When launching a design product label, the story usually goes that said company unveils a collection of goods for all to see. Piaule, a home accessories line that quietly made its entrance at the end of last year, has chosen to take an alternative tack.
Based in New York City, the fledging company has debuted with just one item: a simple white bath towel. Not just any old towel, of course. The Piaule ideal is surprisingly thin and lightweight. Made from 100 per cent Japanese cotton in Japan, the towel consists of two layers – a delicate gauze on one side and then a neatly looped terry underneath it. Airy, yet absorbent, the compact, uncomplicated towel is a stark contrast to versions that might overcompensate on thickness, size and heaviness to conceal its inferiority.
Piaule, which is French slang for ‘room’ or ‘pad’, aims to cater to the modern home by bringing good design and quality in an affordable, high-low balance.
‘We’re planning on rolling out our products one by one as we move forward,’ says co-founder Nolan McHugh. ‘They’re products that traditional designers might find boring or underwhelming – but consumers have a lack of choice, in terms of quality, currently in the market. We want to approach things and make them a really well-designed object that can be used on a daily basis.’
Embracing a pared back, Scandivanian/Japanese aesthetic, Piaule already has products lined up for release; they plan on launching an item every two months. ‘We want everything to feel very considered. There is a lack of quality options, but at the same time there is an overwhelming amount of options, period. We’re trying to strike a balance of a minimal product offering with very approachable things,’ continues McHugh.
Piaule aspires to eventually become a one-stop shop for basic home accessories. Tableware, drinking glasses and diningware are categories that it will bring out later this year. The company has sourced its offerings from specialised makers steeped in tradition, and worked with them to create a pure, understated product.
‘We have a weird attraction to Japanese craftsmen and aesthetics because they typically show a lot of restraint and a lack of over-complication. We just want to be able to adapt to any home and create a very harmonious existence,’ McHugh says.