IDÉE - New Direction #5 - Early Spring 2024

Newstalgia ~ Growing from the Roots


  • Newstalgia ~ Growing from the Roots




    Items that transcend eras possess a certain strength and beauty. At the same time, there are the possibilities of today’s technology and creativity.

    Sophistication and nostalgia. The resonance born from juxtaposing these elements yields a new way of thinking, refining our current way of life.

    The power of nature, folk tools and crafts shaped by the hands of unknown makers, culture and character inherited from the past, contemporary items and materials derived from new talents and techniques.

    There is joy to be found in creating a way of life based on future values.


IDÉE - New Direction #5 - Early Spring 2024

Newstalgia ~ Growing from the Roots

  • Styling - Jeremy Smart (Design Anthology)
  • Photo - Benjamin Hosking
  • Direction - IDÉE
Jeremy Smart / ジェレミー・スマート


Based in Tokyo, Jeremy Smart is a creative director, brand strategist and editorial consultant, delivering projects for a global roster of clients such as Aesop, Louis Vuitton and Rosewood Hotels, through his role as creative director of Design Anthology and its parent company Fifth Black.

Benjamin Hosking / ベンジャミン・ホスキング


Ben Hosking is an Australian photographer specialising in architecture, design & urbanism. His interest lies in its ability to transform the human condition & alter lives for the better. Taking a slower, more long form approach to image making, he has worked through the Asia pacific region for 10 years documenting a wide range of projects that vary from archaeological sites to contemporary architecture. More recently he has turned his attention to moving image & publishing/print media projects.

Special Interview

今回のスタイリングは、アジア発のインテリアデザインマガジン "design anthology" のクリエイティブディレクター、ジェレミー・スマート氏によるもの。東京に住んで約1年半となる彼に、イデーディレクターの大島が話を聞いた。

For this feature, Jeremy Smart, creative director of Asia-based interior design magazine Design Anthology, oversaw the styling of the visuals. Smart has been living in Tokyo for around eighteen months and sat down for a discussion with IDÉE director Tadatomo Oshima.


オーストラリアは自然が多くとても美しいところですが、自分がもっと大きな都市で、より世界に繋がっていて、興味深い場所に引っ越したいと思い、香港への移住を決めました。2017年にパートナーと移住し、その数カ月後に"design anthology"のアートディレクターを務めることになりました。

First of all, I’d like you to introduce yourself. Where are you from and what brought you to Japan?

I’m originally from Australia and lived there until my mid-twenties. First I was studying at university, but dropped out when I started working as a graphic designer at a magazine in Melbourne.
Australia is an incredibly beautiful place with lots of nature, but I wanted to move to a big city that was closer to my interests and the rest of the world, so I decided on Hong Kong. I moved there with my partner in 2017. A few months after I arrived, I was asked to be the art director of Design Anthology.



現在、香港を拠点に2014年から発行されているインテリアデザインマガジン"design anthology"のクリエイティブディレクターをされていますが、この仕事に携わるきっかけは何だったのでしょう?




What interested you about Hong Kong?

Australia is a large country in terms of area, but the community and environment I was a part of felt too small. I was really interested in Asia, which has a lot more energy, so I began by moving to Hong Kong. After the move, I had many opportunities to visit East and South-East Asia.

You’re currently the creative director of Design Anthology, a Hong Kong-based interior design magazine founded in 2014. What led you to this position?

Living in Asia, there is an abundance of magazines and media focused on Western culture, but at the same time, I realised there are relatively few English language titles covering the design and culture found within daily life in Asia. I was travelling back and forth between Australia and Asia and became frustrated that, despite there being so many interesting things to share, there was such a scarcity of information in English. That’s why I decided to take this job.

I understand. English-language content can certainly be hard to find. In fact, the reason I launched the bilingual web magazine Lifecycling, which features the homes and lifestyles of various people, in 2011 was my desire to share life in Japan with an international audience. The media has continued to this day. In 2015, a book was published and distributed in Europe and a total of 29 countries.

I see, that’s wonderful!





It seems that we were thinking along the same lines.
Next, you moved to Tokyo.

After living in Hong Kong for five years, my partner and I began thinking about our next move. I work on a lot of global projects and when I considered the best place to be based, I felt that Tokyo would be a good choice. Tokyo would allow us to maintain the quality of life we desired and its position as a global hub would allow me to easily disseminate information. I moved to Tokyo in April 2022.

I assume you had already been to Japan for work or a holiday, but did you sense anything different once you started living here?

Before coming to Japan, I thought that not being able to speak Japanese would be a problem, but it didn’t end up being as hard as I expected. Tokyo is such a functional city; for example, train delays are far less common than in other countries, and for me personally, the way things follow a schedule makes it an easy place to live. I can’t speak Japanese very well, but I can communicate in other ways, so I don’t really feel as though there is a language barrier. The longer I live in Tokyo, the more I am able to adapt to the society’s systems and the city, so it feels quite different to when I travelled here.







