July 12, 2016
Variety may very well be the spice of life, but these uber-niche artisans have tunnel vision when it comes to their beloved raison d'être – and we’re the luckier for it!
From incense to umbrellas to mini-mosaic watches, we’re counting down (and laying mitts on) the very best buys from our favourite specialty stores.
Specialty: Ink pigments
Designed by master architect Kengo Kuma, this nigh on clinical emporium lives up to its name shelving a staggering 4200+ powdered pigments, all precisely arranged beneath an undulating slat-wood ceiling. From cobalt violet rose to Mars brown to sap green, you’ll find every shade under the sun here, plus a selection of traditional brushes and inkstones to help you realise the painted or calligraphic creations of your dreams. Not exactly Kakinuma? Don’t fret, the super-senpei staff host regular workshops for novices. Sugoi!
2-5-5 Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo. +81 35 781 9550. pigment.tokyo
In a city crammed with more than 2000 shrines and temples, it’s little surprise there exists a store dedicated entirely to incense. Lisn’s collection of scent-uous, hand-blended sticks spans 150 heady varieties, including novel notes like smoked bourbon and conifer alongside the usual sandalwoods and white sages. And if you need yet more encouragement to follow your nose, the store’s mod-ochromatic design is a visual treat to rival the olfactory.
Leave it to the fanatically fastidious Germans to have a shop dedicated, ahem, sole-ly to scuffs meant to keep the walkable surface of your digs clean. This family-run, time-warp basement biz has been custom-making felt house shoes since 1908; seeing Berlin’s tootsies through many a cold winter and dark day along the way. If their signature plaid and pom pom-adorned pairs can’t keep you toasty and chipper, nothing can. Ripper slippers!
B/1, Torstra. 39, Mitte, Berlin. +49 30 442 5337. pantoffeleck.de
Look a little closer… Do thine eyes deceive? No! At first glance, these astonishing cufflinks appear to be adorned with pretty little hand-painted scenes, but in fact they’re inlaid with the micromosaic masterpieces of Luigi Faraoni, one of only seven remaining Roman artists of his kind. These painstakingly-crafted designs come in classical and contemporary styles and are also available as watches, rings and pendants. Piccolo perfection.
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 137, Campo dei Fiori, Rome. +39 06 683 2832.
Whatever the season, a good brollie really is a wardrobe essential in London, and there's nary a better nook to get your damp-defender than this comely Victorian store that’s been keeping Londoners dry since 1830. Hand-made umbrellas come in gender specific styles, foldable versions and even options with interchangeable and animal head handles. In the ogle-friendly windows you’ll also espy the occasional hardwood crook cane, hip flasks and frilly cotton sun parasols to protect one’s English rose visage. Spiffing.
Hazelwood House, 53 New Oxford St, London, WC1. +44 20 7836 4731. james-smith.co.uk
Specialty: Gilded mirrors
For the fairest mirrors of them all look no further than this by appointment-only workshop on 9 Streets stocking nothing but show-stopping, gilt-edged antique spiegels. Owner Anouk’s drool-worthy C.18th–19th looking glasses are sourced mainly from France and Italy, and they’re all restored on-site by pro-craftsmen using strict trad methods.
Prinsengracht 467, De 9 Straatjes, Amsterdam. +31206228598. anoukbeerents.nl
Though designer candles aren’t exactly a rarity these days, this label’s been keeping the wick lit since founder Claude sparked his first flint for Louis XIV. Centuries later and Cire Trudon is still the bees(wax) knees for splurge- and gift-worthy flambeau, with a wonderfully whiffable range of tapers in classic-chic fragrance like Old Mossy Walls and Floral Leather. Mmmmmm.78 rue de Seine, 6th, Paris. +33 14 32 64 650. ciretrudon.com
- Posted Tuesday 12th July 2016.
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