Native & Co

A no-fuss approach to design and honest materials underpin the Japanese-inspired lifestyle products at this Notting Hill boutique

Image: Antoine Raab

The calm ambience of this independent homewares and lifestyle boutique in the heart of Notting Hill owes everything to its artisanal wares. Each piece is from Japan or Taiwan and shares a similar aesthetic – a straightforward simplicity that stems from a no-fuss approach to design and the use of honest materials. Native & Co’s owners, Taiwan-born Sharon Jo-Yun Hung and British-Japanese Chris Yoshiro Green (both pictured), take a refreshing approach to commerce. “Our products are all craft-based and we work with specialist workshops and local craftspeople rather than designer ‘names’,” says Hung. The couple met at Chelsea College of Arts and the idea for their own shop developed while studying product design at Central Saint Martins. “We wanted to work for ourselves,” says Hung. And they have personally created every aspect of this small shop, from the graphic design to the interior decor.

Image: Antoine Raab

Tactile earthenware jugs (from £225, pictured) made in Kyoto, sleek copper kettles (£220), pure white porcelain kitchenware (lemon squeezer, £16; pestle with wooden mortar, £35), and paper-thin Kami cups (from £42) made from the castor-aralia trees native to Hokkaido are characteristic of the designs – all elegantly displayed on plain wooden shelves. Shapely Japanese palm brooms (from £75) hang from a peg-rail and a fine-grained maple table (£1,650) is flanked by benches (£780) and stools (£360), where shoppers can relax. “We originally designed the table as a shop fitting but people asked to buy it, so we now sell it to order,” says Green, who launched their full furniture collection during London Design Festival in September.

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Most customers are either local residents or interior designers and architects, drawn by the exclusivity of products not generally available in the UK. “People are interested in the provenance of the designs,” says Hung. Bestsellers include a collection of simple, white enamelware (lidded bowl, £30; coffee pot, £65; beech-handled kettle, £115; pasta pot, £145), a black cast-iron fish pan (£175) and cast-iron casserole (£185) designed by Sori Yanagi, as well as a series of attractive blue and white plates (from £8) decorated with traditional Japanese good-luck symbols – waves, a stork, ears of corn – and made in Arita-cho, the birthplace of Japan’s porcelain production. Also popular are the stylishly shaped leather clutch bags (£125) and totes (£360) from Taiwan.

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It’s the perfect place to buy presents you won’t find elsewhere. A butter dish with lid and integral knife (£95), for example, is beautifully made from a single piece of seasoned, oiled maple from Hokkaido (also in walnut or cherrywood). “The wood acts as a good insulator,” says Green. More playful is the Welcome soap shaped like a sea bream (£28), while lengths of patterned cotton Tenugui cloth (£20), hand-dyed in Japan, could find myriad uses. And the canvas bags (£165), traditionally used for carrying tools, canvas totes (£18) and traditional 1950s-style canvas school bags (from £40), made by a small, family-run business in Taiwan, could be just the thing for carrying home your purchases.

 

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