It is best to submerge the cut ends only partially.
6. Use tap water. The chlorine in tap water serves to sterilize many types of saprophytic bacteria, including the mildew that grows in water, and makes it more difficult for diseases to develop.
7. How often to change the water depends on the plant. Generally, once the plant is hydroponically stable, the water may be kept without being changed for long periods of time due to the plant’s natural self-purification abilities, but until the plant stabilizes, it is best to change the water frequently.
[ While the roots are still short and the plant is not yet hydroponically stable]
– Try to change the water whenever it becomes dirty.
[Once the roots are grown and the plant has become stable hydroponically]
– As the water level drops or evaporates, it’s alright simply to top off the water without changing it so that the roots remain submerged. However, the plant will grow best and be the most stable if the water is changed completely about once a month.
8. To gauge the proper water level, try to keep the water at about where the roots were cut. Even if the water is changed infrequently, the plant’s growth will be healthy.
10. If mildew grows on the root or plant during hydroponic growth, gently wash it off with tap water and wipe it off with a cotton swab or tissue sprayed with an alcohol-based antibacterial solution made from natural ingredients, such as those made for use in the kitchen. Antibacterial agents for plants are also available, but alcohol-based solutions with natural ingredients are safer.
Also if you add silicic acid or charcoal to the bottom of the water, it will inhibit the propogation of mildew and bacteria through its water-purifying capabilities, and you will have to change the water less frequently.
11. A substance similar to white algae might grow on the surface of the root, but these are merely “root hairs” – tiny hairlike roots that grow on the surface of the roots. They are important, as they increase the surface area of the roots and allow them to take in more water and nourishment. As the roots grow thicker, the root hairs will decrease in number, so even if their appearance is a bit worrying, be patient. Root hairs will come off easily if washed with water, but this will not cause the plant to wither, so relax.
Hope that helps you get started with hydroponics. Good luck, and happy planting!
The 10¹² Terra collection can be found here.
Our home in Brooklyn was recently featured in the December issue of Nice Things magazine, a Japanese lifestyle publication that is quickly becoming a favourite. Opening our home up was a new experience. People always ask us what our place is like and although we speak about it, we rarely reveal anything in photos. The number one question we get is “Does your home look like the store”? I used to think it was more eclectic than the store, but as time goes on the answer is slowly becoming a firm “Yes”.
This was a fun feature because we had the pleasure of being interviewed by Aya Nihei and photographed by Yuki Matsumura, who have both become close to us over the years. Aya actually works with us on a daily basis so having them over was like any other afternoon with good friends. The only difference this time is that we got a chance to showcase some of our ‘nice things’. For me that includes my signed first edition Patti Smith books that I’ve collected from Mast Books. Steve’s pick was a series of sculptures I’ve made him throughout our relationship. Together we’ve added furniture, objects and artwork to all the corners of our home, slowly transforming them into spaces we love – owning a home goods store has helped in that regard! There are so many things by designers and artists we’ve integrated into our home that we carry in the store or have been gifted. They serve as constant reminders of the awesome people we get to work with and I think it’s safe to say that those are the things we treasure the most.
You can pick up Nice Things magazine online here or locally in New York at Kinokuniya bookstore. This particular issue is full of familiar products and faces from our Journal. We were so excited to see a feature on our friend Noriko Konuma’s store in Tokyo, Kumu!
In a quiet temple district of Kyoto, dotted with Buddhist temples, stands the Kyoto Moyashi House. Its unassuming façade is like most kyōmachiya (traditional Kyoto style townhouses) but take a closer look and you’re in for a surprise.
The house was erected in the late 1800s. The original owner, Mr. Ishii built the house as a residence and a workspace for the fermentation of koji, a culture made from soybeans primarily used to make sake amongst other Japanese food staples like miso and soy sauce. Recently, Fonz, the homeowners, with the help of their friend, architect Mr. Shigenori Uoya, had the idea to renovate and design the house to transform it into a multi-purpose meeting grounds for events, workshops and the best part, for lodging. Yes, you can actually stay in this 120-year-old house and feel like you’ve been transported back into time. Given the opportunity, we did just that!
