Some years ago, we held a small event at a showroom in Tokyo. We invited craftsmen from the factory, who gave an upholstery demonstration. This small demonstration engendered a warm, friendly atmosphere that I had never experienced before, and the visitors and craftsmen had constructive conversations with one another. The head of the Japanese leather manufacturers' union, who happened to be visiting, was impressed and said, "Times have changed. The craftsmen are now out in the open! Until now, it has been a behind-the-scenes world."
You could actually touch the excellent handiwork, feel the leather in your hands, the texture of the material, and enjoy a chat with craftsmen that was not just sales talk.
Even in the age of AI, of social networks, and progress toward virtual reality, it was great to witness an event filled with the gentle laughter that is inherent to human nature. That's when we decided to build a workshop right in the middle of the city and show off the extraordinary skills of the craftsmen, in a stylish and welcoming studio.
It all started with the idea of transmitting Ritzwell's philosophy and identity through its furniture. By spending time and engaging in peaceful conversation that is a soothing antidote to today's hectic lifestyles, I wanted to cherish the sensitivity that resonates between the creator and the user. I once had the following pleasant experience.
One day, an elderly couple visited our showroom to buy furniture as a wedding gift for their daughter. The couple and I had a lively conversation for around 30 minutes about what kind of furniture they wanted. When the wife left the room for a moment, the husband said softly: "I haven’t seen my wife enjoying such a chatty conversation for ages. For the past few years she has been feeling constantly down, avoiding seeing too many people and not wanting to go anywhere. I'm glad I pushed her to come here." They spent a long time deciding on the furniture and then left. On their way out, his wife smiled and said, "I have never had such a pleasant experience in a store." I think our sensibilities must have resonated with her in some way at that moment, liberating her heart. I still remember that day with pride at having been able to do a good job.
As we enter a new era, the key mission of the Omotesando Shop & Atelier is to showcase Ritzwell's unique design, its highly skilled craftsmen and well-chosen materials and, not least, to provide a space for healing.