Japanese designer Rina Ogura is a Wellington based designer, who is behind these beautiful Ogura MEMO notebooks. We have one to giveaway, so put your name & email down below if you want one.
The Ogura MEMO is a writing notebook bound with Japanese fusuma style paper. Typically used in Japanese architecture for sliding doors or wall panels, the treated ivory paper is ideal for notebooks as well. “The inspiration for the Ogura MEMO comes from the Japanese fusuma. I’m a big fan of stationery (and all things Japan), so I asked Rina a few questions:
You have quite a family history of making paper I understand?
My family have been crafting fusuma paper doors since the 1920’s. My great-grand father began his workshop in 1923 – the same year Tokyo was almost completely destroyed by the Kanto earthquake, though he ended up rebuilding the workshop.
Your Grandad used to make Japanese Fusuma paper doors?
Yes! My great-grandfather Hirokichi Ogura started the workshop, and now, my grandad continued the business and still makes Fusuma doors today.
Have you ever lived in a traditional Japanese house with such doors and are they still used ?
In Tokyo the house I lived in until I was about 12 was traditional style and had tatami mats on the floor (no shoes!) as well as fusuma and shoji doors. It is still a very popular style, even for new houses.
What is unique about the Japanese approach to paper that differs to say other cultures?
I think for Japanese people, paper isn't so easily replaced by plastic or other materials. From the wrapping of a present to a writing notebook, paper is simply more honest. Japan is also quite forward in regards to recycling and using sustainable materials such as paper.
In the digital age, many people wouldn't have grown up writing in diaries or journals as I did. Do you think people still want to write by hand?
I once had the pleasure of talking with an architect who helped design some of Tokyo’s iconic skyline during the 60's and 70's. I wrote a few quick notes as he spoke wise words about classic style, to which he complimented my writing. I think the written word will always have a place. Sometimes all the digital technology around us gets in the way.
Where do you get your inspirations from? Name three things that inspire you ?
My inspirations come from Japanese calligraphy, architecture (I admire Hawke's Bay Art Deco), and of course, Jazz.
Rina, how did you come to be in Wellington?
My kiwi partner is from Wellington. We met in Tokyo last year and worked together on a small photography business, he sold me on the idea of Wellington from day one for the new Ogura MEMO adventure. I love how compact the city is and all the different shops and cafes. It really is a special place with a great creative atmosphere, especially for what I am doing with Ogura MEMO.
Tokyo - the world’s largest city. Many will say up there with the worlds best cities of style & fashion & culture. You must miss it!
I love Tokyo culture & fashion, but it is my home - the style sometimes gets a bit too normal for me. Some of the best inspiration comes from new places and cultures I think.
What do you look for in good stationary?
Quality is number one. And it must be simple and useful – not kitsch.
Japan has some amazing fashion. Who is a favourite?
I admire the designer of COMME des GARCONS, Rei Kawakubo. She has a particular kind of strong design and passion. I think true fashion and style should be strong.
As I’ve mentioned, if you want to be in to win one – post your email below.