Neither Noriko Daishima nor Nicole Teng comes from Shanghai, but both are here to stay. Daishima, who hails from Tokyo, Japan, arrived 10 years ago. Teng emigrated from Taiwan six years ago to work for Ogilvy & Mather.
“The city really encouraged me to do something bold,” says Teng, 36. “So I quit and started making ceramics. Ceramics are a part of Chinese culture.” Two years ago the pair’s homeware store, Showroom, was established in a charming ground-floor apartment in a 1930s’ building on Tai’an Lu. Everything in it, from furniture and ceramics to cards and T-shirts, is handmade by the women.
“Everything is made in a traditional way,” says Daishima, 46. “That’s what I wanted to do. I’m opposed to the mainstream ‘Main Street’. Here you are much closer to the material and the production. It’s very inspiring. But Shanghai is such a big commercial city, I really want to put something opposite out there.”
“I learn a lot from Noriko: don’t create too much, don’t make things too complicated,” says Teng. “This influences me a lot. So does Shanghai. Everything is possible here. For creative people, it offers a lot of inspiration and opportunity.”
“The possibility is very important because it connects to hope,” adds Daishima, who lives just around the corner from the French Concession store. “It’s full of stimulation. It’s very extreme: old and new, big and small… Shanghai is a big city but our world is small. We’ve made a simple but very comfortable space together.”
Daishima & Teng recommend:
- A trip to The Pottery Workshop to throw a pot or two.
- Ordering some tailor-made clothes at South Bund Fabric Market.
- Walking along the old lanes lined with houses on the streets of the French Concession.