Niwaki Chiltern Street is open!
Niwaki Chiltern Street is open!
11:00 on the 21 September 2021, and the long wait is over. On this clear, bright, autumn morning, with the sun just warming the red bricks and stucco Neptune gargoyles of the handsome mansion block across the road, Niwaki Chiltern Street officially opened its doors to gardening aficionados, seekers of considered tools and accessories, denim freaks, and anyone else drawn in by the sheer elegance of its Jones Neville-crafted interior. We hope you will pay us a visit soon, if not today, to see the shop for yourself – we’re bursting with pride and can’t wait to show you around – but in the meantime, please let us whet your appetite with some information about how to find us and what to expect.
Jake puts the finishing touches to the shop display at 38 Chiltern Street while Frida Kim arranges flowers.
Chiltern Street, a short walk from Baker Street tube, has established itself as a solid bulwark against the chain-store homogenisation of many of London’s once-distinct high streets, and would be worth the trip even if Niwaki hadn’t taken up residence.
Besides the eponymous Chiltern Firehouse Hotel and Restaurant (a marvel of 19th Century municipal architecture, with it’s OTT neo-gothic fire lookout tower), you could browse the extraordinary selection of hard-to-find magazines in the renowned Shreeji newsagents (no.6), grab a coffee and a cake from the Monocle Cafe (no.18), plan your winter wardrobe at one of many independent, boutique clothing stores (Trunk (no.8) and John Simons (no.46) are personal favourites), treat yourself to a new bassoon at Howarth of London (no.31) or simply pick up some home essentials at the well-stocked ironmongers, Webster (no.53). Nose around the corner and you’ll find Labour and Wait on Dorset Street, Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street, fine photography at the Atlas Gallery … if you can’t find it in Marylebone, you probably don’t need it.
But let’s face it, as of 11am this morning, the main attraction is no.38.
Battling against the inclement winds of COVID restrictions, Niwaki has forged ahead to breath new life into the building, ably assisted by Simon and Jack at Jones Neville. We’ve been working with Jones Neville for many years, in the course of which they have helped us to create aesthetically appropriate exhibition stands, display units and office furniture that should be both evocative and familiar to anyone who has spent time in Japan. In fitting out the shop with quarter-sawn Douglas fir and earthy-hued felt, Jones Neville continue to help us communicate the provenance and quiet sophistication of our products. Not just that, but it looks, feels and, if you get close enough, smells really, really nice.
Of course, the best bit is that finally our clever, discerning customers (no need to blush – it’s true) will be able to see and feel that which hitherto they have only read about online (and in the steady stream of “Best Buy” gardening magazine features). We make a lot of noise about the provenance and quality of our tools, and when you hold them in your own hands you’ll see what we’ve been talking about. The self-evident quality of Japanese craftsmanship combined with simple, functional, elegant design are the features that set our products apart from the crowd, and at Chiltern Street, we can show you the finer points of their construction, use and maintenance.
Our founder, Jake, has been guiding the team towards the grand opening, but on a day-to-day basis Darren and Lucie are the new faces of Niwaki in London. See if you can guess who is who:
The shop will be open Tuesday to Saturday, from 11:00 to 19:00, so please do drop in for a chat with the team, try a pair of Tabi work boots, agonise over which secateurs you most desire, marvel at the sharpness of our knives, fiddle with a Kenzan, fondle the double-lined pockets of the Niwaki Apron, and generally luxuriate in the reflected glow of some really great stuff from Japan.
If you can’t make it to London to rub shoulders with the Chilterati, all our products are just a few clicks away on this very website. Later this year we’ll be re-opening our Dorset showroom, here at Niwaki HQ, Semley, which, in the meantime, continues to offer click-and-collect from our temporary pop-up shop on the flatbed of our yellow Toyota truck. And of course, if London’s not convenient, there’s always Niwaki Kagurazaka, in Tokyo …