Tokyo housewives, the fairy tale is served

The sizzle of the onion in the kitchen, the ironed tablecloth on the table, the wind blowing into the room from the window. Mina in the background, the place card with a name in italics, the plates decorated with mysterious black and ocher hands. It looks like Sunday lunch, it’s the project Tokyo housewives.

Founded in 2014 by Alice Schillacia photographer by profession, Tokyo Housewives is a incubator from creativity dedicated totable art in its broadest sense. A house open to artists and artisans who collaborate to give life to small everyday jewels, tiny universes. A choral project, as the founder defines it.

The name Housewives of Tokyo is a reference to the novel hard boiled The four housewives of Tokyo from Natsuo Kirino: «It was born a little by chance. She never wanted to take herself too seriously, leaving me the space to jump from one project to another without a particular goal and above all hidden behind a plural name », explains Alice Schillaci.

Dishes, placemats – even a type of pasta – e objects of use common genuine and cheerful, but never superficial. A way of doing that has its roots in the Japanese concept of asobiart but also play, dear to Bruno Munari. The rereading of the patrimony cultural Italian to always act as a filter, but also as a mirror for those who create and those who use.

As in the case of Stereotypism, the collection of twelve dishes that reinterprets the typical gestures of Italians, based on Supplement to the Italian dictionary by Munari, in fact. Or like Trame Italiane, series of twenty American placemats in which hand-made embroidery mixes with the stories inspired by the collection Fairy tales Italian from Italo Calvin.



In addition to the products, in the hands of the “Housewives” even the projects become experience, exchange, sharing. As in the case of edible installations think in the food set up of He called for the Fuorisalone 2022 or participation in the 2016 Vulcano Extravaganza festival in Stromboli.

On this occasion, in addition to contributing to the programming of the radio set up and creating a decomposable cone to serve the courses, Casalinghe di Tokyo organized two dinners with the performance of Paquita Gordoneclectic DJ appreciated on the Milanese scene and beyond.

Marsili is a conical lunch box made during the Vulcano Extravaganza festival in 2016


The concept of asobi (borrowed from Bruno Munari) and the novel The four housewives of Tokyo. How do these two references fit together in your imagination?

Housewives in the root carries the word ‘home’, and I kinda liked the idea of ​​going back to the root undressing the housewife of her rhetorical apron. Tokyo instead winks at a concept dear to Munari, asobilinked to pedagogy and the possibility of learning while having fun.

The resonance with Kirino’s novel seemed amusing to me given the imperfection of the female characters who ride that strong contradiction that is one of the anime of Japan, between a decided formal bond and a necessary dark side, sometimes perverse and vital at the same time. Keeping the dirt and contradictions of meanings alive nourishes the dialectical side, when that dialectical side dozes off then the stereotype wins.

Italian craftsmanship and cultural heritage find their meeting place privileged in the table. What does this furniture / space mean for you of the House?

The house is a space that, no matter how solid or transitory, we inevitably fill with memories. Even objects are home because they too are in effect places of memory. It is difficult to think of a table without the richness of all its details, without the necessary time that must be devoted to dressing and undressing it every day. The table for me is a place of being and I could say that I feel indebted to the ritual that concerns it because the rites restore time to memory and at the same time the coordinates within which we can navigate.

The artist Daniel Spoerri, creator of Eat Art in 1967, had sensed the strong narrative power of a table. In its vertical tables dirty dishes, leftovers and dishes crystallize forever in the artistic gesture. Do you ever think about what stories and what tables they are intended for your projects?

Daniel Spoerri’s crystallizations are traces, they freeze a moment in perhaps his most vital ecstasy. The ordered chaos of the table, the Apollonian and the Dionysian chasing each other in the whirlwind of courses and in the stillness of being at the table. Housewives and the role of the table has led us to many places, from working with ceramics to digging into the heritage of Italian fairy tales translated into embroidery.

Stories lived and stories told. In Trame Italiane you have thought of tablecloths inspired by The Italian Fairy Tales by Italo Calvino. What was the creative process like?

Fairy tales are the emblem of regional wealth and at the same time the symbol of the universality of human condition, but more intimately for me they are the memory of the fairy tales my dad used to read to me before sleep, last words in the evening, then sleep and then breakfast the next morning, before scook. So I think I just did a fairly nostalgic 2 + 2. The designs were made by Arianna Vairo, illustrator, while the embroidery was done by a group of passionate and very animated Venetian ladies.

In the past you also worked on the design of a type of short pasta, how was it confronting you with this project?

Alma is a pasta shape created in collaboration with the designer Chiara Andreatti. It all started with a chat at lunchtime, around a table.

Initially we would have liked to work on women’s hairstyles over time, but unfortunately we had little time to present the project at the Salone. We therefore worked on an organic form that somehow managed to protect the original idea as much as possible.

It has always fascinated me how for women every historical period is marked by a certain type of costume. The woman in history does not escape the image that others make of her, perhaps our condemnation but also our legacy, and the legacies also serve to rewrite the stories.

During the last Milan Design Week the edible installations for the jewelry brand Alita have aroused a lot of interest. Can you tell us more about the project?

I like to cook but I can’t call myself a cook. For this for the part of food set up and food design I started collaborating with Lucia Gaspariprofessional chef and today an official collaborator of Casalinghe.

Alita makes jewelry and maintains an ironic and elegant spirit in each collection. Our work has tried to keep faith with the vision of the brand by investigating the precious aspect that concerns each jewel without losing the witty touch. We have therefore created a series of elements finger food that could express the attention to detail as a whole.

Each element was edible because one of our missions is to use food so that it is always eaten and is also good, using the installation fantasy without sacrificing the material. We had a lot of fun and we hope there will be other opportunities and other boards on which to write new stories.


Source: Living by

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