If you walk along rue Jacob, whether returning from La Palette after soaking in the Saint Germain art atmosphere, or going from the interior decoration havens on rue de Furstenberg to the legendary Hervé L. Leroux’s boutique (which used to be Madeleine Castaing’s abode), you wouldn’t be the first one to miss the open porte cochère of number 12, a very Parisian passage that leads to the leafy courtyard that is home a majestic loquat tree and Nakaniwa.
Hirotoshi Maruwaka wanted a space in which to share the artisanal treasures that he sources travelling throughout his homeland of Japan. What to expect? From ceramics to cutlery, from traditional teas to cakeshop finds each of the items in Nakaniwa comes with a story. Bento boxes that preserve food quality throughout the day yet made of entirely natural materials are available. A plate here comes from one of the oldest kilns. The suspension candle holders there wouldn’t look out of place in a contemporary design gallery are actually traditional designs that rely on gravity, metals susceptible to corrosion (for grit) and fulcrums to hold in place. The overarching idea is that innovation is made of simple things and ideas, not overpriced plastic with a lick of design.
Beyond the Kama Asa knives and many more wonders, it’s Maruwaka’s superlative knowledge of teas that turns a browse into a visit to remember. Throughout the visit, he extolls (through a translator) on the journey, explaining how he stumbled upon this kiln, or where he sourced this hojicha that he is serving, with its candied chestnut flavor. Because that is exactly why he is presenting all these artefacts of a past yet to be born: not for the heirloom quality of the crafts but for the seeds of modernity that heritage sows.
12 rue Jacob