Cult Shop: Japanese and Nordic design converge under one London roof
“It’s about the simplicity of design – Japanese and Nordic – the two sides of the world coming together,” says Barry Hirst, the co-founder of Liverpudlian from Pantechnicon, the five-story kitchen, beverage store, of culture and design in Belgravia which opened in September. According to Hirst, Pantechnicon is a celebration of a “shared aesthetic: not overly decorated – minimal, modest and utilitarian”.
Hirst is a man with a vision. He first rose to prominence for reviving Belgravia’s Elizabeth Street, which he turned into a honeypot destination with the Thomas Cubitt pub (later sold, but still a local mainstay). When the Grosvenor Estate offered him the chance to develop a conceptual space on nearby Motcomb Street, he took on a magnificent stucco building that was once a Victorian warehouse – his moving vans inspired the name.
Pantechnicon has been stripped of the original brick and wood with a nod to wabi-sabi, and is home to two restaurants: the modern Nordic-tilting Eldr and the Japanese market-inspired Sachi, as well as the Kitsuné pastry cafe. , a Japanese bar and bottle shop, a rooftop garden and two concept stores, The Studio and The Edit.
Both stores were organized by Japanese design authority Shu Terase, who honed his shopping flair at Monocle and Japanese lifestyle retailer Beams, before spending two years searching for treasures for these. new stores. The Edit, on the ground floor, has the feel of a gift shop. “We want to offer something that you can’t get anywhere else in the UK,” Terase says. “You might be able to get some things online, but not in a physical store. Some styles or colors are exclusive to us, ”such as the“ Red Camo ”Raincho Raincoat by Norwegian Rain (£ 610).
The store is designed to be ‘democratic’, with prices starting at £ 3.50 for Japanese cypress bath salts. And diverse. Japanese wooden children’s toys and chic stationery sit alongside cult brand Snow Peak’s camping cafe and tetrahedral bags from Finnish textile designer Johanna Gullichsen (£ 84). Hirst’s favorite object, discovered in Tokyo, is a small acoustic iPhone speaker – “handcrafted, just a piece of wood, no electronics” – which costs £ 55.
Upstairs, The Studio is a spacious loft for housewares, beauty brands, fashion and big-ticket items, including a Tokyo Bike (£ 550) and an ultra-high-tech digital speaker from Cotodama which doubles as a karaoke machine (£ 4,320). The makeup and skincare was organized in collaboration with Japanese beauty specialists Bijo (the rose quartz stones for facial massage, £ 25, sell out almost as soon as they are replenished), while the highlights of the house include Arita’s dishwasher-safe pastel porcelain with scalloped edges (plates from £ 12) and a Soil bath mat (£ 125) made with Japanese Diatomaceous Earth for l water disappears like footprints near a swimming pool on a sunny day. Terase’s favorite pieces are the retro-classic Matsuda sunglasses – each pair includes 250 steps and takes up to four years to make (£ 455 to £ 955).
Customers are united in their curiosity, says Hirst. “Not only do they want to be inspired, but they also crave product knowledge.” But they remain eclectic: visitors to London, hipsters, pillars of Belgravia, researchers and designers. The Japanese ambassador loved it, he said. Dogs, meanwhile, are welcome, but their head height should be “below the table – so, despite the Nordic connection, unfortunately no Great Danes …”
pantechnicon.com, @_moving truck