December 20, 2019

At home with Sato-san

At home with Sato-san

Our first trip to Japan together, just us three sisters, was one cool autumn season one and a half decades ago - 2004. 

It was magnificent. An experience that changed our lives forever. We immediately connected with its culture and crafts, language and landscape, simplicities and complexities. We felt right at home.

We lost and found ourselves in the small alleys and big streets of Tokyo. Stumbling across quirky hole-in-the wall cafes and stores, filled with handmade goods and curious sweets. Upon a random recommendation, we traveled at hyper speed on the Shinkansen down south to visit Naoshima before it became the well-known destination that it is now. Just us, riding bicycles around a beautiful island dedicated to art and nature. We stayed in a Mongolian pao right on the beach and, for a moment, we thought we might stay forever.


It was on this first trip to Japan that we discovered the beautiful objects of Pull+Push. Made of mortar cast in timber, the beauty of each object was in the quiet way that it collected time - the way that it aged. They were witness and reminder to appreciate each fleeting moment. It perfectly summed up our collective Japanese experience. We were completely taken.

Inspired by this momentous encounter, we soon began to import Pull+Push objects. We came to know the maker Nobuhiro Sato over many years... but it was only recently that we finally had the opportunity to meet him.


Earlier this year 2019, we had the absolute pleasure of visiting Sato-san and his wife Sanae-san at their studio in Kyoto. In a building that used to be a small local grocery store, they met us as we literally hopped off the train - it was right at the doorstep of the local train station. The regular beat and ding-ding-ding of the boom gates resonates through their workshop as they cast, colour and construct their small and wonderful concrete building objects.


We are so honoured to know these master craftspeople, inventors, creators. Being in that workshop with them - drinking tea and exploring their studio, learning about their process and materials - makes us feel so grateful that we can share their gift of capturing small, fleeting moments of time.

Every time we water the plant or light the incense in any one of Sato-san's buildings - watching the dance of smoke swirl out and around their chimneys - we are instantly transported back to that time one and a half decades ago, where we discovered our third home. First Malaysia, then Australia and, finally and completely, Japan.