Slow → articles tagged with craftsmanship

Curated Nº 11 — Studio Arhoj’s Ghosts

It's that time of the year again to share the new Curated gift, and once again it is something which we are very proud to share. It is a pleasure to introduce the work of Danish designer Anders Arhoj to our subscribers. The illustrator and interior designer started his inspirational studio in Tokyo, but now a days returned to his home city of Copenhagen, resulting in a combination of worlds which one clearly picks up in the output of Studio Arhoj. The colors he uses, the shapes, the minimalism. Not only the Scandinavian, but certainly Japanese influences come back in all of these elements. Exclusively for my Curated subscribers he created a series of his incredible Ghosts in black and white. A few years ago he designed these Ghosts along with Louise Gaarmann, based on the believe of the Japanese Shinto religion that everything in nature has a soul - even mountains, rocks and plants. The Ghosts can be used - in Arhoj's words - as "paper weights, doorstops, toys, wedding ring holders kitchen talismans or as companion on a lonely night without friends to talk to." And the great thing is that each Ghost is unique, completely hand made, glazed, baked and with its own color form. [ Continue reading ]

Il Capo

After yesterday's feature we continue to stay in the fascinating Carrara area, with its marble quarries where men and machines dig the mountains, this time moving to Monte Bettogli. Last year in October, Nowness shared this excerpt of the highly inspirational documentary “Il Capo” (The Chief) by the italian visionary Yuri Ancarani. It continues to be one of the best things we've seen in a long time, portraying a maestro quarry manager at work. The extraordinary craftsmen coordinates or even conducts his quarrymen and heavy-duty machines, using a language consisting solely of gestures and signs. Conducting his dangerous and sublime orchestra against the backdrop of the almost surreal landscapes and peaks of the Apuane Alps, The Chief works in total noise, which create a paradoxical silence. The result is an utmost poetic video, finding extraordinary beauty in an extraordinary craft. [ Continue reading ]

Dutch Design Talents 14

Yesterday marked a highly significant milestone in the 9 year history of our close friends online magazine Fontanel, after the release party on Friday evening at Mendo they officially released their very first printed publication: the definitive showcase of the best design talents who graduated in the Netherlands named 'Dutch Design Talents 14'. The 208-page hardcover book features 19 talents, agency visits, sharp columns and an inspirational dialogue with leading creatives on "the gap" between education and work. This first introduction to an international audience was elegantly designed by Rob van den Nieuwenhuizen (drawswords) and mainly resolves around the 19 talents graduated from renowned Dutch art schools like Eindhoven’s Design Academy, Amsterdam’s Rietveld and The Hague’s Royal Academy of the Arts, after which subsequently a narrative on the overal climate of the current dutch creative culture was formed. Each of the talents is remarkably distinct, one of them is for instance Bob Schiller, who created the EPO Bicycle which we wrote about last year. But despite all the differences in what they created and why, they all share something special in the eyes of Fontanel Chief-editor Willem van Roosmalen: "the combination of a promising attitude and unspoilt creative thinking." [ Continue reading ]

Laboratory Perfumes

Inspired by the incredible flora of the British countryside, the London-based Laboratory Perfumes have been creating clean, pure and modern fragrances, evocative of nature since 2012. While the overall created aesthetic of the brand reflects a love of simplicity, the fragrances are extremely complex and have an evolutionary life on the skin, with elegant glass bottles and candle beaker echo the origins of the traditional perfumier’s laboratory. The original aim behind Laboratory Perfumes was to create a range of perfumes which evoke a strong sense of place, with all three of the original fragrances sharing an association with the English coast and surrounding countryside. If there would be a particular place, it could be the heritage coast of East Anglia, Pembrokeshire or maybe (but this is likely a more personal sentiment) even Ireland's Mourne Mountains. We love the nice touch of the laboratory beaker and scientific calibrations, which recreate the nostalgia of the science laboratory and result in an unexpected contrast between the fragrances inspired by nature and the laboratory. In our eyes this created a fascinating contrast in the perception of the beautiful products, with this year introducing an all new scent promising a lot for the future. [ Continue reading ]


