Our factory zoomer exhibition has come and gone too quickly. We were sad to take down the pieces, to say the least. Luckily we have more than enough photos that captured how beautiful Kazumi Tsuji’s collection really is. If you weren’t able to attend, hope you can get a sense of what we mean through these photos of the exhibition, of opening night and some memories of our time with Kazumi Tsuji in New York.
Firstly, here is the opening night playlist created by Pablo Luis that perfectly captures the spirit of Glass Half Full!
We’ve said it on a few occasions, but there is something magical about blown glass. Our entire gallery with glass on the shelves and natural light flooding through each piece created the most beautiful shadows and reflections – an occurrence best witnessed during this time of the year at golden hour which, luckily was right around when we opened the doors for opening night.
We were aware that Kazumi Tsuji’s exhibitions in Japan usually sell out within hours but since we were introducing her for her first solo show in New York, we weren’t sure what to expect. We quickly realized that regardless of where Tsuji-san is showcasing, there are avid collectors of her work that follow her and would go to great lengths to procure pieces. We had calls, emails and visits from across America and all over the world, of people trying to find rare items to complete their collections – a testament to how much factory zoomer is admired both in Japan and internationally.
factory zoomer creates two lines of work – one is the ‘Standard Series’, largely comprised of the studio’s black patterned works that they have been creating for many years, while the other series is the ‘Limited Edition Series’. The latter line is a special series that is constantly changing with each exhibition, much along the lines of an evolving concept collection. This time around, the limited edition items integrated the use of clear and opaque shades of gray, purple and green glass. Also, in anticipation of the exhibition we wanted to collaborate on a series so we worked with Tsuji-san and came up with the idea of creating cut whiskey glasses. We’ve always felt that its more enjoyable to be drinking a refined drink in something handcrafted, but more importantly, we love whiskey. The series turned out better than we could have ever expected.
Normally we’re not ones to plaster a logo on a product but this was done with the whiskey glasses in such an abstract, subtle way, you would never know unless someone pointed it out… which, Tsuji-san, Steve and I had a lot of fun doing with all our guests. Basically if you hold up the glass, you’ll see two capital Ns for Nalata Nalata on opposite sides. Tilt the glass and you’ll see capital Zs for Zoomer and look through the glass to see that there are two deep cut slashes that form an X, paying homage to our collaboration. We also liked the idea of a variety of different coloured glasses but incorporated a clear version as you typically want to see the colour of whiskey when you’re drinking it neat or on the rocks. The gray, green and purple glasses are ideal for muddled drinks or cocktails – like a refreshing mint julep in the green glass!
A whiskey glass collabo meant we had to have whiskey on opening night. In our usual NN style we blended the two cultures together and had a selection of whiskeys from both Japan and America. We also had whiskey punch for the amateurs. Just kidding… the punch was actually the biggest hit on the menu. We owe that to our friend Aya who poured her heart out into making it days in advance, making sure the fancy oleo-saccharum had enough time to rest, and making sure we had enough volume to fill one of Kazumi’s giant peck jugs! If you ever need a crowd pleasing whiskey based punch, this recipe is the one to use.
Melissa of Metaflora created a simple floral statement. Enough to add life but not take away from the glass works. The result was brilliant because it incorporated the use of Onion Flowers that open green and start to turn purple over time. By the end of the one-week exhibition the swirly-stemmed flowers were bright purple and green to match all the glasswares down to a T.
One of the best parts about having the artist in town is the wind down after the opening party when we get to kick back and relax. We showed Tsuji-san some places we love in the city and on her last night took her to one of our favourite piers in Greenpoint, next to The Brooklyn Barge.
The city is incredible from this lookout point, with views of all the iconic architecture including the Empire. That night it was the exhibition’s shade of purple… as if to say good-bye to Kazumi Tsuji on behalf of New York.
We owe huge thanks to an amazing team of people this time around for helping us bring this exhibition to life – Kazumi Tsuji, Aya Nihei, Jacob Turetsky, Ari Zarillo, Armando Rafael Moutela, Stefan Ayon, Matthew Johnson, Pablo Luis, Riza Arrieta, Sujin Lee, Aimee LaRose and Faraday Okoro… THANK YOU!