FOUNDERS: PRODUCT DESIGNERS AND CURATORS TAIWAN-BORN SHARON JO-YUN HUNG, AND BRITISH-JAPANESE CHRIS YOSHIRO GREEN.
“Our original concept was to curate craft-based products from all across the world. Sourcing products personally and locally from the point of origin was crucial, but the Japan-Taiwan speciality had not come (to the UK) about yet,” says Chris, who met Sharon during their foundation degrees at Chelsea College of Art. Thereafter, they coincidentally continued their studies together at Central Saint Martins in Product Design.
The duo’s last projects at Central Saint Martins, involving theth Taiwanese aboriginal culturec and wooden tableware forfo restaurants led to their serendipitiouss collaboration. It quiteq possibly also partly defined whatw Native & Co is about today. It wasw during this time spent living withw the native tribes of Taiwan thatth Sharon and Chris managed to learn about the tribes’ craft specialties,s textile weaving, and woodcarving.w
Soon after the project, the keenk observers realised there was ana absence of Taiwanese craft anda design outside the country ofo origin. This inspired them to introducein exclusively sourced and well-curatedw homeware products forfo the UK. These are traditional craftsc from Taiwan and Japan which are also redesigned to suit contemporary lifestyles. Each product in Native & Co is carefully chosen based on aesthetics and the way it is made. Sharon and Chris’s aim is also to make each product available in two price ranges.
“We work with very small and often family-run businesses that specialise in one particular product in Taiwan. Be that leather ware, canvas ware, or bamboo woodworking, they are experts in their field. We spend most of our time going door-todoor and town-to-town to build relationships with the makers. Whereas in Japan, the humble makers are more familiar with foreign trading and are more approachable. Japan is much more organised for product sourcing and is simpler to work with,” says Chris.
“Native & Co has stuck as our name because we believe it is important for us to be a London-based shop first, and not a Japanese shop that happens to be in London. It is essential for us to be both approachable and relatable without being intimidatingly exotic and oriental,” explains Chris. Native & Co became the only shop in London/ UK to specialise in both Japanese and Taiwanese products.
TOP Oak Serving tray, Iga Ceramic tea cup, Bicycle bells, Whale knife (Sperm Whale), Whale knife (Rorqual Whale), and other products including Alumite kettle.
BELOW PICTURED FROM RIGHT Lacquered Maple bowl (M), Lacquered Maple bowl with plate, Harimi Dustpan Black Ceramic teapot with side handle (Round), and more from the Winter Collection 2015-2016.
RIGHT Handbound using Japanese Hemp Palm Shuru and sewn together with copper wire and linen thread, this sturdy and durable indoor Japanese Palm broom with handle gently changes shape over time.