Moving Our Market

READ  •  [publish-year]

26 Market

What started as a passion project in the corner of our studio has flourished and grown beyond the confines of its humble beginnings.

Our shop, 26 Market was conceived with the idea of bringing brands we love to a niche market in Winnipeg. It started out as just a peg board wall, filled with goodies that made us smile. As we kept finding more and more beautiful products to bring into the 26 Market fold, it started to become clear that our shop was snowballing faster than our space could keep up with. When we were suddenly unable to showcase each product on the floor, we knew it was time to start looking for somewhere new.

Our search didn’t take us far – actually, it took us just one floor below our beloved studio to suite 670 at 70 Arthur St. Though we miss our studiomates and regular shoppers who always stop by, we’re thrilled to be able to share all of our favourite things with you – and introduce more brands we love to our market now that we have more space to accommodate.

The Market has gone through a lot of changes in its time. This year, we developed expanded branding – complete with a playful colour palette, beautiful hand-drawn brand assets, and a collection of collateral to package purchase however we please. What’s next for our market? We’ll see!

You can stop by to visit our market at 670-70 Arthur St on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays from 10:30 am - 4:30 pm.

Bread, The Superior Labor, and a Flower Bag Evolution

MAKE  •  [publish-year]

26 Market

As we were preparing to launch the retail arm of 26 Projects “26 Market”, we knew that, beyond curating a selection of goods from brands we admire, we wanted to engage every opportunity to contribute collaborative works to the collection.

Quite naturally, we asked our friends over at The Superior Labor (read our edit on their workshop and practice, here) to participate in our first collaborative project for the 26 Market. The product, though at that point was not yet conceived of, had a few initial criteria: it should be dynamic, neutral in style, and multifunctional. However, before we dive right into the process, perhaps some background on why we decided to create what we curiously and unofficially termed “the flower bag” as our first project.

The first phase of our 26 Market – a pop-up of sorts – began with selling fresh sourdough loaves, baguettes, and scones sourced from the locally-loved Pennyloaf Bakery. This was both an attempt to get to know the creative community – our neighbours occupying 70 Arthur – but also a way to make accessible some of the city’s finest baked goods right here in the Exchange District. Every Friday leading up to the holidays last December 2018, we would rise a little earlier than normal and pick up our crate of fresh baked bread and treats, and prepare for the rush of eager building mates to come through our doors.

Upon doing this, we thought increasingly more about other items that were astonishingly hard to come by in our neighbourhood – to offer at our pseudo market. We thought, of course, flowers! Who wouldn’t love a fresh bouquet of flowers on a Friday to surprise a loved one with or to enjoy over the weekend? So it began. Bread and flowers were sold together and even fresh wreaths were thrown into the mix for good measure.

The flowers evolved into a more engaged endeavour, as it was a chance for us to play, style, and photograph. We became flower obsessed, fixating on the various scenarios in which one would need to transport flowers delicately. From a garden, from a market, from one hand to another’s. Thus, The Flower Bag concept was born.

We presented the idea to the owners of The Superior labor whose workshop is located in Japan, just 50 km outside of Okayama on the mountain side. Remotely, we exchanged a few sketches and within a short period, we were holding the first prototype and examining it’s impeccable craft. The bag would be made of durable yet gentle canvas material that would soften with time, and hand-cut leather strapping for handles. It should be rigid yet soft and should lay flat when open; delicately designed to carry flowers, but accommodate the containment and transport objects in a variety of shapes and sizes. Items of almost unlimited length (architectural drawings, baguettes, carrots, etc) can be securely carried with the help of the cleverly-designed adjustable sides of the tote. The leather straps are removable to allow for ease of care and washing. For our first production run, we chose a natural canvas with tan, soft leather straps, and robust metal hardware. We aren’t afraid of a little colour over here. In fact, The Superior Labor applies colour to not only add aesthetic interest, but for waterproofing and durability. Perhaps you’ll see the next iteration in a bright apple red or army green. We’re looking forward!

A Refined Wish List for 2020

USE  •  [publish-year]

26 Market

… And the time has come for writing our wish lists, this time one more personal – for the new year. As we move into the new year, it is naturally a time to reflect on the resolutions that will be lasting and enriching, and to dream of adventures (perhaps in travel or in work).
To help you begin the year with mindfulness and good habits, we’ve assembled a selection of items that we use and deem, ultimately very useful, beautiful, and long-lasting – all echoing our perspectives on design and organization.

