I have had a half written post called “Can Imari’s Reputation Be Resuscitated” sitting around in my drafts folder for weeks and now it is time to bring it out, rewrite it, and change its title to the one above. I am not talking about the simpler blue and white underglaze only Imari (which has never gone “out” of style), but instead Ko-Imari (old Imari), the polychrome and gold in-your-face with color Imari. Sometimes accused of being “old-fashioned” and “traditional,” I think it is finally having a well deserved revival in modern settings.

Let’s be clear – People are still collecting Imari, beautiful pieces are in demand and it is often featured in classic interiors. Some designers have been using it all along. You can often catch a glimpse of a piece in a Michael Smith interior. I am referring to using Imari in a new way by pairing it with unexpected partners.

This is the more “expected” model of porcelain display – a bit hard to pull off  if you don’t have a grand country manor with generations of accumulation and original paneling.


First to catch my eye was the October 2010 House Beautiful apartment of Nancy Tilghman designed by Daniel Sachs. Amidst the ethnic mixed but modern living room of this Park Avenue apartment sits an Imari bowl on a side table, filled with citrus fruit. Underneath the same table stands a large Satsuma urn (which is basically the same thing for my intents and purposes here in this post).

Then there was the Eddie Ross Thanksgiving tablescape in the October/November issue of Lonny Magazine which featured Imari plates and serving pieces that I wrote about in my last post.  The color and design of the decor took its cues from the vibrant colors in the Imari, but what makes it unusual is the unexpected combinations Ross uses. While a crystal chandelier is an expected pairing, rustic wooden beams are not.

The beginning of November brought this Miles Redd designed bedroom featured in New York Magazine. I believe I spy a large Imari charger from John Rosselli above the closet door in the riotously colored bedroom designed for David Keiser.

This third week of November brought the Wendy Haworth Tastemaker Sale on One Kings Lane. She had a number of Imari dishes and bowls listed. All sold out immediately!

I’d love to hear from you with your ideas on how you have or would use your Imari. And don’t limit it to that….What other design ideas or decorative items have you “resuscitated”?

Image Credits: 1. The World of Interiors, February 2009, 2. House Beautiful, October 2010, photo credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo, 3. Lonny Magazine October/November 2010, 4. New York Magazine, November 7, 2010, photo credit: Thomas Loof/Art Department, 5. One Kings Lane