Dig into the lively art scene in Pioneer Square; First Thursday, America’s oldest art walk, is a perfect crash course. During this monthly evening event, a ton of galleries open their doors to the public, from big-name openings to small, quirky spots like Soil (112 Third Ave S) and Method (106 Third Ave S), who host emerging local artists. The neighborhood is also home to Peter Miller Books (304 Alaskan Way S), a Post Alley treasure filled with thought-provoking design tomes, and Non-Breaking Space (532 First Ave S), a fluctuating exhibit and event venue curated by a local design firm called Civilization.
In the Chinatown-International District, Plank & Grain (666 S King St) furniture company uses gorgeous reclaimed woods. Two blocks away, delightful Kobo (604 S Jackson St) is housed in a former Japanese department store. The space’s left side is filled primarily with Northwest-made jewelry, pottery, and quietly beautiful art; the right is crowded with textiles, books, and gifts from Japan.
In Pike Place Market, a neon hummingbird marks design company Eighth Generation (93 Pike St, Ste 103), founded by Louie Gong, of the Nooksack tribe. Modern Coast Salish designs grace colorful wool blankets and apparel; art is for sale too. Nearby, find Pirkko (1407 First Ave), a playful Scandinavian design shop filled with Marimekko dots and stylish servingware.
Just off 19th Avenue in upper Capitol Hill, Tirto Furniture (1908 E Mercer St) sells modern takes on traditional Indonesian furnishings, all handmade at the owner’s family workshop on the island of Java. In addition to large teak showstoppers, there’s a handful of ceramics, art, and small housewares—slightly more realistic purchases for most travelers.
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