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01 - Peninsula Tokyo

Retail therapy stop-off

Shopping trips to Marunouchi usually leave us laden with bags and gasping for refreshment. We now have a new venue to rest our weary heads – or at least imbibe a reviving cocktail. Glowing like a lantern, the new Peninsula Tokyo – 24-storeys high and the first free-standing hotel to open in Tokyo in a decade – is all about location.

Perfectly wedged between Ginza, Marunouchi and the grounds of the Imperial Palace, it has knock-out views, plus 300 rooms, nearly 50 suites, an ESPA and restaurants, among them the giddily scenic Rooftop Restaurant & Bar.

Even if you’re not in residence, the famous Peninsula Lobby tea should provide fuel for further shopping forays to the likes of Sovereign House and Darjeeling Days. The Narita Express airport train leaves from nearby Tokyo station, but the hotel is ready for a more luxurious mode of transport with a helipad which, permission pending, will be used to whisk guests to and from Narita in record time.

02 - Nina Tolstrup


Nina Tolstrup is a Danish product designer based in London, who set up Studiomama after leaving Les Ateliers school of industrial design in Paris and receiving a BA in marketing from Copenhagen’s School of Business. She has been designing products for companies such as French interiors firm Lexon and Habitat. This “Pilot” hanger was created for Danish furniture makers Trip Trap. Handmade from teak or oak, the hangers are available directly from Trip Trap in Copenhagen or online at,, or

03 - OverBoard

Dry bag

Having just taken delivery of your 33-foot Aquariva you’ll be looking to accessorise. While a Connolly leather grip will match the maple inlay, sailors in the know choose OverBoard professional products01 which keep everything from laptops to luggage shielded from sun, sand and surf. At Monocle we love the brightly coloured dry tube bags. Constructed from heavy duty 600D PVC tarpaulin, the bags use a unique Fold Seal System and float safely if dropped in water.

04 - Bird Electron


The great thing about these monochrome saikoro (dice) speakers is that they do not require batteries. Tokyo’s Bird Electron was established in 1983 by engineer Yasunori Saito. His company manufactures industrial electrical parts but an interest in product design has led Saito to homewares. “It’s more of a hobby than a business,” he says. It’s one we’ll be keeping an eye on.

05 - Airdiem


Eric Gormand, founder of Airdiem, smokes cigars but on a business trip to the Middle East he discovered the narghile02. Much the same as a traditional hookah, Gormand fell for its social connotations: “I was so enamoured by this intriguing object and its ‘art of living’ message, that I decided to make it the focus for Airdiem.” He employed Belgian designer Nedda El-Asmar, who delighted in the opportunity to update one the oldest means of smoking tobacco, “It wasn’t an easy job for Nedda, but she leapt at the chance to update an ancient object,” says Gormand. Airdiem’s modern Narghile is made of pewter and has a ceramic burner and a pipe made of aeronautical polyamide.

06 - Sketchpet

Note books

German graphic designers, architects and design writers have got themselves a Moleskine replacement. These pocket-sized notebooks were developed by Berlin design duo Gisela Magin and Thies Wulf of Maginwulf Studios03. Each fanning notebook is available in black or grey, and the rubber straps come in black, white, magenta and green.

07 - Uno

Hair wax

Our favourite hair fixers, Uno, have done it again. Shiseido’s head technicians will soon launch FIBER NEO. We love the colours, which according to the company is meant to embody the concept of “Pop x Stylish”, and there are eight products in the two-tone neon range (they don’t colour your hair by the way). Each has its own Japanese moniker such as “Dressy Trick”. For ultimate staying power, grab a pot of “Hold King”.

08 - Spingle Move


Spingle have been making simple leather men’s shoes for 75 years and two years ago they decided it was time to catch up with pacemakers Nike and Adidas by launching a line of high-quality, high-priced trainers. Manufactured from Japanese leathers, including horse and cow, the sneakers are ventilated and were developed to resist static electricity.

09 - Vesta Luce


This nifty rechargeable lamp was designed to be used in dimly lit Japanese restaurants. Lighting specialist Ando Shoten spent hours analysing the glow and flicker of candles in order to recreate the effect in this smart, 140mm-tall polished pewter cylinder. If the dart of the wick becomes too clichéd for words, then a quick flick of the lamp’s base switch steadies the LEDs to a consistent glow. Fully charged, the Vesta Luce04 will shine for 10 hours straight and a few dotted around the living room will set the perfect ambiance for a fumble on the futon.







  • The Entrepreneurs