Born out of a strong friendship and shared love of good design, Nimi Projects was established in 2018 by Japan fashion expert Nicole Bargwanna and Tokyo-based lifestyle and design editor Mio Yamada.
Nicole and Mio — both long-time residents of Tokyo — first met when a burgeoning re-appreciation of traditional craftsmanship had just begun to prompt sophisticated innovations in Japanese contemporary design. As frequent travelers who shared a passion for finding and gifting unique items from Japan, they found that their discoveries were often met with wonder and joy.
Casual coffee conversations about artisans they both admired led to animated discussions about the limited international availability of such Japanese craftsmanship, and finally the idea of NiMi Projects.
NiMi Projects is the realisation of Nicole and Mio’s common dream: To introduce and promote a wider appreciation of Japan’s exceptional contemporary design and artisanship in a fun and accessible way.
NiMi Projects is not just our story, it’s the story of all the artisans and designers behind our brands.
We personally choose all the items, looking for not just striking aesthetics, but also functional innovations, meticulous attention to detail and the ardent dedication of their creators.
Many of the pieces showcase traditional Japanese craftsmanship, some are playful, others unusually clever. All are created by fantastic designers and makers.
The Black Barn
It was love at first sight when we found The Black Barn in Kent, U.K., the NiMi Projects shop and showroom. A heritage building with more than 400 years of history, open woodwork and unadulterated simplicity, it’s the perfect setting to showcase contemporary Japanese design that so often references traditional craftsmanship.
About The Founders
The founder and CEO of fashion PR and consulting company CPR Tokyo, Nicole Bargwanna lived in Japan for over 20 years, working with some of the country’s leading retailers and media figures, and is often featured in major fashion publications. Now overseeing CPR Tokyo from the U.K., with regular trips to Japan, Nicole is still one of the top go-to Japan fashion industry experts.
Based in Tokyo, Mio Yamada is the lifestyle and design commissioning editor of a national newspaper. Writing regularly about Japanese design and craft, she is also the author of “Lucky Cat,” a book about the history of Japanese manekineko cat talismans.