Janice Seow speaks with Singaporean
Andrew Tan, who co-owns atomi with his Japanese wife, Mitsuko Murano.
What made you decide to set up atomi back in May 2009?
We decided to set up atomi to start making our dream come true. We wanted to bring in something truly unique that would promote Japanese designs and a comfortable lifestyle.
What type of products does atomi carry?
A wide selection of products, broadly categorised into personal, fashion, accessories, household fittings, and furniture. In fact, the range of products continues to evolve every month, so that one can look forward to something new every month from Japan.
How do you choose the designs to be showcased at atomi?
Firstly, the products must be designed by Japanese and/or made in Japan. Secondly, they must be comfortable and enhance our daily lifestyle and thirdly, we must be the exclusive retailer/distributor in Singapore.
We give priority to environmentally friendly products, in addition to our 3 principles of selecting the items. We also like to select products that apply traditional skills that have been passed down through generations. In this way, we hope to contribute in maintaining such traditions and craftsmen’s skills in Japan.
Once all the basic criteria are met, we then go about looking at the aesthetic and functional aspects that fit into our “Japanese designs x Comfortable lifestyle” theme.
Do you have a favourite design in the store?
The Maruni lounge chair is one of our favourites. Its whole design process epitomises the best of both design and manufacturing skills in Japan.
The designer, Naoto Fukasawa, works closely with the maker, Maruni, to create one of the best partnerships in Japan.
Who are some of your favourite Japanese designers?
Toshiyuki Kita is one. He is an active, internationally-respected environment, interior, and product designer while keeping true to his roots by being involved with traditional Japanese craft designs.
Both Mitsuko and I are honoured to have met him personally and even hosted an event in atomi showcasing his latest works.
What do you think Japanese designs have to offer the world?
Japanese designs are simple yet extremely focused on details. The design philosophies are heavily influenced by their culture and way of life. It is threading in a fine balance of being modern yet classic, avant-garde yet timeless, leading edge yet classic.
What do you think has been key to the great response atomi has received thus far?
The key to atomi’s success is our belief in Japanese designs and a comfortable lifestyle. This is a place where friendships are made, designs are introduced to daily life, and genuine passions for traditions, cultures and design philosophies are experienced in a cosy environment.
You heard it first on habitusliving.com!
In the first quarter of 2011, atomi will be launching several new brands with Atelier Penelope being the first, followed by the ceramic works of Japanese designer, Yumiko Iihoshi, who will be holding her first exhibition at Maison & Objet 2011. atomi will be the exclusive distributor and retailer for these two brands.
atomi is also planning a second boutique focused on bespoke luxury for “Made in Japan” designs with many being handcrafted and limited editions.