We are very inspired by LTAF ORIGIN. A design and craft research project by Jorinde Meline Barke, creator of label J-M-B JEWELRY, and Frank Michels, co-initiator at the great Berlin-based industrial design studio GECKELER MICHELS. The outcome of the project is a set of four different jewelry pieces implemented in an ancient indian lost-wax casting technique called Dhokra. During preliminary research, anthropological literature led to Dr. Jaidev Baghels’ workshop in Kondagaon — in the city of Chhattisgarh, India — a renowned hotspot for Dhokra. The jewelry pieces were crafted on site under Frank Michels' assistance with both primitive and thoroughly fascinating means. Dr. Jaidev Baghels’ son Buphendra Baghel played a decisive role with leading the making and his team of skilled workers. The seemingly simple process turned out to be a complex and almost alchemistic affair, reminiscent of the Bronze Age’s enormous power of technical and social revolution. Into operation came materials such as sulfur yellow beeswax and black industrial paraffin way, river bed mudd, cow dung and earth from termite’s nests. Remains from used brass vessels were being recycled, and two hens were sacrificed in order to arouse a succesful casting operation. [ Continue reading ]

Michaël Verheyden

Michaël Verheyden is a Belgian designer, based in the city of Genk, birthplace of Martin Margiela for one, in the West of Belgium. The very talented creative mind creates fashion accessories, home accessories and furniture with a distinct elegant robust aesthetic. Verheyden graduated as an industrial designer in 2001 and before starting his own design label, worked together with, among others, another Belgium design master; fashion designer Raf Simons. The highly influential designer coached Verheyden's graduation project and commissioned him to make a series of leather bags for his Spring/Summer 2003 collection. In the same year as working on the pieces for Simons, Verheyden started his own label focusing on leather bags and accessories, which trained his exquisite eye for detail and dealing with all kinds of different materials. [ Continue reading ]


At the end of last year's Summer, the super inspirational multidisciplinary Japanese creative studio nendo created this beautiful retailconcept for ‚BACKYARD by | n’ — an original brand exclusive to the Japanese designer’s own products — located in the Seibu Sogo department stores in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro and Shibuya, and in the Yokohama Sogo space. BACKYARD refers both to a shop’s storage space or loading dock and a tiny paradise for children, an outdoor space for free play. The clean minimal white fixtures bring out the beautiful variety of the different products, but what we love most about the inspirational design are the plinths and in stands’ plywood, on which texture appears gradually towards the base, creating a very elegant aesthetic touch within the clean spaces. [ Continue reading ]

Calming Park — Black Edition

We have been obsessed with the finer scented candles from all over the globe for some years now, with more and more traditional fragrance specialists entering into the growing field, creating more and more elegant options to choose from. Since our little trip to Copenhagen, just before Christmas, we can add another gem to our favorites: Calming Park's Black Edition candles, which we found at the ever-inspirational Storm boutique. The capsule collection of three candles is a collaboration between the Grasse, Swiss-based perfume candle house which was founded by Olivier Rohrbach in 2007 and Danish creative studio Homework. It is no secret that we are still in our Black fase, although there is an obsession shift coming up very soon, nevertheless making the appeal of the elegantly designed collection very likely not coming as a surprise. The candles show a minimal elegant aesthetic, with the three fragrances of the collection given the three-letter names OUD, NOW and HYT. This beautiful collaboration between Homework and Calming Park is based on their shared passion for beautiful products and designs, which we in response can only applaud, hoping for more of these inspirational joint operations. [ Continue reading ]

Jocks&Nerds x Shinola

Recently quarterly men's style magazine Jocks&Nerds started an inspirational online project together with Detroit-based brand Shinola whom have recently opened their first store in London. The brand offers a broad field of products, from watches, leatherwear, bicycles to accessories for you pets and apparel, with everything being produced by skillful craftsman from the United States. The collaboration between Jocks&Nerds fits seamlessly within the philosophy of Shinola as it presents a select group of American craftsmen, but with the twist that they are all based in Britain. A modelmaker, a chef, a tailor, a brewer and today the final chapter is opened, presenting master distiller Jared Brown. Raised in upstate New York and now London-based, Brown works for the independent spirits distillery Sipsmith, where he is a master gin distiller and mixologist. He also used to run the pop up bar at the beautiful Langham hotel. The perfect closing of a beautiful collection of inspirational stories. [ Continue reading ]

