mindful curation and harmony with KIKU KIKU
More than “just a business”, Fabienne and Claudio founded Kikubari in The Hague with the desire to create a place of high frequency, artistry, and a reflection of themselves, while inviting all visitors to be welcomed for their own personalities. Fabienne and Claudio recently started a new chapter for the project, moving to Switzerland under the new name, KIKU KIKU.
Inspired by the magic that unfolds from attentive presence, the store is named after the Japanese word for “to listen.” When two or more take the time to truly listen to one another’s wants, desires, and needs, KIKU KIKU is possible. In the spirit of listening and exchange, we are happy to collaborate with Fabienne and Claudio for their first collection titled ‘Unfolding’, selecting music for their store that fits with the theme. We are also happy to carry a handpicked selection of their favorite rituals in store.
We spoke with Fabienne and Claudio to learn more about their approach to carefully selecting items, the importance of bringing personal life into business, and the gratitude and joy that stems from living in healthy interdependence with the environment and others.
Tell us more about your Kikubari journey. What inspired you to start it? What is your hope with it?
Fabienne: I’ve felt the need to share the work of others whose intentions and work processes inspired me to be more aware of the materials, colors, scents, sounds, and words around me. To not only be aware of the aesthetics or feeling it evokes within me, but also to start questioning where the materials used come from and where they will end up when no longer of use.
The questions “How can we create tools, artful objects, textiles, and food to enjoy in our day-to-day life in balance with nature, animals, and the people who make them?” and “How can everyone involved in the process of making something new get energy out of it in a way that serves them the most?” accompany me constantly. The interrelationship between our decisions about how we live and their effects in our social and natural environment is what is leading my interest within this evolving project.
Claudio: I actually was very much inspired by the wonders Fabienne described when she thought of having a shop, translating her interests in art and conscious curation of products into the physical realm of a real space. I initially only signed up to support her, but ended up being a full other half of this project.
Fabienne: My hope is to heighten the awareness of how we use our monetary as well as our life energy – to observe and rethink the structures we live in. I don’t see this as an end goal, but moreover as an approach towards life. A process we are all allowed to find us in. To support designers, artists, publishers, and other shops in continuing to do what I personally find a lot of value in is another aspect of the project in which I hope to expand upon.
You have a very well-curated selection and we especially like the consciousness of the items behind both in the creation of them and the enjoyment of them. How do you go about the curation?
Fabienne: Shared values, a certain playful, intuitive, and experimental approach in the process of creation, as well as the importance of the use of natural and whenever possible organic materials and ingredients are important when considering a collaboration. In the selection we offer, you will most likely always find at least one item for each of our senses.
Collaborations seem to be also equally important in your story. Tell us about your most memorable collaboration and other collaborations you wish to do in the future.
Fabienne: I can think of so many special encounters I’ve had so far with KIKU KIKU that would be worth mentioning and I am very grateful for. However, I think one I cherished a lot was the collaboration with Olivier from OPHEO who brought us a few freshly baked sourdough breads into the shop every Saturday. Every single bread looked different (he experimented with flower patterns), and the smell of fresh bread combined with the organic flowers of Denise Collignon and other scents we offered in the shop somehow created an abundant atmosphere for all senses. On less busy days we would just talk for an hour and enjoy the combination of these individual simple things which became part of something more complex to emerge into.
Claudio: It is difficult for me to really point out one most memorable collaboration, as the collaborations have different forms. They may only unfold as discussions via email, but can also be real happenings in the shop. We once did a “Full Moon Meditation Circle” that was so beautiful and so intimate. I felt like it was lifting the whole frequency of our old space in Den Haag, but also the frequency of each individual participant. And I, as a bread lover, was always very excited for Saturdays, when Olivier from OPHEO brought a bunch of freshly baked Sourdough breads, the best ones I have ever tasted.
As collaborations with local artists and just human beings of different fields is very joyful and inspiring to us, we would love to deepen these connections in the future with local artists of our new surroundings.
You once shared a very beautiful sentiment about being able to run a business on a personal and emotional level. Why does this matter to you?
Claudio: I believe that running a business in our society is often separated from our private lives. Of course, this is valuable to some extent. However, to completely disintegrate your work with your own personal expression to me feels like taking out all the emotional and human spirit of your business. And vice versa, it puts my beliefs, thoughts, and actions on a personal, private level into perspective, and I think it weakens them if I have different values for my business. Taking care of your own business means taking care of your immediate environment. Everyone who entered the shop felt like a friend to me. But also for our own good we sometimes decided to have KIKU KIKU closed for a bit longer, so we can rest, take care of ourselves, or we decided to have longer opening hours when we felt energized. So we always tried to be very real.
