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Between London and Tokyo: Meet Studio Shimo

New for the spring-summer season, Studio Shimo is a London-based print studio with Japanese roots. Drawing inspiration from Tokyo's hip cultural quarter Shimokitazawa, graphic designer Juliette van Rhyn has created an exclusive print collection for The Conran Shop that radiates warmth and nostalgia. We sit down with the creative to hear all about her practice and what’s coming next.

1. Welcome to The Conran Shop, Juliette! Please tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

Thank you, The Conran Shop! I’m a London-based textiles and graphic designer, and founder of Studio Shimo.

I started Studio Shimo in the midst of lockdown in 2020, initially as a personal project: an outlet to create a fresh body of work, and to keep myself busy during a strange and challenging year. It has since grown and developed, culminating in this collection for The Conran Shop. As a massive fan of the store and the designers it champions, it was a huge thrill to get the call about the collaboration!

2. Your prints are inspired by your travels to Tokyo; why are you so drawn to this subject and how does Japanese culture inform your aesthetic?

At the end of 2019 I went to Amsterdam and Japan for a creative research trip, and what I saw there continues to inform my work today. In Amsterdam, it was the Wim Crouwel retrospective at The Stedelijk Museum, and in Japan, it was the details I saw whilst walking around Tokyo; the architecture, building materials, colours, and the graphic design and illustrations in food packaging and shop signage. 

I had an especially memorable day in a neighbourhood called Shimokitazawa. It’s an artistic hub and has been a centre for Japanese subculture since the 1970s. The atmosphere has a unique creative energy, and walking around I started to have ideas about making my own work. I chose the name Studio Shimo to remind me of how inspired I felt that day!

Although the bold, balanced simplicity of Japanese design is a big influence, I’m equally inspired by the work of Ettore Sottsass and Le Corbusier, the Bauhaus movement, and interior designers such as Studio Giancarlo Valle and Charlotte Perriand.

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3. What feeling or atmosphere do you hope for your prints to convey in the homes of your patrons?

I’m driven by a love of colour, and I am always striving for a sense of tactility and quiet playfulness in my designs. I aim to make work that evokes a sense of balance and calm, both in the composition and use of colour combinations.

4. The Conran Shop is pleased to introduce a new collection of artworks by Studio Shimo - might you have a particular favourite?

My favourite from the collection is the exclusive Neighbourhood Print. It’s a direct homage to that day I spent in Shimokitazawa and feels emblematic of the kind of work I want to keep making. The light, bright blue is one of my favourite colours.

5. What is your favourite design at The Conran Shop?

That’s tough, I could name fifty! If pushed, I’d say the exclusive 548 Table Lamp in yellow by Gino Sarfatti. It has such a playful elegance, and the colour is perfect.

6. Finally, what does the future hold for you and Studio Shimo?

I’d like to keep growing Studio Shimo slowly and organically, without too many preconceived ideas. Broadly speaking though, this year I want to explore using collage and painting to produce one-off pieces in addition to prints. I also think almost daily about ceramic pieces inspired by the shapes in some of the designs, so maybe watch this space

Shop Juliette's favourites below and peruse the rest of her collection online. Plus, be sure to follow her on Instagram.