Step into Tortoise General Store on Abbot Kinney and you’ll find everything for living your best wabi-sabi life, from wooden catch-all trays and sleek tea sets to luxe writing utensils and mingei goods. (It all arrived in Venice back in 2003, long before MUJI invaded LA.) But make your way out the back of the shop and you’ll discover Tortoise, an extension of TGS dedicated to art and handmade goods by Japanese artists that opened in 2008.
Now a decade later, co-founders (and wife-and-husband duo) Keiko and Taku Shinomoto have relocated that space to a 2,000-square-foot outpost in Mar Vista. As the designer and creative director of Hasami Porcelain, Taku tells us he sought a bigger storefront for showcasing his sleek, modular ceramics and had been eyeing Tortoise 2.0’s future space.
“I admired the brick building on the corner of Venice and Wade for a very long time. I would drive by it often because we live close by,” Taku tells us. “When you enter the space, it divides into a room on the left and to the right. My vision was to have it resemble the two sides of the human brain: The right side is a working area with my personal collection of art and vintage on display, the source of design inspiration. The left space is a shop that carries my own designs and others, so people can follow the process of design from inspiration to creation by going into one room then into the other.”
With all of that (pardon the pun) in mind, The boutique will stock Hasami’s tabletop goods alongside art, objects, and sculptures by Japanese talents like Masanobu Ando, Mitsuru Koga, Keiichi Sumi, Shigeki Fujishiro, Ryosuke Yazaki. In addition, the larger space will host art exhibitions, workshops, and events to “[encourage] customers to take their time visiting Tortoise: learning, absorbing and conversing; that seemed very appealing to us.”
As for the Abbot Kinney location behind TGS, it’ll “become a renewed space that celebrates Japanese brands and companies, their philosophies and methods of production.”
The Mar Vista shop soft-opened in early December, but it’s hosting an official grand opening and art show next month featuring the works of Susumu Kamijo; join the soirée and swing by Tuesday, February 20 from 5 to 8pm.
Tortoise is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and closed Sunday and Monday; 310-396-7335.
12705 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066