What are your impressions of Japanese aesthetics and lifestyles?

It’s so appealing to see how everything is so small.

Of course, Australia is such a large country! [laughs]

That’s right [laughs]. I’m not sure whether it’s due to Australia’s large land mass, but houses, cars and food are all gradually getting bigger, whereas in Japan everything seems to be much more human scale. In Japan, there is a large number of people in a small area, meaning that they must live in a high density environment, so perhaps that’s why everything is so small. I personally find it very comfortable. Cities and houses seem to be just the right size. I particularly like Japanese designs where everything is combined in a compact way. The way this creates points of contact between people is another appealing point.
However, I just remembered something… while I like the small size of Japanese light vehicles, it seems there are a lot more large vehicles on the road these days, which is a bit of a shame [laughs].

I know what you mean [laughs]. However, you’re the first person I’ve met who’s said that they like Japan’s sense of size. People often highlight Japan’s traditions, nature, wabi-sabi and so on, but your perspective is quite new. When it comes to your lifestyle, what do you place importance on?

Always maintaining balance. When designing my way of life, Tokyo was the place where I could find the perfect balance.





Oshima: When you say balance, are you referring to work-life balance?

That’s right. Most of my work is international, meaning that I’m always looking outwards. I work in a range of places, but my home in Tokyo provides a really nice work environment. There’s a shrine nearby with a forest within the grounds, and within five minutes’ walk I can be at Yoyogi Park for a run. Walking a little further I can be in Shibuya, which is filled with information. While Shibuya makes me switch on, the walk home allows me to quickly switch off. In a small area where you can easily find anything at any time, I place importance on switching between “on” and “off” modes in order to maintain a good balance.

The downtown areas and nature are in close proximity, but as you mentioned, the compact size of Tokyo and Japan plays a role in allowing you to switch between “on” and “off” to find a good balance.

Many people who move to Japan settle in Tokyo. The reasons for this vary, influenced not only by design, art and culture, but also anime, manga and films. The culture transmitted from Japan, including Tokyo, is appreciated around the world and attracts people to Tokyo, bringing with them American and European culture. I feel that this culture is then updated and improved in Japan. Although Tokyo and Japan are relatively small in size, culture is disseminated in a really diverse and multi-faceted way, and witnessing this up-close is one of the things I love about living in Tokyo.







I understand. On this occasion, we invited you to oversee the styling of this feature. Having lived in Japan for around eighteen months, were you already familiar with the IDÉE brand?

Smart: Of course. The first time I saw the brand was at a MUJI shop in Hong Kong. However, I hadn’t been to one of your shops in Japan, so upon receiving your offer I spoke to one of my contacts about IDÉE. The more I learned, the more I sensed that IDÉE is a pioneer in the world of Japanese interior design. As a wonderful brand spreading Japanese products in not only Japan but around the world, I don’t think there are many others like it.

I’m glad to hear that. The reason we approached you was that we want to move beyond Japan to connect with more people around the world, so even if only some of our message gets through, I want to continue working to actively share IDÉE with an international audience. I heard that this was your first styling commission. How did you approach it?

It was my first time, so I knew it would be a serious challenge, but I was really excited to get started. I don’t usually physically create things by hand and so the work was more creative and exciting than anything I’ve done before. Of course, there were goals to be met, but the work was a lot of fun.

The theme of the shoot was "Newstalgia" and so when you heard the meaning behind this expression, what were your impressions? And how did you aim to express the theme through your styling?

When I heard the expression "Newstalgia" I thought it was an interesting idea. It contains the word "nostalgia", which is about thinking about past events, but I don’t believe those events have to have necessarily taken place. Everyone has different experiences, so the things that make them feel nostalgic can vary. I came up with the idea that by presenting certain things, they could be the trigger for different kinds of nostalgia and open the doors to one’s own memories. I hope that by looking at the visuals, people will be able to access their memories.




The theme of "Newstalgia" brings together nostalgia and sophistication, as I wanted to express the mood produced by combining the nostalgic and the new, which are seemingly contradictory elements. Your styling made use of old, vintage-like pieces, contemporary art, works by artists and products, all of which successfully coexist in a fresh manner.

Whether it be something for the home, furniture or clothing, people generally purchase new things. However, IDÉE not only has new items but vintage pieces too. I feel there’s a sense of treating things with care, as well as having an affection and respect for them. Styling the vintage items was a really enjoyable part of this shoot.

I’m so glad to hear that. Thank you very much!

  • Interview: Tadatomo Oshima (IDÉE)
  • Photo (Interview): Natsu Niikawa (IDÉE)