We were excited to hear about how Kyoto Moyashi House arranged for the architect and homeowners to welcome us upon first arrival to give us the lay of the land and explain the history of the house. We found out that when they were planning the project, their main purpose was to keep the integrity of the old house while making it modernized and functional for today. They remained true to their initial approach and completed the project in June 2015. The results are truly special.
Mr. Uoya (pictured above) has had experience working on around sixty other projects, but revealed that this house was one of the more challenging ones because he had the responsibility to not only keep the history of the house but also that of the area. The area Shimogyō-ku was once full of old wooden machiya style townhouses but they are slowly going extinct since many owners can’t deal with the high costs associated to the maintenance and renovation of decrepit folk dwellings, and instead invest in the development of modern condos or offices.
As we toured the house, Mr. Uoya explained that he kept with the original infrastructure and opted to mix in modern elements. Evidence of this exists all throughout. A beautiful mix of old and new occur in such details as earthen walls that combine with concrete floors or authentic wood beams that seamlessly blend into glass doors. He also pointed out the many details they decided to keep including old steel implements and wood vessels used to produce koji.
Our favourite part of the Kyoto Moyashi House is actually the centrally located open-air garden. Accessible from all the main ground-floor rooms through sliding glass doors, the garden provides nice airflow and natural light, as intended by the architect.
From the back of the house, you can see the foundations of the home and the narrow lot of land it occupies. Machiya were both a place of business and residence for their owners so they often had narrow facades that would act as storefronts accessible from the street. The homes then expanded deep into the back to make room for living quarters and workshop areas. Outdoor spaces were incorporated in the form of small courtyard gardens. The houses were everything the owner needed to build a life and family in a time when Kyoto witnessed increased economic growth near the end of the Edo period.
Although Kyoto is a city steeped in tradition, the long-established spheres of culture often feel inaccessible – only for the elite, the ones in the know. Private teahouses and clubs exist and invitation only is still criterion for entry. Not to say that we’re not one for a good speakeasy but it’s refreshing to know that places that aim to preserve tradition are opening their doors to foreign admirers to experience Japan’s intrinsic concepts of living firsthand. The machiya provides an old-world charm that is hardly ever available outside of museums or special tours. The fact that you can actually stay in a place that provides an intimate encounter to artisan crafts, architecture and materials is noteworthy in itself. We highly recommend the Kyoto Moyashi House. If not for an extended stay, at least for one night to enjoy the hinoki cypress wood bathtub!
The above image is of Tadao Ando giving directions during the construction of one of his most iconic structures, Ibaraki Kasugaoka, otherwise known as Church of the Light. The photo is part of a collection of behind the scenes images that documents the building’s construction starting from the groundwork to the finished product. Since Church of the Light is one of my favorite buildings, it was a privilege to see these records first hand during a special occasion at their archives a few years ago.
I was reminded of these images recently because in many ways I feel like I’m witnessing the arrival of another Tadao Ando masterpiece, this time right in my own city with the soon to be completed residential building on 152 Elizabeth Street – the first official Tadao Ando building in New York.
Every day we pass by the construction site on the corner of Elizabeth and Kenmare on our way to work and get to slowly watch it rise. We saw the demolishing, the concrete being laid and now the framework is gradually coming up. It feels like the scenes from these archival images of Church of the Light from the 1980s are coming to life, only this time we get to see these scenes right before our very own eyes. It definitely seems like a pivotal moment in NYC’s architectural landscape, maybe comparable to how Osaka residents felt when Church of the Light was being constructed. Anyway, enjoy these rare images!
The Tajika Exhibition of scissors and shears is still going on for a couple more days but it’s been such a great show we wanted to give an early recap of the event this time around. In case something catches your eye, you still have a couple days to check out the exhibition in person or inquire over email. Takedown begins Friday evening (October 28th) and our gallery will go back to regular inventory starting Saturday morning.
