The founders of new London interior design store Native & Co, British-Japanese Chris Yoshiro-Green and Taiwan-born Sharon Jo-Yun Hung, met while studying at the Chelsea College of Art and Central Saint Martins (CSM) in London. As part of the research for a CSM project about Taiwanese aboriginal culture, the design duo lived with some of the native tribes of Taiwan and learned about their craft specialities. That experience sowed the seed for Native & Co, which is located in Notting Hill and specializes in Japanese and Taiwanese homewares.
The artisan, no-frills style of the store lets the design of the products really shine. “We like simple, almost plain, primal forms where the material is used in an honest and pure-like fashion. By ‘honest,’ we mean when the material is left untarnished in its natural beauty. Brass that is straight from the sand-cast with no extra artificial lacquers, or solid wood that is oiled to protect—not to enhance or tint—the wood. We feel it is very important to celebrate the natural form of objects and of their materials,” Yoshiro-Green tells CH.
The founders say they discovered that many Japanese craft products in London “were either restricted in intimidating specialist shops or spread thinly across many retail brands” and wanted to gather them under one roof. Native & Co focuses on pieces that combine function with traditional materials—whether that’s a Nambu cast-iron kettle from the Iwate region of Japan, or one of the beautifully painted totes from Taiwanese leather specialist Green Room. The shop has something for all household needs and many pieces make for classy, thoughtful gifts.
Yoshiro-Green and Hung source the stock themselves from Japan and Taiwan, with an aim to select traditional craft products that have been reinterpreted for contemporary life. As an example, Yoshiro-Green mentions the recently launched Arita Porcelain Range, which consists of “very traditional and classic Japanese kitchenware tools: a sesame grinder, a ginger grater and a daikon-radish grater. The collection combines 400-year old porcelain techniques from the Arita region of Japan with a contemporary and simple design suited for everyday life. The pieces are machine washable and stackable—ideal for keeping a small kitchen tidy.”
The founders describe the pieces they sell as “homeware that compliments an interior but does not dominate it.” This ethos of combining functionality and beauty is the cornerstone of any good craft shop, but the focus on Asian products makes Native & Co really stand out from the crowd.
Images courtesy of Native & Co