Portable Storage Systems – The Superior Labor

  • Petite Engineer Bag
  • TSL Backpack
  • TSL Passport Case
  • TSL Fanny Pack

For All Note-Taking. Analogue Style – Notem

  • Annual Journal
  • Work Journal – for your daily overview, meeting summaries and project planning
  • TSL Brass Clipboard

TSL (The Superior Labor) – Thinking and Creating

MAKE  •  [publish-year]

26 Market

June 2019, Pauline took her annual trip to L.A., as always, with the plan to visit Baum-kuchen, a shop and studio very similar to our studio and market. Baum-kuchen’s lifestyle brand is an integration of German Bauhaus and Japanese wabi-sabi ethos, brought together harmoniously in Los Angeles, and reflective of the owners’ Wakako and Fido’s backgrounds. The products they create and curate online and in their shop are beautiful, expressive, and very functional. They were one of the first retailers to introduce us to the TSL brand, and one of the first in North America to bring in their product.

The Story of TSL

Broad cuts, durable textiles, and vibrant tones. Each item developed by The Superior Labor is the culmination of engaging one’s imagination within the freedom of the open landscape, and the result of the hands and the histories of their makers.

A special collaborative workshop between TSL and Baum-kuchen was being held for those who wanted to experience and participate first-hand in the craft and process of making with TSL. Naturally, Pauline was in attendance. Raw canvas items of all shapes and sizes, already prepared to be customized by participants were organized and presented throughout the shop. Custom-made stamps, patches, a plethora of brass fittings, and a rainbow of paints were at finger’s reach to enlighten the creative process of making alongside the owners of TSL.

The Superior Labor brand and its prefecture reflect the owners, Makoto-san’s and Yoshimi-san’s growing understanding of the need to work and live within an open, unencumbered environment to fully express one’s self. Their compound is located 50 km from Okayama – just a 20-minute train ride away. Their workshop inhabits a previously active primary school that was built in 1949 and closed in the 1990’s. Always seeking freedom in their working environment, Nap Village – the name of the prefecture – is purposefully sited on the mountainside, surrounded by forest. Old cherry blossoms, maple trees, and ginkgo trees remain and thrive on the grounds, carving a space for employees and residents to rest, take their lunch, and socialize. The owners’ home is also sited within the compound where they live with their family (a dog and two children), while classroom spaces have been transformed into a leather atelier and office. The TSL retail shop in Nap Village offers a dynamic space that features standard products, new items, and limited-edition garments, with the option to order custom-made pieces on site. Unique experiences are always expected via workshops to help customers and visitors get a closer look into how the products are crafted. The couple also spends significant time at schools guiding workshops and sharing their love of thinking and making without boundaries. In this case, with children – which they attest – is paramount in its capacity to continuously inspire new ideas.

Combining experience and knowledge in leather and canvas material, in addition to a background in car mechanics, the work-wear inspired pieces created by TSL express a creative understanding of combining high-quality materials through attentiveness to the material’s inherent qualities. Original brass fittings are gently tapped with a wooden mallet by hand for dimension and presence, then tacked onto each piece. The application of paint not only adds colour but functionality, providing waterproof durability – ultimately giving purpose to this aesthetic treatment. By way of the machines they use every day, there is clear know-how and craft, from a treadle sewing machine for leather items for ease of rotation and beautiful stitching, to the use of other heavy-duty sewing machines that work to combine various materials like leather, cotton, and nylon.

Creating durable pieces that become more beautiful with time is their expertise – pieces that soften and weather. Fine leather notebook carriers, for example, the ones we use and love, are keepers and organizers of thoughts that we can sense will endure and grow beautiful patina. Expect a life of positive moments and perhaps a change in organizational habits with these products. We know you will covet them as much as we do.

The Analogue Lifestyle – Thinking Through Our Hands

MAKE  •  [publish-year]

26 Market

Here at 26 Projects, we are lovers and practitioners of analogue. We believe that sometimes the best ideas can come from pen to paper and that engaging in the physical action of inscription and scrawl is part of the creative process. From writing, planning, sketching to even painting, we record and communicate information through written words, and with the aid of simple drawings to describe exactly what we mean.

When strategizing and planning, we like to take notes. Sometimes neatly, other times quickly, and almost always only legible for our eyes to read. When we jot ideas and questions, we are thinking through our hands. From mind to hand, from pen to paper, to execution. The reason for how much we love and value our journals and respective writing instruments is because our preliminary and ongoing process heavily relies on this analogue practice.

In both our professional and personal lives, our analogue lifestyle is comprised of planning, documenting and jotting ideas into our journals and day planners. Whether it be in a Maruman Mnemosyne notebook, a Traveler’s Notebook, or a Midori and Notem planner tucked in a The Superior Labor leather organizer from our 26 Market collection – we all have our favourites to keep with us as part of our daily essentials – our creative companion. Our analogue tools help us slow down in our fast-paced, digital world to distill what is most important in our work, and allows for the creative freedom to explore all possibilities in a project. Even when we use our devices, we opt for the analogue experience – an ipad with its Apple pencil is still a version of a simple pen and paper combination.

