It’s a fine line between particular and pretentious.
To be particular is admirable. It is to be studied, meticulous, and exacting, but in a way that entices people, rather than repels them. Pretension on the other hand is hardly worth dwelling upon. We all just know it when we see it, and then do our best to avoid it at all costs. This balance can be tricky though. If you appear finicky, it can seem ostentatious, rather than interesting.
Nalata Nalata epitomizes the right level of balance. The tranquil home goods shop, (located on Extra Place just off the Bowery by way of Canada), is certainly fastidious, but it is also welcoming, and in many ways even enlightening. Walk around the small shop and you could easily mistake your Noho surroundings for Kyoto, where stores so often feel like more like museums than retail spaces.
At a time when so many stores appear as if they’ve been composed through paint by numbers (succulents go here, raw clay pots are over there, gold accents go there, re-purposed wood fixtures down here) Nalata Nalata feels like the real deal. There’s a level of care which is expressed in the handwritten info card, the careful group of the products, and the exacting array of aspirational, yet minimal, home goods. If you have any doubt about the intentions of founders Stevenson Aung and AngÃ©lique Chmielewski, simply read a card. Yes, those perfectly symmetrical steel scissors certainly are beautiful, but the story behind them might just be even better. Like all stores Nalata Nalata is trying to sell you something, but it’s also trying to make sure that you know what that something is. Think of it as a placard next to a piece of art – you might not always read it, but it’s nice to know that it’s there.
And it’s not just these cards which pull you in. You want to feel every ceramic pot. You want to grab every wooden bowl. You want to check how sharp that knife is (spoiler alert: very.) You want to study the Bonsai tree in the window. You want to grasp that level of perfection. And after analyzing every little piece of the puzzle, you might even choose to take one home. We can guarantee though, it’ll never look quite as good as it did sitting on the shelf in Nalata Nalata.