Another month, another exhibition! We invited Japanese maker Takayoshi Narita of Studio Tint to join us for the first international solo exhibition of his cookware. Using a combination of iron and stainless steel, Narita crafts cookware items that are beautiful functional objects that have been greatly considered in both use and feel. His items balance themselves, perfectly weighted by each handle. They are a true indication of his skill, dedication and respect towards his practice.
He works with a technique known as wrought-iron. Each piece begins as a flat plate of either iron or stainless steel. They are then heated and softened in a coal oven, removed and hammered into form. This process is repeated until the final results are achieved. Narita has been working in this medium for the past 19 years and his products are sought worldwide.
He arrived in Toronto with stacks of stainless steel plates, bowls and spoons, all with their own unique surface texture. The stainless steel changes over time, staining and polishing with use.
The wrought-iron works included fry pans, woks, plates, spoons and the most charming wall hung vases. These pieces act similarly to cast iron cookware, they have a natural non-stick surface but heat much faster due to the thickness of the hammered surface.
To view more of the works please head to the Mjölk website!
We were lucky to host Takayoshi Narita and his collaborator Seiko Tanaka for several days. In that time we arranged a lunch workshop, a meal prepared by Seiko using hand made tools by Narita, something that we will be sharing with you shortly!
We are excited to share with you some images of our latest exhibition with Nichetto Studio and De La Espada. Luca Nichetto came to our showroom for the opening, taking over the front half of our showroom to create his version of an idealized living space. Complete with the full launch of furniture designed by the Nichetto Studio for De La Espada, expertly finished in fabrics and materials chosen by the studio. The space was decorated by many objects designed by Luca Nichetto, along with handpicked design objects and books in the Mjölk collection.
Along with the full collection of De La Espada furniture, we also debuted two very special products designed by the Nichetto Studio for Mjolk: the Han and Zen flower vases, and the Uki candleholder (pictured below with more details to follow further down).
Hailing from the Venetian island of Murano, home of world-renowned glass makers, Luca Nichetto has a natural affinity for the art of craft and the power of colour. He draws inspiration from the textures and colours of nature and craft techniques from a range of disciplines including fashion, carpentry, and fine art.
Reflected in each of the products is the influence of the great American architects of the 1950s, Scandinavian design, and Italian postmodernism, which translates into a classic aesthetic where luxury is revealed in the details.
Each product was developed alongside a special colour palette that is not tied to fashion, but rather intended to remain relevant for years to come.
Gemstones set into jewellery were the starting point for Steve – a series of upholstered poufs. They feature short cast iron legs that support visible wooden structures crowned with upholstery, and are available in three sizes. Perfect as a standalone piece, Steve can also complement the Blanche, Stanley and Elysia chairs. It continues the Nichetto Collection’s aim of combining heritage styling with contemporary design.
The Stella armchair, seen here paired with the Harold Desk, grew out of Luca Nichetto’s desire to combine fibreglass – a material popular in the 1950s – with contemporary premium materials. The Stella Armchair boasts elegantly curving armrests, and its wooden legs support a visible fibreglass shell that encloses an upholstered seat and backrest. The Stella Armchair has been designed for extreme versatility and can be customized to suit residential, workplace and social settings.
With its tabletop drawer and compact proportions, the Harold writing desk evokes the era of letter writing. The flat working area is surrounded on three sides by soft upward curves, and the H-frame legs and wedge tenons grant the table a breezy elevation. The hardwood is hand-polished with lacquer for a subtle shine.
The Marlon table is an intriguing play of contrasts. Slender marble legs support a solid hardwood table top, creating a robust structure that nonetheless creates an airy impression. The table top’s numerous sections make it easily transportable, while allowing for a distinct and visually striking design detail. As part of the Nichetto collection, Marlon was inspired by the craft and form of American mid-century furniture and architecture.
Here is the first of the new product work by the Nichetto Studio for Mjölk.
The Bauhaus art school was celebrated for its use of pure, universal forms, and it’s to this vaunted early-20th-century design institution that the Zen/Han containers tips their hat. Referencing the angular form of classic vases, the Zen/Han glass containers come in two distinct, geometric shapes – a full and half rhombus – that slot together seamlessly when placed side by side, and which are finished in a soft colour palette specially developed by Luca Nichetto. Developed for Mjölk and blown by artisans in Murano, Italy, Zen/Han represents a truly international collaboration.