In these last few weeks, we have taken note of the surge in the analogue movement as a result of the extra time to think and feel the need to escape the humdrum of everyday life at home. From journaling to express emotions, establish routine and record ideas, to creative freedom and art. There’s never been a better time to journal…

A Branding Project Close to Home – 26 Market

MAKE  •  [publish-year]

26 Market

What began as a little in-house retail passion project, has now expanded into a full-fledged e-commerce shop. Here, we take you through the process of building a unique identity for our 26 Market.

You may have noticed that we’ve been working on a special side project – our 26 Market. What you may not know is that this project has been in the works for almost 2 years. If you ask two of our senior staff members, they can attest to the evolution of 26 Market as being quite spontaneous, but all the while, calculated.

Inspiration: The Market Wall

In our first iteration, Inspiration was taken from the 26 market wall in our studio where products are currently displayed. The square, a subtle graphic element was assigned to the wordmark, a direct representation of the design of our market wall.

Art Direction: Hand-made

The notion of “objects handmade with love” needed to be expressed in the logo. We introduced hand-drawn graphics, which resulted in experimenting with a completely hand-scripted wordmark with an illustrated hand as the primary motif to animate and support the logo.

Final Logo: Well-Curated

As a way to distance the process from the literal expression of a hand, more attention was put towards the idea and act of hand-picking and curating well-crafted items to be shared with the community. The hand-drawn graphic style was maintained to create the font for ’26 Market’ in a serif style, used for its aesthetic contrast to the 26 Projects logo.

This spur-of-the-moment branding project was both a challenge and a feat, being so close to home – a sort of offspring of 26 Projects. Seeing the last iteration come to life was like falling in love. The narrative we had in our minds finally took form, becoming a visual representation of the brand that we feel is beautiful, classic, and playful.

In Touch with The Superior Labor

USE  •  [publish-year]

26 Market

The Superior Labor flagship brand has its roots in Okayama Japan. Husband and wife team Makoto and Yoshimi guide a team of artisans and designers in ethical production of beautiful utilitarian lifestyle products that are carefully stitched by hand. They are a brand dedicated to absolute craftsmanship and tactility. Their workshop called ‘Nap Village’ consists of the owners home, an old school house where their factory is located, and a lovely restaurant. Each product is designed to promote and enhance the characteristics of the raw materials – primarily fine leather and canvas.

This past spring, our Creative Director Pauline Boldt was fortunate to connect with the owners of The Superior Labor in Los Angeles – a meeting graciously organized by longstanding friends of 26 Projects and owners of Baum Kuchen – a lifestyle studio and shop located in the heart of Glassell Park, where the the meeting was held. It was a profoundly inspiring afternoon spent in the company of creative, like-minded individuals – those who share a love and appreciation for beautiful, consciously crafted and designed utility products that, in essence, can be considered complete works of art. To witness hands at work while engaged in conversation / sharing dreams and ideas made for a truly unforgettable experience.

First Fridays – A Look Inside

EVENTS  •  [publish-year]

26 Market

In the 6 years that our creative studio has lived in the Exchange District, we felt it was finally the right time to participate in First Fridays in the Exchange. This, especially with the recent launch of our new and improved website and 26 Market e-commerce platform to share with the world, we thought it would be special to share these new endeavours with passersby and introduce ourselves in the flesh.

Reminiscing Over the Evening

In our home on the seventh floor of the historic Whitla Building on 70 Arthur Street, we tacked the corridor walls with pink, blue, green, and orange balloons, playfully enticing explorers to enter our space at the end of the hall – the 26 Projects studio.

A Winnipeg night in February is nothing out of the ordinary…wickedly chilly. This, and the fact that only one other neighbour in the building was open for the night, we felt, were the reasons behind the friendly faces who came by in the 4 hours we were open.

Every visitor had our full attention. We conversed about our work and about some of the clients people would be familiar with, and offered a little tour of the studio. We pointed out where everybody sat, the quaint kitchenette where we eat our morning eggs and avocados, the corner of the room where photo shoots take place and, of course, where our 26 Market is stationed. Naturally, most people were drawn to our shop. The urge to talk about how well-crafted the canvas and leather goods of The Superior Labor are, took full effect – you can’t hold us back. We were happy to wax poetic.

Although the night was relaxed (we continue to blame the cold), we did have a peak around 6-7 pm. At this point in the evening, balloons were flying about in the air and a singing performance by Tula and Huxley (Pauline’s adorable children) followed. “Let it Go” (Disney’s Frozen) continued to play in our heads for the rest of the night.

As the minutes turned into hours, and late-night wanderers replaced crowds of people, the night quickly drew to a close. We were satisfied, yet yearning for next month’s First Friday as all the fun workshop possibilities rushed through our heads. Nights like these allow us to share our passion, and although it was only for a moment, we were grateful at such an opportunity to let outsiders into 26. But for now, we bid farewell to First Friday and start the countdown until March 6…