In order to stock the New York and Tokyo locations of the Museum of Modern Art’s Design Store, Emmanuel Plat and his team spend two months a year on the road. “The majority of our items are imported from Japan, so it’s a big trip for us,” he says of his recent 10-day tour of the country’s capital. Plat shops with customers in mind, but he can’t resist picking up things for himself—like the items on this page—many of which make it into the stores. “We’ll buy things we like, and end up selling them because they’re relevant for our audience.”
1. Acrylic Cube: When I first saw this Takao Inoue sculpture, I was doubtful we could sell it, since it’s more objet d’art than functional item. But it’s so beautiful, I couldn’t resist. Somewhere Tokyo; 2-7-1 Ebisu-minami, first floor, Shibuyaku; $298.
2. Doll: The Dutch children’s book character Miffy has a cult following in Japan. I gave this stuffed animal to my five-year-old daughter, Violette. It immediately became her best friend. Kiddyland; 6-1-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; $15.
3. Towel: I love its delicate sophistication. I found it at Claska, a boutique hotel that has an on-site gallery and shop with quirky home accessories. Claska; 1-3-18 Chuo-cho, Meguro-ku; $12.
4. Knife: I bought this from a stall at the Tsukiji Fish Market early one morning. I admire the craftsmanship of the handle and the detailed engravings. Tsukiji Fish Market; 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku; $30.
5. Hammer: It’s unusually light, and the Japanese markings add a bit of exoticism. Tokyu Hands; 12-18 Udagawa-cho, Shibuyaku; $12.
6. Pencil set: It looks like a train, but when you open it you find three pencils inside. The way it reveals itself is really fun. Trainiart; Atré Akihabara, 1-17-6 Sotokanda, second floor, Chiyodaku; $8.