Graf Studio: Design studio, shop and cafe in Osaka
Established in 1998, Graf has a firm hold on Osaka's design scene. The design office, studio, shop and cafe is situated next to Osaka's National Museum of Art and the Science Museum.
The creative team behind Graf is called Decorative Mode Number 3 and was set up by six people, comprising an architect, a product designer, a carpenter, a furniture craftsman, an artist and a chef. They have an overall view of design, applying their creative touch to all aspects of the living space, from products to furniture. Their philosophy is to make products and furniture that are alluring, enduring and functional, and evocative to the senses.
They currently have three furniture lines: Narrative, Trope and ad (analogue from dialogue). The designs are clean and minimal, with maximum functionality to go with its form. I love the Trope T-3, a minimal piece of furniture composed of a few pieces of well-crafted sticks, which can be used as a seat, table legs or anything you might fancy. Graf also apply their design skills to cutlery, diningware, stationery and even tea.
Graf often work with craftspeople from around Japan to bring their designs to reality, such as glass from Izumi city in Osaka and cultery from Tsubame in Niigate Prefecture. Some products can be customized according to the client's specifications.
The shop is a wonderland of Graf products and furniture, as well as curated products, Japanese and international. You can find special products from Japan here like 1616 / arita's sublime ceramics, fashioned into dining artforms by creative director Teruhiro Yanagihara and guest Dutch designers Scholten & Baijings. The shop and gallery also hosts interesting exhibitions from time to time. At the time of visit, they were hosting 'The Epiphytic - Bizarre Plants Showcase', selling pots of rare plants such as lycopodium (fern) and Ripusarisu (reeds cactus).
The cafe is a good spot to stop for a bite to eat. Try the somen from Shodoshima, eaten cold and dipped into a mentsuyu dipping sauce topped with scallion and ginger. One of their tasty cheddar cheese and pepper scones would be an ideal end to this design stop.