In Tokyo, A Florist Uses His Beloved Flowers as Inspiration for Jewelry
Japanese architects SANAA and Copenhagen's Studio OEO are behind the ethereal design at Natur & Nicolai Bergmann.
By Y-Jean Mun-Delsalle
August 22, 2017
Inside Natur & Nicolai Bergmann.
Though he hails from Denmark, Nicolai Bergmann might be the busiest man in Tokyo. It’s opening day at his first-ever jewelry boutique and I’m standing on a tiny back street in the Minami-Aoyama area of the city, near fashionable Omotesando. Across the street is his flagship flower store—he has 11 outposts throughout Japan and one in South Korea, with further expansion plans in the pipeline—which also houses a café and floristry school. Next door is Summerbird, his organic chocolate shop that creates custom blends for Louis Vuitton. Further down the street is his Nomu Café and a professional kitchen he uses to cater parties for brands like Christian Louboutin, Dom Pérignon, and Nobu. He also runs an interior design business; holds flower exhibitions around the country; regularly publishes books; and previously starred in his own TV series, teaching flower arrangement to Japanese celebrities.
With the debut of Natur & Nicolai Bergmann, he can add jewelry designer to his meandering CV. The simple, ultrafeminine pieces draw inspiration from the organic shapes found in nature, with silver charm bracelets evoking budding magnolia blossoms, platinum engagement rings influenced by hydrangea, and 18-karat gold, pearl, and diamond designs that suggest the underside of a flower.
The boutique's mesh exterior (left); sunlight filters through the second-floor showroom (top, right); jewelry on display (bottom, right).
Set within a glass edifice covered in white steel mesh by Pritzker Prize–winning Japanese architects SANAA, the interiors were conceived, by serial collaborator Studio OEO, based in Copenhagen, to let the outdoors in. Light streams in from the windows on all sides allowing the diamonds and pearls on display to sparkle. “Have you ever seen a jewelry shop with this much light?” Bergmann says. “It has different moods depending on the weather. Yesterday was sunny and in the afternoon—there were shadows and reflections everywhere.”
An exercise in understatement, the pared-down space echoes the jewelry’s Scandinavian aesthetic. A climb up a white spiraling staircase opens up to room with pale rose Gubi Coco chairs, designed by OEO, and oversized Flos Superloon lamps by Jasper Morrison. Japanese oak counters and pedestals are paired with Moon tables by Space Copenhagen. Custom OEO-designed jewelry cabinets, fabricated by Japanese craftsmen, with 3D-printed porcelain displays set against washi paper and gold-thread fabrics by Kyoto-based textiles firm Hosoo, known for applying traditional Nishijin weaving techniques to contemporary designs, add an Eastern influence. “The intention was to have more of a Nordic feel rather than Japanese,” says Thomas Lykke, founder of OEO. “Then again, Japanese design is also sometimes very Scandinavian, and vice versa.”
Like all of Bergmann’s endeavors, it’s a study in cross-cultural harmony.