In a cosmopolitan Amsterdam where independent boutiques still rule the high streets, the Otherist was launched seven and a half years ago to reflect the desire of co-owners to create a place to go for things that are unusual or “other” than the norm. The Otherist is a unique shop in a unique city. It is not unusual that couples shopping at the Otherist call to one another from across the store to show their partner what they have discovered.
“It’s a place where people can view and purchase hard-to-find and one-of-a-kind items to add and enrich their own cabinet of curiosities” says Joshua, the co-owner of the Otherist. “The one thing that ties all of our customers together is an appreciation for items that are unusual and not mass-produced, a knowledge that hand-made goods and the small businesses or independent artists that produce them are to be treasured.”
INTERVIEW: Joshua Walters, Owner, The Otherist (Amsterdam)
01 Your website and store carry an interesting mix of objects, what do you look for when sourcing the unusual, the unique and the interesting?
A major source of inspiration are the old Wunderkammers and Curiosity Cabinets of Renaissance Europe – these collections were the precursors to modern day museums. We take our cues from this, and connect our collection through aesthetics. As a consequence, we are open to many kinds of items. One of our prerequisites is that the merchandise comes from either a smaller producer or an independent artist. Of course if the items are hand made, all the better. Because of our own personal tastes and our love of the old Wunderkammers, The Otherist is often skewed towards items and art that are influenced and inspired by the natural world around us.
02 What are your five favourite tableware items for autumn?
- Radish Dish by Élise Lefebvre - We love useful decor, and this wonderful dish is an enticing receptacle for nuts or other mouthfuls – it’s also just as nice when empty!
- Stoneware cup by Karin Eriksson - A special vessel for anyone’s morning coffee ritual! These hand-thrown cups are beautifully formed and are a perfect shape to warm one’s hands around.
- Teaspoons by Blue Leaves - We love how the designers of Blue Leaves have taken their design cues from nature and created a series of spoons that are just as attractive laying on the table as they are leaning against the side of your cup.
- Tealight Holder by Karin Eriksson - The perfect way to enjoy a candlelit dinner, these tealights are made from a surprisingly strong yet thin bone china, creating a soft light and a warmly intimate atmosphere.
- Flora & Fauna Dish by Lowri Davies - Lowri’s hand drawn designs are almost too special to cover up, but even if you choose not to, this special piece is a wonderful centerpiece for a table.
03 Do you entertain at home? If so, what is your entertaining style and what can be found on your table?
It’s rare that we host at home, but when we do it’s a very casual affair. Entertaining generally involves clearing the table of our collection of objects which includes animal skulls skillfully reproduced in porcelain, our smattering of bowls and tea light holders from our favorite artists at the shop, and a pair of pewter meadowlark feet that are the first thing every visitor touches. Once space is made, we will lay on something hearty and fun to eat – our favorite being a Mexican food extravaganza, replete with homemade salsa fresca, guacamole, black beans, and slow-cooked achiote pork – all served with homemade corn tortillas.
04 What is next for Otherist?
Because of the nature of the items in our shop, and the blend of new items and vintage items, our inventory is evolving and ever changing. Our goal is to continue onward, continually sourcing new artists and unique items, and giving old treasures a new home and an updated framework where they can be appreciated anew.