The word Zakka 雑貨 can be translated into English as “a variety of goods” but the exact meaning isn’t so easy to pin down. Zakka originally referred to items you could buy at a Zakka-ya, a general store and perhaps precursor to today’s convenience stores. Though zakka can be used to describe items used in everyday life like desklamps, sugar bowls, or magazines, it is more commonly used to refer to “knick-knack” items which give a generic space some character. Pretty little cups, collections of stones, old balls of yarn are some examples. Various interpretations of zakka collections are on display at 21-21 Design Site in Roppongi through June 5, 2016.

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