The soft folds of the Blanche Bergère armchair provide the perfect place for reading or private contemplation. Crafted in premium hardwood, with a choice of fabrics, Blanche has a soft seat and elegant wooden legs that are offset by two overlapping, tautly upholstered shells. Its enclosing and embracing form provides a sense of privacy. In balancing handcrafted wood with luxurious fabrics, Blanche embraces French luxury and echoes the delicacy of form of mid-century furniture and architecture.
When it launched in 2015, the Elysia lounge chair was the first product in the Nichetto collection for De La Espada. For 2016, it has been joined by Nino, an ottoman that shares its stylistic principles. Nino perfectly matches Elysia, as well as complementing the other items in the Nichetto collection. Its solid wood skeleton is exposed rather than concealed, showcasing its fine material and craftsmanship, while its fusion of wood and upholstered materials is inspired by mid-century design.
The Elysia lounge chair combines superb woodwork with bespoke tailoring. Its solid wood legs support an exceptionally comfortable backrest and seat. The chair’s skeleton is exposed, rather than conventionally concealed, to showcase its fine materials and craftsmanship, as well as its generous proportions.
The Laurel side table, positioned beside the Elysia lounge, is composed of two pure geometric shapes, an intersecting cone and cylinder, providing distinct surfaces on different levels. The solid, stable cone appears to weightlessly float atop the base, a fusion of form and function. Inspired by the balance of 1950s American architecture, Laurel is split 50:50 between two materials, with stone for the cylindrical base, and painted, hand-polished hardboard for the cone.
Here is the second product debuting by the Nichetto Studio specifically for Mjolk.
The Uki tea-light candleholder (brass / copper) gives off a soft and atmospheric light that illuminates any space. The glass diffusor appears to be a perfect globe, but its form has been carefully shaped to introduce subtle angles. While the diffusor is executed in Murano blown-glass, Uki’s base is produced out of spun brass made in Toronto, the materials and making processes revealing the quality of the manufacturing that lies behind the design. This piece represents a truly international collaboration.
A product of expert woodwork and joinery, the Stanley sofa is crafted around an elegant exposed wooden frame that is upholstered with a choice of fabric. Taut upholstery provides a smooth finish to the backrest, while generously proportioned cushions allow for exceptional comfort. In balancing skillfully handcrafted wood with complementary fabrics, Stanley embraces the craftsmanship of America’s great 1950s furniture and architecture.
The Mitch cabinet is a system made from solid hardwood and polished lacquer. The lightweight appearance of the cabinet belies the robust structure. Inspired by traditional Venetian doorbells, burnished brass is used for the door pull, for an exciting contrast of materials that nods to the designer’s heritage.
The Kim, a family of nesting tables, have been designed through the re-imagining of the design language of 1950s American furniture. Available as a set or as standalone pieces, the three items in the Kim family share common materials, while each having their own distinct form. Simple but with a strong sense of character, Kim’s finished wooden surfaces straddle the boundaries between the natural and the manmade.
Alissa Coe (producer of original edition of Sucabaruca) trying out the Harold writing desk, with Luca Nichetto looking on.
Thank you for everyone who came out to the exhibition. We will be showing the exhibition in its entirety until June 17th.
In London we stayed at The Laslett hotel in Notting Hill. Would definitely stay here again. Mid-price range and a fantastic location right by Notting Hill tube station. We found it very easy to get around from this vantage point.
They upgraded our room so I am not sure what it would have been like in a smaller room, but it was clean and comfortable and well put together. Because we didn’t have time to run around looking for breakfast we had it in our room and it was actually reasonable (and not ridiculous, like the platter of 7 pastries I received for like $45 at one hotel…I mean, I love pastries, but can really only eat one or two at most).
Inga Sempé w103c Clamp Table Light in the library.
More shots of the library. There is also a little eating space and bar on the other side of the entrance.
Naturally our first stop in London was to visit Margaret Howell, unattainable up to this point, since her clothing is not readily available in Toronto and we are wary online clothing shopper. Let’s just say we did some shopping.
R: A gorgeous wall hanging (or rug?) by Mourne Textiles
Margaret Howell seamlessly incorporates lifestyle and homestyle in one space, with a focus on British design.
We asked for a lunch recommendation and ended up at Fishworks on Marylebone High Street. From the outside it just looks like a fishmonger but there is a restaurant nestled in the back. Although we felt a bit unadventurous ordering the Fish & Chips, it was the BEST decision.
