Years ago when I was working for Grazia I photographed Fabrice who was just starting Le Labo. He had two Truck catalogues at his house that he was using as a point of inspiration and reference. I had a good look & have been on their website uncountable times.
Again, this was a shop in the middle of nowhere, in a city not on our itinerary. We caught the train (or was it five?) from Kyoto to Truck in the outskirts of Osaka. We made an appointment to meet with Tok, the owner (who just claims to be a humble furniture maker. Haha!). There are four purpose made buildings that house the workshop, his studio, the furniture (& other cool stuff) shop, his wife & sister’s Shirakumasha atelier, their home which he shares with his wife & 6-year old daughter and across the lane, a café & storage. Strangely enough, he drew much of his inspiration from Noosa, Australia. When he was creating his empire, his design starting point was to have a space surrounded by trees. Big trees. He rescued 31 trees from a local demolition site and added many more while maintaining an industrial warehouse feel. We went on a tour through the entire space including his garage which houses not only his porscha complete with wooden exterior luggage rack and leather straps and a woody surfboard, but also his woodwork tools for creating new products if he so desires. Throughout all his spaces from the wood cutting studio to the staining workshop, café and shop, the quote ‘Today is a good day’ is posted on simple, photocopied sheets of paper sticky-taped to the wall.
His wife’s atelier Shirakumasha, meaning polar bear in Japanese, was my idea of heaven. I could have easily moved my office into this space. A bit of a bowerbird herself (although it was a lot neater than my office), the two level space was choca-bloc full of all the things I love: wire baskets, workman’s lights, pegs, clipboards, leather cut-offs, beautiful tools and much more. Today was a good day. Today was a VERY good day.