Shop talk: new design hotspots
With lockdown measures in a state of flux around the world, popping out to the shops might feel like a distant memory. As believers in the power of retail therapy, we’ve rounded up some of the newest and neatest design shopping destinations around the world that should serve as a much-needed balm for the current times – perfect to peruse online and even better for visiting in person when the time does come.
When Alex Tieghi-Walker launched his design gallery Tiwa Select earlier this year, it was conceived as a means to discover functional works by contemporary artists, along with unusual and useful found objects and curiae for the home. Gleaned from his extensive travels both domestically and abroad, Tieghi-Walker’s evocative array of collectibles distills the offbeat, individualized beauty of handcrafted treasures that most people would only cross paths with once in a lifetime.
Amongst Tiwa Select’s recent offerings is a collaboration between the artists Vince Skelley and Megumi Arai – a limited edition series of Hinata stools. Carved by Skelley from a single piece of Oregon white oak and adorned with a quilted cushion featuring a patchwork of salvaged indigo, floral and kakishibu-dyed cotton scraps, made by Arai, this harmonious joint effort brings that warming feeling of being ‘in the sun’ (as its name prescribes) with each piece being entirely unique in shape and composition. Tiwa Select currently only exists online, but plans to reopen a physical space are set for Summer 2021.
Before moving to Mexico City, the writer-curator and poet Su Wu, together with her artist/husband Alma Allen, lived in Joshua Tree together. It’s hard to imagine where one would go after living in such an expanse of natural beauty, but Wu and Allen found a 1920s former theatre in the Roma neighbourhood, which they now call home. On the ground floor, Wu has opened a gallery/design store named Casa Ahorita – a word that is used in Mexico City to mean ‘now-ish’. ‘As I’ve experienced it, the word ’ahorita’ means the imminent not-yet present, and also crucially, the maybe never,’ explains Wu. ‘This is a word for a loose experience of time, especially for a design shop that is very much about having no idea what I’m doing, but getting to do it with very talented friends.’
Every corner of Casa Ahorita’s rustic interiors are filled with an exquisite object, be it bronze self-portrait bookends by the blind Oaxacan potter José García Antonio, anthropomorphic bean and stew pots by Alberta Sánchez Mateo, or fluffy zero waste sheepskin huaraches sandals, which are made traditionally by reusing rubber tires as their soles. Despite not currently having an online store, Wu does entertain purchase requests via Casa Ahorita’s Instagram page. Distance is no deterrent here. Orizaba 193, Mexico City, by appointment only
Banema, one of the leading purveyors of wood products in Portugal, recently opened a sumptuous concept store in the heart of Lisbon. Designed in collaboration with Campos Costa Architects, the eye-catching space is both sophisticated and welcoming, with a well-heeled collection of books, fragrance, lighting and modern furniture, including several brands that are making their Portuguese debut for the first time. Occupying 300 sq. metres, the new Banema space is elegantly divided into two spaces; Banema Studio, where visitors can leisurely discover new objects, and Banema Lab, an ideas laboratory designed to bring together the local creative community architects, interior designers, design students and private clients through a series of gatherings and seminars.
Spread over a single floor, the space’s interior is defined by an unexpected installation of decorative panels made from green melamine and acrylic stone. In such playful environs, visitors can experience scents from Maison Marie Louie, stationery by Papelote, textiles from Slowdown Studio and best of all, collectible design objects by Portuguese icons such as Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura. Rua Coelho da Rocha, 27C, Lisbon. Photography by Francisco Nogueira
Behind a sober wooden door, on a quiet back street in Paris’ Marais, lies an exquisite slice of Japan, a contemporary shrine to its design and food traditions. Occupying a 17th-century hôtel particulier, Ogata brings together the art of tea, fine cuisine and craftsmanship, as well as culture and hospitality, edited and reinterpreted by founder Shinichiro Ogata. A product and interior designer as well as restaurateur, Mr. Ogata’s design studio Simplicity has created one perfectly formed culinary destination after another in Tokyo, such as confectioner Higashiya and restaurant Yakumo Saryo, and his interior design portfolio ranges from Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills to stores for Aesop Japan. You might also already be familiar with Wasara, his celebrated collection of compostable tableware. Ogata, a multi-level, 800 sq. m platform for his vision and aesthetic, is his first project outside Japan.
At the project’s heart is a desire to relate Japanese culture to daily life. Beyond the entrance hall, where a monolithic stone basin is intended to purify visitors’ spirits, are three small boutiques. The most important showcases teas and tea accessories, and acknowledges the tea ceremony’s influence on the Japanese aesthetic. The adjacent space is dedicated to wagashi (Japanese sweets), and nods to the four seasons. The third space, the Atelier, carries tableware and utensils, mostly from Simplicity’s S(es) line, along with a small selection from Kimura Glass. Throughout, each item has been selected, conceived or designed by Mr Ogata. Downstairs, the sabō (tea salon) offers an opportunity to sample and admire the products in a fitting environment. 16 rue Debelleyme, Paris 3e. Writer: Minako Norimatsu
Form Atelier, Brooklyn
Looking for the unexpected connections between art, objects and modern furniture is the grounding philosophy behind Form Atelier, a Brooklyn showroom and creative consultancy founded by Quy Nguyen and Avril Nolan. Nguyen, who’s also currently the Director of Style at Ralph Lauren Home, is a seasoned antiques dealer in his own right, while Nolan brings a unique appreciation for vintage and antique pieces through her experience in the fashion industry and personal travels. The duo left their Manhattan showroom for a larger space in Brooklyn this past September, enabling them to expand their offering to include furniture for the first time.
At Form Atelier, Japanese Noh theatre masks from the 1930s are given equal reverence as Rud Radmussen oak dining chairs from the 1940s. ‘We search for antiques and objects that have influenced or informed modern art and design,’ says Nolan. ‘We also love motifs that eliminate the idea of ownership, belonging to everyone and no one at the same time. There is equal beauty to the checkerboard pattern that runs from a Moroccan hand woven Taznakht rug, to a Josef Hoffman interior, to a Jean Dunand lacquer and inlaid eggshell cigarette box.’
Some of the Atelier’s notable highlights include an Ethiopian carved wood chair by the Jimma people, originating from the first half of the 20th century, which is made without the use of joinery, glue or nails, and its extensive collection of lithograph prints of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Seascapes series, taken between 1980-1991. An ideal design shopping stop for the individual who already seems to have everything. 349 Scholes Street, Suite 203, Brooklyn, NY
It would be remiss of us not to mention our own Wallpaper* Store. Filled with all our longtime favourites, as well as the special creations that have resulted from our efforts on behalf of Wallpaper* Handmade over the years, the store is filled with design objects big and small, modern furniture pieces and classics, affordable and downright audacious, essential and indulgent. We recommend taking a wander and reacquainting yourself with something you may have spotted once upon a time.