AMAZING NEW RETAIL locations are opening in the West End of downtown faster than I can feature them—the kind of problem a columnist is lucky to have. And while clothing stores abound in the neighborhood, this week I took a closer look at Woonwinkel, a clean, bright design store with international treasures and a particularly Dutch bent—the name means "home store" in Dutch. Featuring ceramics, pillows and blankets, tableware, and more, it's a perfect complement to area shops Canoe and Alder & Co. Here Kristin Van Buskirk, who co-founded the store with Erica Essink, gives us the lowdown on what makes Woonwinkel unique from its neighbors and why the Dutch do it better.
MERCURY: What do you look for in design goods for Woonwinkel?
KRISTIN VAN BUSKIRK—We're primarily interested in supporting independent designers or small companies that produce relatively small runs of products. This leads us naturally to products that are thoughtful, unique, and well crafted.
How would you characterize your shop in comparison to Canoe and Alder & Co.?
Canoe and Alder & Co. are two of our favorite places to shop in Portland! We're all going after a modern aesthetic—but Canoe seems to have a bit of a masculine mid-century influence, Alder & Co. more of an East Coast classic-meets-Asian influence, and we're what we call "new modern": warm, inviting, tactile, quirky. Our collection reflects a very human, comfortable side of modern—well-crafted products of materials like wood, wool, and clay.
What draws you to Dutch design?
Dutch designers are excellent innovators and risk takers, but there's no pomposity to it. There's always some levity, quirkiness, and comfort built into their designs.
Which products are you particularly excited about?
Most of all we're excited to be able to show some of the Pacific Northwest's best independent designers, like Iacoli & McAllister, Von Tundra, and Studio Gorm, who have shown their work all over the world, but until now haven't had a regular venue in Portland. From further afield we're really excited to have Hella Jongerius' iconic Red White Vase, Atelier NL's Fundamentals of Makkum Clay Service, and Scholten & Baijings' colorful wool blankets and pillows. Woonwinkel, 935 SW Washington
THIS WEEK'S STYLE EVENTS
• Lulu's Vintage hosts the Second Annual Portland Hat Parade, where attendees dress up in their finest headgear and march through the city, with stops for hat shopping and photo ops. Lulu's, 916 W Burnside, Sat June 25, 1 pm, lulusvintage.com for complete info
• Make + Show + Tell is a group sample sale featuring new work from a diverse lineup of eight design talents, including Moonwoods eyewear, Fix, Askew Designs, and more. warehouse loading dock of 2233 NW 23rd, Fri June 24, 5-10 pm