Shopu: a Zen-like e-store

Japanese finds that elevate the everyday

Nathalie Agematsu is a Parisian with a love of simple, functional products that embody the notion of Mingei – “the handcrafted art of ordinary people”. She has translated this inclination towards Japanese design into a beautifully curated e-shop full of objects for Zen-like living – from sculptural, brass Sorori vases (€70, second picture) produced by Nousaku in Toyama prefecture, to red or black Oryoki dining sets (€520, first picture) in lustrous lacquer.

The site’s unusual finds are showcased by enticing images alongside informative descriptions that highlight Japanese history and ceremony – and despite an abundance of clean, modern lines, many of the items were created in ateliers that date back hundreds of years. The handmade star-shaped Tentai trivets (€75 each), for example, come from the Futagami workshop, which has been producing brass objects for over a century.

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Highlights include the paper and lacquer Koyori trays (€200), which are delicate yet sturdy enough to be used as serving platters, and the thin Tenugui towels (€48 for a set of three) created using the ancient Chusen dyeing technique in vibrant hues. Even the most utilitarian objects – a set of Kihon knives (€215) with hand-forged stainless-steel blades and rough-hewn chestnut handles; a pair of Katei gardening scissors crafted in copper or iron (€85) – double as objets d’art. There are exquisitely thin, handblown glass Usuhari drinking sets (€75 for two glasses and a carafe, third picture) and no Japanese table would be complete without a set of chopstick rests (€36 for five) – here resembling miniature vegetables and weathered pebbles.

The art of Mingei doesn’t end at the dining table, however: for the dressing table there are beautifully crafted and supersoft Neko make-up brushes (€64), which come in vivid hues of yellow, pink and turquoise, while the squirrel-hair Sugi brushes (€100) are well-suited for those with drier skin.

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