On opening day Daisuke Tajika spent the afternoon helping us set up the show. Just a few moments before opening our doors for the evening, we dimmed the lights and Daisuke added last minute touches to the displays, which included over 80 pairs of scissors and shears! As the only items lit up, the scissors looked incredible in the recessed display shelves with light bouncing off the blades.
Once we opened, guests went straight for the sample scissors. We set up demo stations to give everyone a chance to try the scissors out for themselves. It’s one thing to read about what makes Tajika scissors special but another to actually feel them in your hands – the weight and tension, the sound as the blades perfectly snip through leather, paper or branches. It’s a wonderful sensation.
We couldn’t have been more excited to have Burrow cater the event. We’re huge fans of this Brooklyn based pastry café. Aside from the scissors of course, pastry chef Ayako Kurokawa’s scissor inspired, “super pointy” pies were another highlight of the night. So much so that Ayako’s assistant, Phoebe, couldn’t hold on to them for longer than a half hour. If you didn’t get a chance to try their pies at our show, check them out at their charming little café in DUMBO, or check out Ayako’s awesome instagram account here.
Daisuke also brought with him displays that showcased the work in progress of certain models of scissors. The displays depict various manufacturing stages, including assembly, forging and molding. Personally I liked the work in progress display of the Herb Shears that showed about 15 steps of the making process. Some of their more complex shears like their Kevlar scissors take up to 200 steps.
Another special addition was actually an item that belongs to Daisuke’s father, Takeo Tajika. Brought with him all the way from Ono City. The hammer is one of Takeo Tajika’s favorite tool that he uses everyday when working on the production of their collection. A self-made tool, the handle has been used for around five years. His fingers naturally create the grooves in the wood through continued usage. When the handle is completely split, he replaces it but continues to use the steel head that has been in his possession for decades.
The ‘Scissor Blade Inspection Machine’ was another interesting device. It is used to detect distortion in the blades alignment by the use of light that refracts against the scissors. Just one of the many machines invented by Takeo Tajika to solve their company’s various production issues ensuring the highest quality end result.
Opening night was a success! The next morning Daisuke came by to say his goodbyes and give each pair of scissors one last polishing. Seeing him care for the blades so carefully made me realize how truly dedicated he is to his craft.
We also took this opportunity to have him re-explain the scissor machine his dad invented. To be honest we still don’t understand how to use the machine very well! I’d imagine it takes many years of training for the eye to detect the ideal blade alignment.
The portrait above is of Daisuke Tajika. As one would expect, he has a heavy responsibility moving forward as the next in line to manage his family’s business. Although it’s a big task, after spending the week with Daisuke and getting to know him, everything about his heart, mind and creative spirit, has us confident that the next evolution of the Tajika studio is in good hands. We will miss him and cannot wait to meet again later in the year for another update.
Special thanks to Jacob and Ari for their help in the installation setup. To our friend Stefan Ayon for capturing photos during the opening reception and for being ‘on point’ with his scissor puns. Thank you also to the Tajika family’s friend, Noriyasu, for his wonderful translations the whole night. To Matthew Puntigam of Dandy Farmer for preparing the green touches and to Matthew Johnson for providing the black and white behind the scenes images that lined the walls of our gallery. Again a huge thanks goes out to Pablo Luis for the music and Ayako Kurokawa of Burrow for the pastries.
The Tajika scissors and shears collection will be available for a limited time after the exhibition and a selection will be made available online in a few weeks.
With our upcoming Tajika exhibition just around the corner, we wanted to delve a little deeper into the relevance of showcasing over 80 pairs of different handcrafted scissors! As one of our client’s said it best, “You know how crazy that sounds, right?”
We met the Tajika family before we even started the store. We liked the family’s story so much because for multiple generations they have been incredibly focused on one craft and one craft only – the art of making scissors. We knew we needed to have their scissors available when we launched because they were a brand we could truly stand behind with their incredibly well handcrafted products. At the time, many people gravitated towards their Copper Household scissors but when we visited their two-story studio in Ono city we found that they also produced many other types of scissors that were just as fascinating for the reason that each were directed towards a specific purpose. It made us think that the most basic tools that are taken for granted, could actually be specialized.
