If the elegant yet playful window displays don’t draw passers-by into this design store in the heart of Hackney, the bunches of sweet-smelling South American palo santo-wood incense might. Inside, the minimal-cool boutique reveals a gallery-like collection of glorious objects – from walnut and ash salt and pepper grinders to understated made-in-London ceramics and tactile Japanese brushes – thoughtfully selected by owner Momoko Mizutani.
“The designers I feature are all ones I know. I always visit their studios first to see how they work,” says Mizutani, who was born in Japan and moved to London, where she studied product design at Central Saint Martins, before working with accessories brand Ally Capellino and furniture maker Martino Gamper. “But I soon realised that my future was in presenting the designs of others rather than creating my own.” She began to piece together her ideas for a boutique and three years ago opened a shop on Wilton Way – an increasingly interesting East End street also playing host to Michelin-starred, tasting-menu-only restaurant Pidgin and the perennially popular Violet Bakery, where regular queues form for the breakfast scones and Amalfi lemon cake.
Here form, function and craftsmanship constitute the backbone of the wares, with new designers featured regularly. Take the delicate textured pottery (grey kiriko pots, from £38) of Mizuyo Yamashita, which is decorated with carvings in the Japanese shinogi style. “She uses clay from the UK, but occasionally mixes in sand from Japan,” explains Mizutani. “I love her attitude towards learning new skills. Pottery is very trendy at the moment, but I only want to stock pieces that show expertise. With Mizuyo I am totally confident; I know her quality.” Ceramics are a Momosan strong point, as are pieces with a connection to Japan. Mizutani recently showcased the work of London-based Japanese potter Yuta Segawa, whose Lilliputian vases (from £24) in muted hues look striking en masse, each holding a single flower.
Another recent designer focus was on German-born glassblower Jochen Holz, whose charmingly irregular-shaped water jugs (£175) and tumblers (£48) come in vibrant colour-blocked combinations, such as emerald green, pale pink and royal blue. His candleholders (£55) are particularly covetable, and can be paired with natural beeswax candles (from £5.50), sourced from a honey farm in Sussex.
Even the most pedestrian of items are chosen with design heritage in mind, such as the cast-iron kitchenware (frying pan, £25, patterned trivets, £50) from Morioka in Japan. “The town is famous for its ironwork,” says Mizutani. “The studio I work with, whose wares have been in MoMA in New York, is relatively new – which means it has been going for just three generations, or around 100 years; its neighbour’s business was started 17 generations ago.”
But not everything at Momosan serves a practical purpose, with organic hammered-silver loop earrings (£190) by New Zealand designer Hannah Upritchard and colourful block-printed birds (£14) stuffed with rice husks adding a delightfully decorative angle to this hip Hackney treasure trove.