Experience Japan in all its five elements, embodied in a lovingly curated selection of furniture and lifestyle products in atomi. Nestled in a quiet corner of Mandarin Gallery, the shop displays an eclectic collection of Japan’s best. “We don’t want to be the biggest, but the most original,” enthuses its co-owner Andrew Tan, glowing from silent pride. It is most definitely well deserved, with his store having survived more than a decade in Singapore’s busiest shopping district. While major departmental stores are struggling to stay afloat, atomi goes from strength to strength, even extending to building a sister shop just adjacent to it. The reason for weathering storm after storm is clear. The store is the first of its kind in Singapore — a Japanese lifestyle store that consistently delivers a selection of excellent products from clothing to furniture, all handmade in Japan.
Aomori Hiba Wood Log
Handpicked by co-founders Andrew Tan and Mitsuko Murano, every item has a story to tell. Some have even never left Japan until they arrived in this unassuming treasure trove of delights, like the rare Aomori Hiba Wood log. Relax as its soothing scent gently transports you to its hometown Aomori while it quietly works its antibacterial, insect repelling wonders. According to Andrew, one of its biggest fans was a surgeon who bought not one but a few for his clinic, creating a calming aura for his patients. Place it next to your bed and let its subtle fragrance teleport you to the lush Aomori forests every night.
Hiroshima Arm Chair
Its most popular item is the Hiroshima Arm Chair, a wooden chair so comfortable it doesn’t even need upholstery. This signature armchair from Maruni has perfect seamless joints that will fit in nicely in any living or dining room. Although it carries a relatively hefty price tag of SGD1700, all of atomi’s handcrafted pieces are designed to last for generations. As home-based working becomes more common and we spend more hours seated indoors, perhaps it is a good opportunity to treat yourself to a lasting ergonomic work companion. It has already found its most ardent supporters in restaurants like Jinjo, a modern sumiyaki restaurant by the Les Amis Group, the Apple office, and many others.
A consultant for Singaporean brands diving into the Japanese market, Andrew also teaches in Nanyang Technological University besides managing atomi with his wife and partner Mitsuko. The name atomi is formed by "a" for "Andrew" and "mi" for "Mitsuko" together with "to", which means "and" in Japanese, symbolising their lifelong alliance to bring Japan to Singapore, whether through a chair, a Hiba log or a bamboo sake cup. Bringing in only items they love and those that make sense for the region, shopping at atomi is a highly personalised and exclusive experience. Despite his hectic schedule, Andrew is still determined to make the deliveries himself as much as possible for that personal touch. Don’t be surprised to find him at your door with your order!
(Product photos from: atomi)