Simultaneously communication agency, online store of contemporary craft objects and journal of inspirations, we take multiple paths to celebrate the art of living in Asia and help the preservation of its craft skills, with curiosity, sensitivity and singularity.
Travel as inspiration
The desire to discover far away places is what makes us vibrate, and to better understand the world around us, travel will always be our driving force.
Our Asia is multiple, vibrant, creative, it propels us into a whirlwind of sensory experiences and sincere emotions. It is this Asia that we want to share with you, the Asia of ateliers, of know-how that is passed on from generation to generation, of a new creative scene, of an art of living that inspires us passionately and that gives creativity and a sense of beauty to Atelier Ikiwa.
Preservation and transmission
Our vision is to create an ecosystem around Asian crafts that transcends borders, values identities and cultures, gives visibility and opportunities to lesser-known or more isolated communities, but also highlights new talents, promotes the love of beauty, handwork, slowness, timelessness, durability of things and puts respect for human beings at the heart of the action.
The object as a vector of memory
Objects, like the diaries of our memory, connect us to the places we have visited and the people we have met, bringing a soul to our interiors, full of emotions.
Each object tells the story of an encounter, real or imaginary, with a artisan who, through the grace of his gestures and his sincerity, has entrusted us with the role of passer-by.
Each object bears the mark of an ancient history, of the passing of time that makes things even more beautiful, of the work of the hand, respectful of a craft that has its place in our contemporary societies. The quiet elegance of things that have lived and that we can continue to love for a long time.
A certain idea of elegance
The subtlety of a muted color palette; the harmonious blend of materials: the blond of bamboo, the textured white paper, the rough dark woods, the clean and pure lines; the passage of time that retains beauty; the imperfections that become perfection; the emotions that touch in simplicity; the traditions that become contemporary evidence: this is the spirit of what we try to convey.
A long time ago I read this book by Yukio Mishima. It is about a dreamed thing, the Kinkakuji, or Golden Pavilion (also the title of the book), in Kyōto, a temple fantasized and magnified for years, and whose discovery, finally, shatters, by what the hero considers an ugly reality, years of idealization. His disappointment will lead him to destroy this 15th century temple by fire in 1950 (this event actually took place).
My dreams of Asia also began at a distance, when as a teenager - without internet and far from an urban life - I fed my imagination with the books of Pearl Buck, Yasunari Kawabata, Marguerite Duras, and many others.
But when I went to Japan for the first time, 25 years ago, and in all the other Asian countries I discovered as well, during multiple trips, the reality was always beyond the fantasy, much more intense, much richer, much more moving.
Since then, I continue to nourish a multiple and abundant passion for this continent, its traditions, its craftsmen, its know-how. From Bhutan to Indonesia, from South Korea to India, from Laos to China, from Nepal to Vietnam, from Burma to Sri Lanka, from Cambodia to Thailand, from Singapore to Malaysia, and of course, Japan. I photograph (all the photos on this site, for sale, or on Instagram are of my work), I write, I discover, I meet, I marvel, since always.
And after more than 20 years of marketing and communication management within major brands, luxury (Dior, Shiseido...) and retail (La Vallée Village), which led me to travel the world, I knew that the time had come to turn fully to Asia, and to put my sense of detail, effort, commitment, and beauty at the service of the preservation of Asian craftsmanship.
Atelier Ikiwa is being built slowly, but with a clear vision. It is somewhat polymorphic, encompassing services to companies (a consulting agency), publishing projects (guides, photos, magazine) and the sale of contemporary Asian crafts objects selected with rigor and in very small quantities, and tomorrow I hope, trips in small groups to meet the artisans of Asia.
But what I seek to do still responds to the wonder that gripped me when I watched, in a tiny workshop in Kyōto, a craftsman representing the 15th generation of the same family, hand braiding with unheard-of dexterity and complexity small cords used to close tomobako, the wooden boxes in which handicrafts are placed to protect them.
I would like to believe that there is room in our lives for stories and objects that carry the emotion of the hand that imagined and created them, even 9000 kms away from home, and that preserving these skills, in order to anchor them in our contemporary lifestyles, gives meaning to the things we surround ourselves with, far from a globalized standardization.
WORKSHOP: it is both the place where the artisan works and where the agency takes shape.
IKIWA: it is a poetic, melodious and respectful assembly of two words of Japanese origin, to form only one which exists only in my head, and which lets dialogue the art of the simplicity and the art of the harmony.