Calm, soothing and uplifting, the evocative atmosphere of this compact concept store is conjured as much by intangible elements – fragrance, music, light – as by the white walls, limestone flooring and simple, elongated wall shelves that provide a powerful backdrop to a tightly edited selection of homeware and textiles, as well as toiletries, food and drink.
Located in Amsterdam’s museum quarter, We Are Beauty is the brainchild of Hong Kong-born Ivan Tse, who says the brand’s message came to him at a yoga retreat in Turks & Caicos. Now an Amsterdam resident, he hopes his first retail venture will act as a portal for further projects, including interior design. “The concept is about finding a balance between inner and outer beauty,” he explains. “It’s about enhancing your experience of everyday living.”
Groups of products are displayed as if in different zones of the home, with some presented in one-price mise en scènes. On my visit these included “Meditation on the Move” (€1,250), a display combining a handmade, cashmere Loro Piana blanket with We Are Beauty’s lavender-filled eye-shade and signature soundtrack CD, and “Time For You”, grouping Fortnum & Mason biscuits and Earl Grey tea with Sieger by Fürstenberg’s Wunderkamer porcelain tea service (€693).
Highlights of the lovingly curated selection include cute Lladro porcelain mermaids with gold tails (€165), Dekocandle’s oversized lantern with a giant four-wick candle (€195) and Sempre’s multi-legged Mangrove table in sand-blasted teak (€750). Meanwhile, Koishiwara’s traditionally made Japanese ceramic bowls (€139.50) are united with stunning pieces from Belgian company When Objects Work, such as Kate Hume’s coloured glass Pebble vases (€345) and Vincent van Duysen’s wooden-lidded ceramic bowls (from €127).
A micro “bathroom” is kitted out with Como Shambhala toiletries (body lotion, shower gel, hair conditioner, €22.20 each) and Ila Spa’s organic beeswax candles in bright glass holders (€34). And a kitchen cupboard filled with Fortnum & Mason Cornish clotted-cream biscuits (€6.70) and Pierre Marcolini’s passionfruit confiture (€10.15) sits alongside a Gaggenau chiller with wines grouped by “mood”.
Fresh muffins (€3.50 each) and madeleines (€3.50 for 10) tempt locals inside; those with time to spare sip fruit infusions from The Rare Tea Company’s tiny, round glasses (€35 a set) at a limestone counter by Dominique Desimple, whose textured tiles are also displayed. “People like to hear the story behind the shop and the objects in it,” says Tse. “It’s a way for them to ‘try on’ our concept of conscious living.”