Fabienne: My thoughts on this feel very much aligned with Claudio’s. I also believe that true and authentic connection is what I’m seeking, and I don’t need someone to spend money on KIKU KIKU to feel supported and valued in my contribution. However, I’m appreciative and see it equally as a form of appreciation from others if they decide to spend their energy in the form of a purchase.
You recently moved back to Switzerland. How does the environment influence your project and how will KIKU KIKU be different from what Kikubari was when it was in The Hague?
Fabienne: We’re finding ourselves in the middle of a change in concept which did emerge through the learnings we’ve made in the time of being situated in The Hague, Netherlands which I believe will bring a bigger difference than the change of location itself. The break offered us a pause and time for reflection to implement an even more authentic version of how we would like to invest our time and energy for the future. However, I’m open to getting influenced by the environment of Basel and Switzerland – I guess it will show throughout time.
Claudio: This probably can only be found out. As I started another project in the music business, Fabienne will take over the major part of KIKU KIKU. This will influence the rebirth as well for sure. We probably will see that the ocean and the dunes that are missing now will influence our project. The feeling of nature, colors, and shapes have changed, so our collections and visual expression probably will, too.
Let’s talk about rituals. Can you walk us through your day-to-day life and share with us your favorite rituals?
Claudio: As I am a grounded but therefore also heavy person, I found out that I need fresh air and exercise in the morning. So I often do yoga, go for a walk, go for a swim, or do a combination of these. Feeling the stretched body after a yoga practice is very soothing to me, and going for a swim in cold water can wash away a busy mind, literally cooling it down. Also, I try to do meditation twice daily, in the morning and in the afternoon. That does not always work out, but I know it keeps me awake, clear, and energized.
Fabienne: I get excited by just reading the word rituals! After waking up, I try to implement a little bit of moving my body, a few asanas followed by just intuitively moving my body and trying to express and/or release myself of the (uncomfortable) feelings I experience in this very moment. Sometimes this can be very hectic, restless, weird movements and sometimes they are slow, soft, and silent.
Before I start my day, I implement a 20-minute Vedic meditation practice, which is a mantra-based transcendental meditation practice. If I find time I implement another round in the afternoon.
Another ritual I started recently is pausing and sticking my nose into every flower blossom that I encounter on my daily little walks along the Rhein or in the forest. It’s a very enjoyable ritual.
Does music play a part in your rituals? What role does it play in your lives?
Claudio: Music plays a big part in my life. For the last few years, I have always worked in music – either with bands as a manager or tour manager, as a booking agent or as a booker from venues. I have also mostly worked in music venues. I used to play different instruments, however, I gave it all up at some point. Why? I can’t remember. The last weeks have kind of given me signs that maybe it would be beautiful for me to start playing again, not only working “in” and “with” music, but creating some. I am curious how it will turn out!
Fabienne: I don’t play music myself but I have danced ballet for a long time, and I started contemporary dance two years ago. Music feels essential in my life, not only to move my body to it, but also to explore new sounds, especially experimental music that evokes a curiosity within me.
Any music or art or thought that has inspired you lately? Tell us more about it.
Claudio: I saw various installations at Kunsttage Basel a few weeks ago, where one really resonated with me. Vostok 7 – Anton Kats, a moving image, shares the story of a person traumatized by war who encounters deep spiritual insights.
Fabienne: The thought of being comfortably interdependent in a society which exemplifies that independence is the key to wealth and well-being is very interesting to me at the moment. How to create relationships in personal life as well as on our professional paths in which we feel safe and supported, enough to depend on and grow in but not fall codependent within, is something that inspires me to explore for myself, as well as how to implement it in my work.
The symbolic meaning of water which Ana Roxanne renders about in her song “Venus” (from Because of a Flower) has been another source of inspiration which I came across recently.
To end, what are you hopeful for in the near and far future?
Fabienne: I hope to be able to experience a continuing openness from ourselves towards this project we’ve once started in The Hague. To let it change its form, place of location, and to connect with people who create (in any form) and share, as well as feel the same urge to express the intentions I mentioned with my answer to the very first question.
Claudio: That all beings may live in peace.