Niwaki is a new outlet for Japan’s most innovative tools

Niwaki is a new outlet for Japan’s most innovative tools

The new Niwaki store in London sells exquisitely crafted Japanese garden tools and workwear

Niwaki is a new store bringing the craftsmanship of Japanese gardening tools and workwear to the streets of London.

The shop on Chiltern Street is the brainchild of Jake Hobson, a pioneer of Japanese sewing in the UK, and has already gained a loyal following through its store in Dorset, UK. Kagurazaka, Tokyo store; and popular online shop.

The brand will undoubtedly find an equally enthusiastic audience, if not more, with its collection of novel and practical products imported from Japan. These include three-legged tripods (which allow the gardener to get much closer to the hedge when pruning than a four-legged model), steel bonsai branch cutters, and ‘Kenzan’ needle stick holders for ikebana flower displays.

The products are so exquisitely processed that they are practically works of art in themselves, which makes the gallery-like interiors of Niwaki particularly suitable. The space was furnished by Jones Neville Architects with quarter-sawn Douglas firs and earth-colored felt showcases, which complement the minimalist elegance of the products inside.

And while gardening enthusiasts find themselves in the retail paradise at Niwaki, the shop offers such a wide range that even those without green fingers will enjoy it. Fashion connoisseurs are likely to crave the denim workwear ensembles, while chefs can admire the remarkable collection of immaculately made knives.

Almost all objects at Niwaki are produced in small series by artisans who often have generations of experience. Speaking of the small company he works with, Hobson says, “What I like most about working with Japanese blacksmiths and factories is learning about family.

“Most companies are family-run, often two or sometimes three generations work together. Our GR Pro garden shears with yellow handles are made in Yamagata by the Kudo family, which is run by a son, his brother and both parents. ‘

Hobson continues, “Every tool has three critical elements: good material (high quality carbon steel), good design (usually as simple as possible), and good craftsmanship (passed down from generation to generation).

‘[The Japanese tools] Don’t skimp on any of these: they look and feel great, they do the job, and they last, keep a sharp edge, and reward the user with years, decades, and even lifetimes of pleasure. ‘ §

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