Tenue de Nîmes x Travelteq

Last week marked the moment of the release of another exciting project, which we now can finally share: the second collaboration between Tenue de Nîmes and Travelteq, after the first one dating back to 2011, with the new joint effort 3 years later resulting in the co-creation of two all-new designs of Travelteq's modern classic; the 'Trash' Laptop bag. The collaboration is highly limited to only 30 hand made pieces, which are produced at the Travelteq factory in Tuscany, Italy, which we visited when the last collaboration came about. The handmade accessories represent the best of two worlds as they are made from Travelteq's signature Florentine Vacchetta leather combined with what forms the blood in the veins of the Tenue de Nîmes universe: characteristic Japanese selvage denim. With one version predominantly made from denim, with leather details, and the other boasting only denim details and a leather body. As with all premium products by Travelteq, the leather of the bags gets its beautiful deep cognac color thanks to the vegetable tanning process, with the design of the bag forming eight compartments, of which three are zipped, plus one for anything the size of a cigar and the main compartment for your laptop of maximally 15 inches. [ Continue reading ]


Recently we were introduced to an extraordinary new premium members-only webstore named Dymant. The initiative brings together beauty and utility, tradition and innovation, know-how and design, heritage and future. Each creation is made following the idea of 'temps juste': the time needed to achieve perfection. As a result, every object offered requires many hours of patient and precise work, which can't be rushed. Everything one finds in the elegant Dymant environment is the product of passion and the expertise of gesture mastered by talented craftsmen such as a cabinetmaker, a jeweler, engraver, lace-maker, glass blower. All limited-edition creations, combining traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design. On top of that, the fine products are reserved for Dymant’s private club members only, which are introduced by invitation only. When you become a member, you can welcome five persons to the club, making it potentially the perfect destination for incredible products, just for you and your personal circle. [ Continue reading ]

Azami Optiek

Since the beginning of this year we have been working on some new, very exciting projects, among which is a little trip into the world of optics. A discipline far too complex to enter without proper experience, therefore we’ve combined forces with our good friend Bijan Azami, who has 33 years of experience under his belt. The last 12 years of this period he has been running Azami Optiek in the Dutch city of The Hague. In this period Bijan and his team at Azami have been passionate about finding those glasses that perfectly reflect the personality of the person wearing it. Every frame sold at Azami Optiek is custom made or selected to accentuate the contours of one’s face to perfection with designs that powerfully express inner and outer beauty, through the immaculate combination of craftsmanship and fashion. [ Continue reading ]

Tom Strala

We have been writing about the work of Swiss designer Tom Strala as early as 2009, when we discovered his extraordinary Pompidu lamp. Tom studied architecture at the ETH Zürich and obtained his Masters in Architecture with distinction in 2001. From the early stages Strala has been working in his studio. Since 2002 he runs his own showroom based in Swiss’ largest city Zürich, located in the well-known Seefeld area. Since 2008 Strala is registered as limited company and is continuously intensifying its local and international activities within the world of art and architecture. Today Strala is recognized as design pioneer questioning established values and nurturing new ones. Strala’s spirit is one of a seeker, constantly challenging himself to dive deeper into understanding, exploring from different perspectives only to unveil what lies behind surfaces and to get closer to the bottom of things, whether it's the material or forms he works with. The results are minimal, robust designs always with elegant touches and lines, which we highly admire. [ Continue reading ]

