DUMBO x Japan

New York City and Tokyo are so-called “sister cities” and as you walk the cobbled streets of DUMBO, an interesting pattern emerges: Usagi here, Shibui there, Front General Store on the corner. From coffee and antiques, to design and art, DUMBO is infused with a Japanese sensibility. We spoke with a few retailers and artists to get the scoop on how their work each has a unique tie to Japan.

Nowhere is the Japan x DUMBO connection more pronounced than at Usagi, an art gallery-café-library experience at 163 Plymouth St. Usagi is the brainchild of Tsukasa Sakamaki, who opened Usagi in 2015. Sakamaki tapped Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto to design the space. The sliding screens throughout the gallery act as moveable walls, giving the space a modern feel. Although they look ultra-modern, they are actually designed off a traditional Japanese house, also known as a minka; the feature that movable panels are based on is called “fusuma.” These panels make a space flexible for a variety of set-ups.