Since our first encounter with the Tajika family over three years ago, we’ve been slowly collecting scissors that contribute to the way we see the simple act of cutting in our everyday lives. For example, the SLD Steel Fabric scissors are the scissors that Angélique uses to cut fabric and the Household scissors are what we use to wrap gifts at the store. Prior to this, we only used one pair of scissors for everything, admittedly with dull blades and plastic handles. It was only after discovering Tajika that we realized it’s quite a joy to use the right tools for the right purpose.
Members of the Tajika family, originating with Daisuke’s great-grandfather, have been the only owners of the company, making it a family-run business for four generations. Decision-making, production, marketing, even packaging is done by the family members. At the moment the team includes three people: Takeo Tajika, his wife and their son, Daisuke Tajika and the three literally do everything themselves. Daisuke is in line to succeed his father. With this great responsibility, he expanded the company and created what is officially known as the TAjiKA brand, which currently has about seven or eight pairs of scissors, for example the Branch and Root Shears, Garden Clippers and Herb Shears, just to name a few. Many of the other specific types of scissors are in reality the brand TAKEJISAKU – the original scissor brand that Daisuke’s forbearers conceived. In a way, we are catching the brand and witnessing their evolution during a transition of ownership between father and son.
Much like their scissors, it’s fascinating to see machines that the Tajika family has developed for specialized tasks. Whether large or small, each machine in their atelier, located just across the street from their home, is meant to help produce an important component of a single pair of scissors. When we inquired further about the machines, we discovered the most captivating part to be how the father, Takeo Tajika, actually engineered most of them. We couldn’t believe that he had invented and made a lot of the apparatuses and tools that solve different scissor production issues that they have encountered throughout the years. Although the company was an inheritance, Takeo Tajika has clearly helped to push the boundaries of their manufacturing capabilities with his ingenuity.
It’s also refreshing to see Daisuke put his own spin on things. Whether he creates a new pair of scissors or expands on an idea his father created, it’s interesting to hear the stories of all these developments collide and flourish from nothing into tangible products. Each pair of scissors has a story and we’re really excited to be a small part of it with the introduction of our very own pair of Tajika x Nalata Nalata scissors, ‘The Blackened Scissors’ that will first be made available on the exhibition opening night and online soon after!
The Tajika collection, scissors that we consider to be the finest in the world, is created from the minds and hands of one family and to support an extinguishing craft is quite gratifying to say the least. I guess this exhibition is particularly meaningful to us because of the transformation we’ve seen Tajika undertake in just a few years. Four generations in and Daisuke Tajika is taking a huge leap of faith to represent the Tajika company, the one his great-grandfather started over a century ago, to showcase at their first international exhibition in New York in the pursuit of finding opportunities and connecting with new communities. When people ask us why we started Nalata Nalata, this studio is a good example of why. It goes without saying that a history as rich and an expertise as rare as the Tajika family’s should be shared with the world.
“An Exhibition of Handcrafted Scissors and Shears”
We have been planning this upcoming exhibition for quite some time and are very excited that it’s almost here. We are even more excited to tell you about the details!
On the evening of Friday, October 21st, we will be celebrating the official launch of a one-week exhibition at our gallery that will showcase the complete collection of scissors and shears by Tajika! Over 80 pairs of different handcrafted scissors and shears for specific purposes will be on display. Join us on this special evening as we welcome the atelier’s fourth generation owner, Daisuke Tajika, to New York City for his first international exhibition!
To coincide with the opening, we will also be introducing a collaboratively designed pair of scissors – the “Blackened Household Scissors” by Tajika x Nalata Nalata. The shape of this pair of scissors is based on the much-loved Copper and Household Scissors that we carry and use in store when we wrap gifts, but the finish is very different. We were inspired by the “Kuro-Mura” blackened brass pendants by Futagami because we really liked the way they aged over time, taking on a patina that is a very deep, saturated black. We were very interested in creating a similar richness in shade and decided to work with Daisuke to produce a pair of everyday scissors that has the same principles.
