Get him started on it and Andrew Tan will wax lyrical about Japanese design and how it is deeply intertwined with our daily lives. Completely sold on the craftsmanship, attention to details and timelessness of Japan-made homewares, he and his wife Mitsuko Murano started Atomi (the abbreviation of their names in Japanese), a furniture and home accessories store at Mandarin Gallery in 2009.
The concept was simple. “Like our marriage, we are a Singapore-Japanese couple, thus we wanted to develop a brand in Singapore specialising in Japanese design and products that are new to market and available exclusively through us,” says Tan, who is also a part-time lecturer at the Nanyang Business School and the first vice-president of its Alumni association. Starting with just five brands, Atomi today stocks some 25, including Maruni, a perennial favourite at the Milan Furniture Fair. Most were chosen for their meaningful stories and green credentials.
Later this year, Atomi will open its first overseas boutique in Auckland, New Zealand and will also launch an online boutique to cater to the New Zealand and Australian markets. Tan is also exploring the feasibility of expanding into Taiwan and Hong Kong come 2014.