The Perfect Black Jacket

In this first chapter of a little series together with the fine tailors of Utrecht- and Amsterdam-based New Tailor, we're exploring some of the perfect garments offered by the tailoring house. Recently a whole new horizon was opened to us, when we were lucky enough to obtain one of their immaculate bespoke pieces; a perfect black jacket, which overshadows any other jacket we have worn before. Our perfect black jacket was cut from an extraordinary cloth produced by the famous Fox Brothers, who own one of the few working cloth mills still producing cloth entirely in England. Many Fox fabrics are exclusively developed for fashion designers, while other styles are inspired by the extensive Fox archives. The cloth used for the perfect black jacket is a pretty heavy one, weighing about 370 grams. After weaving the cloths is cleaned, shaved and then brushed in such a way that you get the perfect flannel. The jacket looks tremendous and is extraordinary to wear. Moreover everybody wants to touch the jacket due to its extreme softness, giving a natural warmth and making us not want to wear anything else, anymore. [ Continue reading ]

ENG by Raymond Lemstra & Sybren Karst

The collaboration between Our Current Obsessions and our friend Raymond Lemstra was established early in the creation of NOIR. Being fans of Raymond’s vision for years now, both within his graphic work and the few sculptures he had made in the past, it was decided quickly to create another one of those fascinating creatures, but now in jet black instead of his usual strong colors, exclusively for NOIR. Raymond introduced Sybren Karst, specialized in woodwork, early in the proces, who proved to be the perfect partner for Lemstra, and together they created, all from old wooden play blocks, the extraordinary sculpture which is clearly marked with Raymond’s signature aesthetic and named ‚Eng’, which means scary in Dutch. We are extremely pleased with the result and hope for more beautiful collaborations by Raymond and Sybren in the future. [ Continue reading ]

Holland’s Finest

We are very grateful for everyone who had a share within the very first Our Current Obsession as without them we couldn't have realized it. Having introduced the main collaborator GERTRUD & GEORGE, some of the artists involved (with more to come), and ,The World of Black' in our space has been extended long and wide onto the online Our Current Obsessions environment, now it is time to give a proper insight into the other partners with which we’ve created the core of the extraordinary black selection of products for sale in our space on the Schippersgracht in Amsterdam. As these stores offer only the finest in their particular specialty we’ve named them Holland’s Finest, to which we owe a sincere debt of gratitude and feel honored to have collaborated with. [ Continue reading ]

The Office Blend

We have written about the incredible Athens-based webstore named Daphnis and Chloe when we found out about it in July of this year. The elegant and exquisite project was founded by Evangelia Koutsovoulou who divides her time between between Athens, Milan and Barcelona. The webstore which was funded through Kickstarter focusses on culinary herbs and spices for chefs and home cooks who are looking for Mediterranean ingredients of the finest quality. Last week Evangelia and her team released an all new offering in the form of their caffeine-free alternative to normal tea which they named ‚The Office Blend’. Next to the new premium tea, which comes in a colorful all new container, the store has released this new packaging for all its herbs ensuring the best possible use for their fine herbs in the area where it matters most: the kitchen. [ Continue reading ]

Barbera Design

Inspirational Melbourne-based Barbera Design was established by Australian designer Daniel Barbera in 2004, to create Australian-made furniture. High quality, unique, but above all timeless products, primarily aimed at Oceania and South-East Asia. Since the inception of his studio, Daniel and his team have been working with world class leading architects, specifying batch production products from their range, while also being able to offer custom solutions with existing products or bespoke pieces. Barbera’s product ethos works around logical design outcomes, and is process orientated working with old industrial processes fused with modern technology and craftsmen, to deliver elegant quality furniture which we really like. [ Continue reading ]


Last month, Albam, the classic British menswear brand which was founded in 2006 by Alastair Rae and James Shaw, released the imagery for the upcoming season, and instead of the usual lookbook approach they decided to create this clean cut series of portraits, which represents where the brand stands right now. Shot by longtime Albam collaborator and photographer, John Spinks, the portraits which were taken both in the Midlands, where John grew up, and in London, where Albam has stores in Soho, Shoreditch and Islington, aim to reveal the essence of what Albam is. Styling was done by Lynette Garland and art direction by Mark Tappin, the portraits, landscapes and still lives give a snap shot in to the relationship between Albam’s clothes and the wearer. It features normal people, friends or friends of friends of Albam, making them people, landscapes and objects that actually inspire Alastair and James instead of just people and places. [ Continue reading ]