Details are as follows:
• Exhibition Dates: October 21st – 28th, 2016
• Opening Reception: October 21st, 7:00PM-9:00PM. Meet Daisuke Tajika. Pastries provided by Burrow
• Venue: Nalata Nalata, 2 Extra Place, New York, NY, 10003
Note: The scissors and shears on display can be purchased with the exception the Tajika family’s archive pieces. Pick-up dates of items sold will be organized at checkout and begin following the final exhibition day.
What an incredible show! Last week we held our RAW exhibition – a showcase of leather homewares by Hender Scheme. Here’s a quick recap of the event, starting with some images of us setting up the show with the Hender Scheme team and leaving off with images of the opening reception.
Hender Scheme designer Ryo Kashiwazaki and his team arrived a couple days before the exhibition and hand carried a few delicate items with them for the show, including their new leather rugs and cushions.
Gota is one of Hender Scheme’s designers and makers brought on by Ryo as the company began to expand several years ago. We first met Gota during this trip. He handcrafts many of the in-house Hender Scheme homeware items like the rugs. There he is above inspecting one of his creations. The alternating smooth and rough leather pieces are hand cut and hand-patched utilizing the same techniques derived from the making of Hender Scheme’s footwear collection wherein the soles of each shoe requires layering multiple pieces of cow leather to form a durable base.
Steve and I got married over the summer so Ryo surprised us with the sweetest wedding gift – a couple pairs of his signature shoes. Steve got a pair of the Manual Industrial Product 14s and I got a pair of the Hender Scheme x Karimoku sandals. We can’t wait to see them age over the years.
The team also presented us with two lanterns that they had custom made at one of the many lantern workshops in the historic Asakusa district of Tokyo, an area that is also home to the Hender Scheme headquarters. One lantern displays “Nalata Nalata” in Japanese characters and the other means “Hender Scheme.” We hung them in the corner of our store in commemoration of our collaboration.
Our favorite neighborhood florists, Adore, prepared a beautiful floral arrangement in a Tetsuya Otani ceramic vase for the event…
…And our good friend Stefan Ayon hand stitched a natural veg-tan leather cover for our entrance door handles. They look stunning and we’re going to keep them on for a bit to see how the leather holds up over time as a handle.
On opening night, Ryo surprised everyone by showing up in a traditional Japanese kimono and setta slippers. He looked amazing!
The opening reception kicked off to a great start. With SŌTŌ sake sponsoring the refreshments, the drinks were flowing all night. The sake is brewed in the Niigata region and is so smooth! If you live in New York you can get it at Bowery and Vine, a great liquor store around the corner from Nalata Nalata.
Although the ever so humble Ryo was caught off guard by fans that wanted to have their Hender Scheme pieces signed by the designer, he was more than happy to give autographs to anyone who asked. These natural veg-tan leather pieces already look so beautiful as they age, we can’t even imagine how much added value they will have down the road with the addition of a rare autograph.
The Hender Scheme x Karimoku chair was prominently displayed in the store which gave people the opportunity to take it for a test run. The chair is remarkably comfortable with a wood seat that feels sculpted in a way that hits all the right places and a leather panel that supports the lower back slightly.
All in all, the exhibition was great times! We had a blast hanging with the entire Hender Scheme team (pictured above) in New York for the week. Thank you to everyone who came out and to the people who were a part in making this show a success including Pablo Luis for the beats and our good friend Stefan Ayon who had camera in tow capturing candid moments during the event, not to mention that awesome leather door handle. Also special thanks to our friends Riza Arrieta and Faraday Okoro who kept sake in hand for all!
Exhibition items are still available for purchase and a selection will be made available online in the upcoming week. Feel free to contact us for additional information regarding a particular piece.