This mutual appreciation of high-quality craft skills is different to Tolstrup’s experience in the UK, where she is based. “Here, craft is not about high-end, it could be about knitting socks. But in Japan and Scandinavia, there’s that appreciation of things that are made by hand, made with care and made to last, they’re treated with respect and affection.”
Tolstrup’s firm Studio Mama designed a 1m-long shoe horn called Routine, for Japanese brand E&Y. “It’s sculptural in shape, stands on the floor, and is hand-crafted, working with the grains of the wood,” she explains. E&Y has also collaborated with the Swedes Claesson Koivisto Rune and Johannes Norlander, and the Finns Mika Tolvanen and Ilkka Suppanen.
Japanese designer Tomoko Azumi, whose TNA Design Studio is based in London, admits that she has never heard the word ‘Japandi’, “but I became aware of the trend when my Japanese client Time & Style got an overwhelming reception for their debut appearance at this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair.” At next year’s fair, the company – which has a shop in Tokyo and another in Amsterdam – will launch Azumi’s Gyokuro Tea Box, a porcelain tea set for a special type of green tea. Meanwhile, with its pale wood and clean, curved lines, TNA’s Au garden seat for Kwame Kwei-Armah, the director of Young Vic Theatre in London, fits the Japandi bill.