Then some wandering around and a lovely dinner at Fera at Claridge’s with a customer of ours.
From the very beginning, Sucabaruca and Aureola, was about involving people from different cultures and countries; Luca Nichetto, a designer from Venice, Italy, but residing in Stockholm, Sweden; Lera Moiseeva, designer and artist of Russian origin, but New Yorker by adoption; Mjölk, a purveyor of objects and furniture from Japan and Scandinavia; Canadian ceramicist Alissa Coe, who carefully crafted the prototypes and the first edition of the sets; Kihara Inc, the manufacturer of the sets, skillfully handcrafted each piece in Arita, Japan. All of these people have enriched the project, making it an extraordinary melting pot of ideas and energy on an international scale.
We chose to work with Kihara because of the history and expertise of the makers in the studio. Arita was one of the first places to produce porcelain wares in Japan in the early 17th Century. The work that was produced was heavily influenced by Korea, using an underglaze in blue, the Sometsuke porcelain became the primary finishing technique.
Today, Arita ceramics are considered both works of fine art as well as vessels primarily used for function. Kihara, a studio that has been producing for over 400 years, uses a traditional white glaze with blue undertones. The company still produces work with techniques that have remained unchanged while also incorporating new technologies to enhance the nature of the material.
The Sucabaruca Coffee Set is rich in cultural and formal references that come from the influences of several people involved in the project. The main cone-shaped body is reminiscent of Carmencita, the famous character created by Armando Testa in1966 for the tv show Carosello. The lines in the ceramic are meant to emphasize the uniqueness of the pieces which can be stacked and combined in various ways.
Set includes pot, filter funnel and 3 cups.
The Aureola Tea Set was designed based on research about ancient and modern tea sharing rituals that play a significant role in the social relationships in several countries. The tea ceremony represents an important tradition in many areas of the world, and particularly in Asia, influencing numerous other cultures. By observing how tea is consumed in Russia, Luca Nichetto noticed that the infuse is served not in cups but in small bowls without the handle and realized how this small detail gives more solemnity to the whole ritual.
Set includes pot, strainer and 2 bowls.
Hey! It’s our first visit (in a long time) to someplace other than Scandinavia or Japan! Off to London with a three day stay in Kent for our friends Hollie & Pete’s wedding.
After a slightly terrifying taxi ride from the airport (did you know you can prebook a taxi that will meet you at the airport with a sign? Much better than traipsing through London with luggage on the tube and train after no sleep) we took a walk in the nearby village of Bearsted to grab a bite at a pub and take in the spring scenery.
Hi! We’re terrible at selfies and we’re ok with that.
Day two meant a hen spa day for me, and a trip over to Whitstable for John. Windy Corner Stores is a cute cafe.
When John has an idea in his head…vintage trench coat shopping…
Lunch was full at the highly recommended Wheelers Oyster Bar. Next time!
A perfect intimate wedding at The Secret Garden. Probably my last turn at bridesmaid.
Had to share this photo of the bride and groom, in front of this super rad Bluebird Coach. Coolest. I missed out on getting some inside detail shots, like the milk glass electric lights.
Kent was a nice easygoing start to our trip.
As we mentioned previously, Spark Design Space closed at the end of March. We were thankful that we had one last opportunity to check it out and to speak with owner Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir.
We picked up one of the candleholders from Spark’s last show 1+1+1, whereby three design studios reimagine and collaborate on a variety of objects. This candlestick is comprised of elements designed separately by each group, and then put together to make about 30+ unique combinations.
I also attempted to impulse purchase the book Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland but ended up receiving it as a gift from Sigríður (thanks again!!!).
Also pictured: A sculpture by Paul Wackers and a vintage Alvar Aalto door handle.
Although these pretty Hafod Grange Paperweights hail from the UK (our next trip!), John has been obsessing over them for awhile. One for John.
Also pictured: Tapio Wirkkala copper bowl
One for Elodie.
Howell got this gorgeous sweater by As We Grow. Based out of Reykjavik, the company is trying to bring back a sense of value to children’s clothing, with the idea that it can be passed on. Really beautiful quality. I wanted to get the kids Icelandic sweaters but most of them can be a bit scratchy. This one is so soft. Howell hates when we put it on him but then we can’t take it off him. I have to hover by him while he eats so he doesn’t get food on it (he also refuses a bib). So I’d say he loves it.
[photo of Howell by Gaby]