36 Sublo is a stationery shop located in Kichijōji, Tokyo. The stationery picked by the shop owner Yuki Murakami there are all retro yet innovative at the same time. Murakami’s unique vision somehow connected her with the product designer Asuko Ueki back in December 2006, when the two founded the stationery brand Mizushima. “Mizu” comes from the Japanese word “mizutama” that means polka dots, whereas “shima” means stripes. The brand name itself seems to have explained a lot about the founders’ preference.
Mizushima features quite a great variety of products, among them the paper goods are particularly interesting. While focussing on the pattern design, Ueki considers the texture and material with equal attention. The adorable patterns she designed can look recognizably different when being printed on different material, like the extra thick envelope, the translucent wrapping paper, or the washi (Japanese paper) writing paper and envelopes set made from straw and heavily coated with paint.
Interestingly, a lot of the traditional Japanese elements can be found in this stationery brand, which was founded only slightly more than 10 years ago. A good example is Noshi, an origami fold that is attached to gifts to express respect and good wishes. While most of the brands would simply print the pattern on their paper, Mizushima persists on making the detachable traditional noshi.
The brand concept of Mizushima is to make things that seem familiar yet entirely new. Although the products appear as if they have been existing for long, a second thought would reveal the fact that they were never made before. Looking at their envelopes, paper bags and noshi made using innovative materials, the brand concept has been successfully proven.