Table of Contents, a recently-opened concept shop in Portland, Oregon, is a quiet refuge within the bustling Old Town neighborhood. Located just off Burnside Street in Chinatown, Shu Hung and Joseph Magliaro’s new venture is a welcome departure from the eclectic mix of dive bars, arcades, Internet cafes and thriving restaurants. You’ll notice its tranquility even upon entering, where, next to the door rests a pair of worn Japanese geta, inviting visitors to slip off their shoes and come in and take a breather.
Hung and Magliaro are both graphic designers with an obvious love of literature. For six years, as they moved from New York to Beijing to Berlin, they discussed opening their own store. A dream finally realized, the shop’s name comes from the idea that the space is a physical magazine. Each season will see a different rotation of offerings from designers, writers and artists, grouped around a central theme. For the first “issue,” Hung and Magliaro centered on the theme “Action is character,” a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Magliaro explained how the theme applied to an Enzo Mari chair from Mari’s series, Autoprogettazione: “If you purchase it, it comes as pieces of wood in a box and you build it yourself. The idea is that if you’re active in the process of making something, you develop a sympathy for the object, you become invested in the object. And hopefully keep it around for a long time.”
Alongside one wall, the pair solicited Cynthia Leung, a friend and fashion writer in New York, to guest edit a selection of 10 books, such as “100 Chairs in 100 Days” by Martino Gamper. “Some of them were out of print, so it was a scavenger hunt to find all of them,” said Hung. “It was an interesting sourcing exercise for us.”
As must have been the rest of the shop’s offerings, which have been collected from all over Europe and America–more brands from Japan are soon to follow in 2013. Furniture and decorations from local Portland artisans such as Jason Rens cohabit with clothing and accessories by brands like Opening Ceremony, Henrik Vibskov and Belgian designer Jan-Jan Van Essche, whose handcrafted, unisex, seasonless garments typify the qualities of functional, hands-on appeal that Hung and Magliaro seek in each of the items that they’ve collected.