Yayoi Nakanishi - Designer/Founder/WAZARS
As a former designer for a Tokyo shoe company, what is your new role within the company WAZARS?
Founder, owner, storyteller of handcrafts and beautiful lifestyles. I don't feel like I am only selling stuff. I know the world of creators and I don't select the products only for their quality and beauty. I want to tell stories and stories of their creators, what is normally hidden behind those products. But at the same time I wouldn't choose something unsuitable for our ordinary lives, just because of a good story. I normally stress the importance of showing how someone could use them, through photos and texts.This attitude arises from my experience as a designer of artisanal products.
Coming from Tokyo how are you finding Italy?
Italy is very famous for its design, food & culture, but it is a different world from Tokyo. Italians lay a great emphasis on their long history and sometimes they tend to be a little bit too conservative, although this is not always a negative. At the end of the day the philosophy of my online store is akin: tradition meets creativity.
With a strong Japanese emphasis within your style do you feel it works or can, beside the Italian lifestyle?
I think that there are a lot of common features in the taste of Italians and Japanese. One can see it on the catwalks: Italian fashion is about simple elegance, good material and good work, and...a little originality. I think that is perfectly compatible.
What are you currently reading?
I prefer to read independent magazines of all sorts rather than books, because that's where I can draw inspiration about "current moods", little known stories, and where the world is heading. Now I'm reading "DEFINE: home", filled with beautiful artistic photographs. This issue of the magazine is made up with the images and thoughts of creative people with a passion for homes and home design. One of the articles that grabbed my curiosity is "Mystic Cords" by Jeffery Buttler. He thinks 'nothing marks a home like a flag', I don't agree, but it's a unique point of view
Do you have a signature dish, when entertaining?
Classic Japanese miso cod (Gindara Sikyo Yaki). It's a typical dish of western Japan where my mother lived for a while. Black cod marinated in typical Kyoto's sweet miso "saikyo-miso" and then grilled. It has a ivory colour with the light brown marks of the grilling. I like to serve it with some green vegetable and radish on ceramic black dishes with rough texture that we sell. The contrast of the colours and materials makes for a vivid and unique table setting.
Where do you look for inspiration?
For images and selecting products, Pinterest, Instagram and some ecommerce sites all over the world. The mood and discoveries of my friends are also important.
Name 5 items you can't live without?
Tablet for photography and work. Tea (with a cup designed and made by Matthias Kaiser). Home fragrances. The irreplaceable life noble notebook, to be used with a Japanese ball pen!!
Do you have any pets?
How best would describe yourself, a social butterfly or stay at home with a good book/movie kinda girl?
I don't think of myself as a social butterfly, but I do like to go out to enjoy good music, good movie, cultural events. I'm something in the middle. In medio stat virtue: virtue stands in the middle.
What's next for WAZARS?
A new e-commerce site for the Japanese market. We are about to begin a very promising collaboration with some local designers and artisans. It's a new challenge fo us, but I think it will be good for us and will spur local creativity