Kokeshi dolls by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Yesterday during Tokyo Designers Week designer Ronan Bouroullec and Japanese architect Kengo Kuma presented their collaboration for the East Japan Project which the latter started after the Fukushina disaster in 2011. The inspirational project aims to get the artisans of the region back on their feet by creating lifestyle products that are manufactured by the local craftsmen. One of those traditional objects combining aesthetics with craftsmanship are kokeshi dolls, which we’ve been collection for quite some years now. Inspired by the extraordinary dolls Ronan and his brother Erwan Bouroullec designed a series of kokeshi dolls which are exclusively produced for the East Japan Project. The Bouroullec brother’s interpretation moved away for the super enlarged head and has a more human shape, with its torso separated in two elements, connected by a hinge which allows them to bend at the hip area, resulting in a more modern, moveable, but nevertheless familiar kokeshi doll. Such an elegant interpretation of one of our favorite Japanese traditional objects. [ Continue reading ]

Past Present

We really like the new Australia-based headwear brand named Past Present, which was launched this summer in July, and is inspired by the name itself, merging the old school dapper of the past with the present day modern man. Pair that with the relaxed culture of its city of origin, Perth and you are left with an effortless range of premium headwear. Past Present’s first collection was a selection of five and six panel caps, focusing on quality materials and details. The materials used are a mixture of tweeds and wool sourced from Ireland and produced in New Zealand. Finding a common interest in quality and old school style, Past Present also collaborated with the famous Ebbets Field to create a six panel ballcap to help debut their first collection which shows great promise for the years to come. [ Continue reading ]

Atelier Haussmann

Atelier Haussmann is a Berlin-based studio founded by brothers Rainer and Andreas Haussmann, who started their shared endeavor in 1990. Simultaneously with the foundation of the studio the brothers created the brand Mobile Metallic, and under the two flags they create both interior designs and exclusive interior products out of iron which are made to last a lifetime. The products of Atelier Haussmann evoke the sentiment of remembrance. The iron stool in a workshop, the steel tube bed, the bench in the locker room. Many pieces are based on designs from the past, reinterpreted for contemporary times. Through the combination of citation, the return to traditional production techniques and new ideas Atelier Haussmann developed its own aesthetic, keeping away from fast fashion phenomena, with a clear focus on products made with the highest quality possible, always remaining with a timeless presence. [ Continue reading ]

Inspirations — Nick F. Cerutti

Since the moment lifestyle brand GERTRUD & GEORGE came to our attention, we knew we wanted to find a way in seriously cooperating with such a like-minded brand. After a couple of months we found the right context and to our great pride GERTRUD & GEORGE became the main collaborator of Our Current Obsessions Nº 1 – NOIR. The inspirational brand is the brainchild of the very gifted Nick F. Cerutti. Founded in 2001 to serve bespoke and semi-bespoke purposes prominently in Japan to begin with, GERTRUD & GEORGE nurtures an intrinsic sense of equilibrium between aesthetics, function and execution in order to conceive pristine high-end goods. Since 2011 Nick and his partner Mathieu Annen have shifted their focus towards accessories and bags, which resulted in a perfect jet-black line named The Esquire Suite, consisting of 7 models which come in three different sizes and varying river buffalo grains and depths. Being highly inspired by Nick's tremendous history, his current work with GERTRUD & GEORGE and his overall vision, we've asked him some questions on his inspirations in life. [ Continue reading ]

Editor’s Index

Editor's Index is an ever-expanding independent studio project with a focus on artisanal aprons, started in 2010 by the very talented Kimmy Eliot Fung, who at the very start only possessed primitive seamstress skills. Hobbled from a few school classes and her mother's excellent but fluctuating influence. The first apron Kimmy created was as a nameless endeavor for a printmaker, which eventually was used and loved for four years, marking the quality of the products from the beginning. Later approaches for aprons were received in a similar fashion: working friends, and even Kimmy herself, looking for something useful, aesthetically appealing and industrious. Working in wonderful places with beautiful interiors and carefully crafted details asks for something paralleling this grace and actually keeping clean and functional: the clear focus of Editor's Index, which Kimmy has slowly been expanding since. [ Continue reading ]