A few summers ago, I first stepped into the Amanu studio in West Hollywood, and an instant sense of serenity washed over me. The soft neutral tones, rounded arches, and natural materials scattered throughout the space set a tranquil, spa-like tone. The brand’s custom-made sandals brought me in, and ever since, I’ve closely followed the label and founder Anita Patrickson on Instagram for updates, from new launches like the brand’s just-released heels to cool collaborations, such as a recent partnership with jewelry label, Mounser. Thanks to the close eye I keep, I stumbled upon Amanu’s home offerings — a newly added category of so-chic ceramics, artisanal linens, and elegant tea sets that make for a super-stylish gift.
“I had so much fun creating the studio space and bringing a little piece from my home in Africa to LA,” Patrickson tells me about designing her West Hollywood store. As customers sat and took in the space’s warm and minimalist interior while having their custom sandals made (often with a complimentary tea in hand), inquiries about the aesthetically pleasing interior started to rise, the store-owner explains. The teacups they sipped from, the sleek industrial lighting, the large woven lanterns, and irregularly shaped wall mirrors all became topics of conversation, leading Patrickson to her home curation.
“When we were creating the Amanu studio space, I couldn’t find the exact teacups I had in mind, so I designed and had them made. So they are our own Amanu brand,” she explains. “People fell in love with them and wanted to purchase them, and that’s really where the Amanu home idea originated.” As an extension of her brand and her storytelling, Patrickson adds, “It’s really a labor of love and a passion project for me.”
As an avid traveler, sourcing and collecting pieces is in Patrickson’s nature, as is supporting small designers and businesses that craft sustainable and ethically made homeware. Within Amanu’s offerings, you’ll discover commissioned pieces made by African artisans, which in turn, provide jobs and income to women in rural communities. “The napkins we commissioned from an amazing South African artisan might be my favorite gifts for the holiday season,” Patrickson adds.
“Collaborating with artisans and working with smaller designers and low-income communities are my dream partnerships. Africa is where my heart is and where I grew up — there are so many incredible craftsmen and women that are just waiting to be discovered.”
A couple of ceramic vases and water bottles have also popped up on Amanu’s website — a section Patrickson plans to broaden in the next few months. “We are expanding on this idea with a full ceramic Amanu homeware collection coming in spring with many more pieces and colorways,” she says.
As the store’s sustainably made wicker lanterns, modern wall-mounted lights by designer Andrew Neyer, artwork by LA-based artist Pia Pack, and woven stools by Luteca (Mexican artisans hand-weave each stool the old-fashion way, preserving an accent craft just like Amanu’s sandals) continue to catch customer’s eyes, Patrickson is adding a “shop our studio” component to her website, too. “It’s such a calming, transportive space, so we wanted to be able to offer people an opportunity to take some of that home,” she says.
Before you assume these aesthetically pleasing home pieces are better to look at than touch, it’s Patrickson’s goal to offer a beautiful yet functional assortment. “All of the pieces we sell are made to be used,” she says. “They are designed to fit into your life and home and to be enjoyed. That’s of the utmost importance. Not to be shut away behind a glass case that you are afraid to touch.”
When decorating, the shop owner and stylist recommends thinking of a room like an outfit to achieve cohesiveness. “Find the through-line, whether that’s a color or a vibe, and group those like pieces and items together,” she explains. “Don’t shy away from creating small focal points within a room to bring joy and craft a narrative. The little moments can be just as impactful as the big ones.”
Ahead, discover Amanu’s foray into homeware and stay tuned for more product launches in 2021.
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