Sunday, December 31, 2006

Living Motif: Cool Housewares

Walking southeast from Roppongi crossing you’ll find AXIS, a design complex housing 17 stores and galleries on six levels. While there, I happened on an exhibit displaying innovative home design including an inflatable toilet and tableware featuring plates with bowl-size depressions. All of it is very futuristic and lovely. The Living Motif store on the ground floor offers the best shopping possibilities with a wide selection of design housewares and furniture. An Asian version of Crate and Barrel, except a bit more design-conscious, the Living Motif store is comfortable and homey yet their wares wouldn’t be out of place at the gift shop of a contemporary art museum. There are large metal serving spoons ($17 each) designed by Japanese design guru Sori Yanagi (his iconic Butterfly Stool, the winner of the Gold Medal at the Milan Triennale, has been a design classic for nearly half a century) and incense sets for the home ($9-$17) by the Kyoto company Lisn, using green moss, camphor and roses and are packaged in handsome sachets. Lightweight black “Koyori” placemats ($44 each) made by GALA Studio are composed using an ancient technique of twisting paper strings and coating with lacquer giving resistance and a shiny finish. Items for children’s rooms including a linen tepee and wooden blocks and stuffed animals ($35) from Bavarian toy company Sigikid add to the fun. The staff is helpful and friendly and if you’re lucky they may invite you to one of their many design events that occur regularly at the complex.

Living Motif at Axis
5-17-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku.

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